picture of Cali School


Apply as a New Student

Applying for admission to the John J. Cali School of Music is a two step process:

1. The University Application – All prospective students must first submit an application to Montclair State University, following the guidelines for undergraduate or graduate admission. You can find the admissions page for each degree level at the links below:

Undergraduate Admissions
Graduate Admissions

2.  Audition, Interview, or Portfolio Review – Once you submit the University application, you will be prompted to register for an audition. 

Undergraduates – You will receive an email within 24 hours of submitting your application. This email will include the link to our private audition registration page, where you may choose an audition date and complete the registration form. 

Graduates – You will have access to a private audition registration link via your application portal, once an application has been submitted. Follow this link to choose an audition date and complete the registration form.

Audition Requirements vary from program to program. Depending on your chosen degree of study, you will be required to complete one of the three below:

Audition only
Audition & Interview
Audition & Combined Interview/Portfolio Review

You can review program specific audition requirements at the links below. 

Instrumental/Vocal Performance
Music Education – Classical Focus
Music Therapy
Music Composition & Theory
Jazz Studies & Music Education – Jazz Focus

Apply as a Current MSU Student

Current MSU students who have completed at least one semester of study and wish to change their major, are considered internal transfer students. 

Internal transfer students do not need to submit a University Application, but are required to register for an audition date. To gain access to the private audition registration link, you must send an email to the Audition Coordinator. 

Linsay Setzer – Cali School Audition Coordinator

Audition Dates and Requirements
Primary audition requirements vary by degree level, program, and instrument. You can review the primary audition requirements for undergraduates and graduates at the links below:

Undergraduate – Primary Instrument Requirements
Graduate – Primary Instrument Requirements

Audition Dates for 2020-2021

Fall 2020
November 6th – graduate & transfer students only
Submission Deadline 5:00pm EST

Spring 2021
To Be Announced

Please Note – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all auditions for the 2020-2021 year will be virtual, as no in-person auditions or interviews will be held. All prospective students will be required to submit their primary audition requirements via video recordings. Additionally, all interviews will be conducted via Zoom video conferencing.

Instructions for submitting audition videos will be sent in a confirmation email once you have registered for an audition deadline. 

Events For Prospective Students


Campus tours, open houses, and admissions counseling are all organized through the admissions office. You can find information for scheduling any of the above on the Admissions Visit Us page linked below:

Admissions – Visit Us

Whereas the Cali School (located in Chapin Hall) is not included on the gerneral University campus tour. we invite individuals to come see our facilities on their own. Please call the the Cali Main Office at 973-655-7212.


Every year in October, the Cali School celebrates the opening of the school year by presenting Kaleidoscope concerts, where our student and faculty soloists, chamber groups and large ensembles perform. We also present more than 300 daytime and evening concerts and masterclasses by students, faculty and guest artists throughout the year. See Concerts and Events for the most up-to-date listings.

Shadow Days

Prospective students are welcomed and encouraged to visit the Cali School for a Shadow Day! Shadow days allow you to meet with the coordinator, faculty, and current students in your instrument studio and degree program. You’ll have the opportunity to follow a current Cali student through a rehearsal or two, ask questions about the program, and meet prospective peers. Shadow Days are scheduled and organized by our program coordinators. If you are interested in visiting for a Shadow Day, please reach out to one of the Area Coordinators below:

Lori McCann – Voice

Nick Tzavaras – Strings

Don Batchelder – Brass

Sasha Enegren – Woodwinds

Barry Centani – Percussion

David Witten – Piano

Jeffrey Kunkel – Jazz

Financial Aid and Scholarship

Applicants to The John J. Cali School of Music may qualify for one of the scholarships, grants and/or other sources of financial aid offered by the University.  The following resources may be of help:

Additional aid may be available through the Cali School, pending a successful audition. You do not need to apply to be considered. Eligible students will be contacted by the Director of the Cali School after an audition has been completed.


Below are some of the most common inquiries we receive surrounding the application and audition process. If your question is not answered, please feel free to reach out to the Audition Coordinator, listed in the ‘Contact Us’ box below.

Do I need to submit  separate applications for Montclair State University and the John J. Cali School of Music?

No, you only need to submit one application to the University. Once you select ‘music’ as your program of choice, the application will auto-add a questionnaire for the Cali School. 

Do I need to submit anything to the portfolio section of my application?

The portfolio section of your application is used by the Cali School to review videos submissions (if that is how you choose to audition) or by our Composition & Theory Faculty to review your required supplemental materials. If you are not auditioning via video submission, or applying to the Composition/Theory program, you do not need to submit anything to your portfolio for the Cali School. 

When is the deadline to submit my application/supplemental materials?

Your application, supplemental materials, and audition registration all need to be completed 2 weeks prior to your chosen audition date. 

What is the difference between the Music Education – Classical Focus, and the Music Education – Jazz Focus? 

The Cali School offers one complete degree in Music Education (School & Community Settings). However, students may choose between the Classical Focus – where your primary instrument & ensemble studies will be based around classical repertoire, or the Jazz Focus – where your primary instrument & ensemble studies will be based around jazz repertoire. 

While your application will reflect Music Education for either, the audition registration form, repertoire and audition process will differ for each focus. 

Do you offer music minors?

At this time we do not offer minors in music. 

How do I register for an audition?

Audition registration is completed online, once you submit your application. You will have access to the private audition registration link either via email, or through your application portal.

Are there pre-screenings?

At this time, there are no pre-screenings for any of the programs at the Cali School.

Can I audition for two programs at the same audition?

At this time, we are no longer accepting dual consideration at auditions. However, students are permitted to re-audition for another program, or on another instrument, after their initial audition. 

Do I need to take placements tests at the audition?

No, placement tests are not part of the audition results. Pending a successful audition and offer of admission, students will receive emails with the links to our placement tests for aural skills and theory classes only. Your results will not affect your admission, but are simply used to ensure you are placed into the correct course levels. 

I chose my audition date, but I haven’t received my time yet. When will I get that?

Audition & Interview times are scheduled by the audition coordinator and will be sent in a confirmation email about 1-2 weeks prior to your chosen audition date.

Do I need to bring my own instrument?

All Instrumentalists are expected to bring their own instrument, except for percussionists. If you do not own your primary instrument, or need access to one because of travel, please reach out to the Audition Coordinator to see if we can supply you with an instrument for your audition.

Do I need to bring an accompanist?

No, you do not need an accompanist. Instrumentalists should be prepared to perform on their primary instrument without an accompanist; vocalists will be provided with an accompanist from our faculty and are expected to bring copies of their music to the audition. 

Can I submit a video instead of a live audition?

Yes. While we prefer for all applicants to audition in person, we understand that some students may have religious, travel, or alternative conflicts on our offered audition dates. Video Auditions will be one of the options students can register for once they receive access to the private audition registration page. 

How do I submit an audition video?

Once you register for one of the audition video dates, you will receive a confirmation email that outlines the requirements and directions for recording and uploading your video submission.

Do I need to register for an audition if I am submitting a video?

Yes, all applicants must register for an audition regardless of audition medium, degree level, or choice. 

What if I can’t attend any of the scheduled audition dates but still wish to audition in person?

If you are not able to attend any of the scheduled audition dates, please reach out to the Audition Coordinator for alternative options. 

If I don’t pass my audition, what are my options?

Incoming students may audition up to three separate times for the Cali School. If you do not pass your initial audition, you are welcome to reach out to the audition coordinator and request to register for a future audition date. 

Students are also welcome to enroll in University College as a pre-major student, and re-audition after a semester of study.

Contact Us

Questions regarding the application, application deadline/process, and required supplemental materials should be directed to the admissions office appropriate for your level of application – undergraduate/graduate. 

Questions regarding the audition process & audition registration can be directed to the Audition Coordinator:

Linsay Setzer
Audition Coordinator
setzerl@montclair.edu or musauditions@montclair.edu