My Berklee Audition Story + Tips - insaneintherainmusic / Carlos Eiene

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My Berklee Audition Story + Tips - insaneintherainmusic / Carlos Eiene

36 164 views | 3 Sep. 2016
36 164 views | 3 Sep. 2016

I share my experience of auditioning for the Berklee College of Music. In addition, I explain the rating system at Berklee, and how my placement audition worked! This video is in no way officially affiliated with Berklee, it is a retelling of my experiences. I hope this is helpful to you in some way!


(0:00) - Intro + My Background

(1:59) - Admissions Audition

(8:16) - Placement Audition

My Placement Audition:

I arrange, record, and produce jazz covers of video game music every other Saturday morning on my YouTube channel! My channel combines my loves of jazz and video game music, creating covers and remixes you'll definitely enjoy!


【真・三國無双7 猛将伝】呂布伝:呂布 - 長安奪還戦(究極)
Jared Khan

ommmfffgggggg i remember watching this 2 years ago, and now it's almost audition season. Im not auditioning at berklee but i just finished pre screening for nyu, miami, and northwestern but im not feeling too good about them ;-;

Tabi Butler

Does anyone know if you have to choose a single instrument to audition on or if you can use two? I'm a saxophonist and vocalist (both as strong as each other) and I don't know which to choose to work on


im so screwed


It was quite enjoyable video to watch. I really wanted to tie my life with music, but ended up learning a computer science professionally because I thought I had to have some academic musical knoweledge before going to conservatory, and when I was in school I didn't go to music school. I think I still regret this decision a bit (after graduating and working as a programmer for quite some time), but I can get over it because it would be hard to survive in my country by just being a musician. Saying all this just because I'm really curious how it feels to be musician professionally because it was (and kinda is) my dream.

A Salty Grape

I'm not even thinking on applying on to anything, but I think this could help me to see what professionals look for in jazz. Thanks for the vid!

A Death #Guitarist

What will be the cost of admission


Don't know why I'm watching this video but now I feel ready for my fictional audition at Berklee!

Somesh Das

Very helpful video! Found this video literally days before my audition to Berklee last December, and it was so accurate and helpful and I was fortunate enough to get into Berklee this year! Take onboard Carlos' tips and check out his incredible video game jazz covers which I discovered after watching this video!

Yusuf Roshd

Why is this on my recommended, why am I watching this and why does this make me want to re-apply to Berklee


Do ALL potential students have to audition? Even if you are looking to enter with Audio/Sound Engineering???


Wow, this sounds kind of like a RCM piano exam, but a lot harder and with some different components. Nice of you to make a video like for people to have a better idea of what to expect! :)

Owen Gaffney

Hey Carlos, I just wanted to say thank you so much for inspiring me to become a better musician and I'm actually starting piano lessons on Wednesday!

Lulu Ramirez

I’m a woodwind (a flute to be more specific) and I’m considering to apply to Berklee but I’m very anxious about the improv part seeing as my instrument never really gives me the opportunity to practice that skill (concert band life because jazz flute isn’t as popular as it should be) Any tips???

Michael Abbo

Just a question how do grades affect getting in? I’m a 2019 high school grad and I’m currently really struggling but music is what I care about. I really want to take music seriously and go to Berkeley but I think my grades are going to hinder me. How did grades affect you when applying? I’ve watched this before but like a year ago and now college applications are coming soon.

Benjamin Gillespie

don't know what it is but are bassoons allowed


Just a thought about the half-step improvisation thing, that's notoriously common in black churches where the gospel songs are jazzed up in the first place, then modulated over time up for emotional emphasis w/the crowd. Also it's necessary if you're backing a singer whose drifting all over the place but that's another bag of worms, LOL. So, I think it may be efficient to play songs a half step or 2 up or down at least, but I've never auditioned for music school. just my $0.02

Danny Moreta

One more thing? This college is very expensive or it isn't?


Hey, Carlos. First I wanted to say you've been a huge inspiration to me as a Tenor Sax player (also in Seattle haha). I'm currently a freshman in high school, and have maybe thought of going to Berklee. My biggest worry is the position I'm in right now, especially compared to the highest level players at my school. Namely I'm worried about being able to catch up in many fundamental skills, like soloing, tone, and intonation. I'm unsure where the next few years are going to take me, yet I still also have this dragging fear I won't be able to catch up even in high school. Any ideas on where to start moving forward?

Ro Panuganti

im going to be fine ^_^

Steven Higbee

I wish my audition at my college would be to do a transcription, it would actually give me motivation to do one instead of looking them up or using the Charlie Parker Omnibook :P

Preston Haggerty

Dude you're from the Seattle Area AND you played Jazz in school? Small world because I did too.


thank you man,it helps.


I watch videos like this just to live vicariously through you guys.

TheJazz Apprentice

This July i did the auditions to the jazz Superior Conservatory of Pamplona and Pais Vasco (Musikene), sadly, i failed, but thanks to this video and the previous experience, everyone who is studying for this now knows what to expect. Thanks.


This was really helpful for me because I'm in the process of auditioning for college and while I'm not sure if I want to apply to berklee or not yet this has really helped me grasp an idea of the processes involved so I have a better idea of what to expect. I know all schools handle their auditions pretty differently, so did you actually have to go all the way to boston just to audition? Or do they have representatives come to Seattle to audition people? Thanks for the insight, as this video was really relevant to me and helped a lot.


This video was super helpful! I'll be applying there in the fall so hopefully things will go well for me!

isaac Hernandez

What did you major/minor in? Also is it required to live on campus?

selene martinez

My admissions audition is next sunday for Voice! I am not worried about my prepared piece, or any of the other components of the audition, only sightreading. What if I have never in my life taken a music theory class? would It be okay to simply be honest with them and tell them I have no idea how to read music? That part is really freaking me out, and the idea to audition for berklee came to me about a month and a half ago after a close friend suggested I do it; so I didn't have enough time to basically learn a new language. I have watched one other video on here where the applicant also did not know how to sightread, and he still got into berklee, but it was back in 2008, so I'm not sure if their standards have gotten higher when it comes to that?

Thank you!


I just had my bass audition for Berklee four days ago and I just wanted to say thank you for the video! I saw it last year when it was first uploaded and it really helped


Hey Carlos.
I have two questions:
I am a classical musician: Vocalist and Pianist -- Is that an adequate background for the Berklee audition?
(This essentially means my blues/improvisation knowledge won't be as developed)
Secondly: The application asks for both a primary and secondary instrument - will I be able to play a piece for both Voice and Piano?

My end goal is to do production/film scoring. Berklee is the ideal place for me in that regard :)


Luke Pace

I am a sophomore in High School, and have played [piano for ten years. I also played trombone from 5th-8th grade(4 years), but stopped playing that once I got to high school. When middle school started, I found a true passion for music and the arts, although my main focus from 7th-9th grade was always musical theater. At the very end of 9th grade, I used some money I had earned playing piano music to purchase an electric bass, in order to play it for my band, and I almost immediately fell in love with the instrument. I soon found my passion for instrumental music, and as of now, I would like to pursue music as a career later in life. It's been 6 months since I picked up the bass, and I will be starting lessons in the next few weeks. Berklee seems like an amazing place, and while I haven't looked into too many other colleges at this point, I am really considering it as a potential college(although this question can be applied to almost any other music school). However, I am extremely nervous that it is too late for me at this point, and that even with practice, I wouldn't be able to develop the skills necessary for Berklee within less than 2 years. Is it possible for me to still get accepted at Berklee, or another school like it? And if so, how would you recommend best preparing myself starting now(start of my second semester sophomore year), until audition time(some point during Senior year)?

cristina hron

me watching this video after you said to stop if i was freaking out about my audition, knowing my audition is tomorrow and im freaking out

Jaimie Pangan

Wow! Thanks for this! I have a question on the sightreading. Were the notes complicated when you read it?

Evan Romito

What if you are playing a non jazz instrument, would you still do improv? I play trumpet and contrabassoon and was wondering, would I audition on both my instruments? Do I need to audition for berklee with a jazz instrument to be in any jazz ensembles

Jiho Hwang

It is pretty certain that I won't go to Berklee, but it was nice to know how the admission works and your own tips on how to do well in it. Nice video!

Luke Seto

As someone who also plays a woodwind (clarinet), I was wondering if you play standing up or sitting down; I've only played sitting down for my entire 4 years with one exception in which I squeaked during a national anthem duet. Thanks!

Danny Moreta

I will save this video for the future, I'm too young now and this is probably going to be useful, thanks ;)


I'm heading to Berklee this fall in Boston. Have you ever been to the Boston campus or are you exclusively in California? (Granted, you could be in Boston - I assumed based on your apparent Washington-based childhood)


Do you think you played the real audition or the recorded version better?

Anna 95

how old are you? i thought you're in the late 20s or early 30s before i saw your face

ezequiel nazario

Are the audition typically the same for guitarist?

Cody Thurman

i was looking up audition stuff and came across you what are the odds

Romelus Jean Pierre
Like,share and suscribe


You're an experienced musician, I hope you don't mind me asking this:
I'm just getting serious with learning jazz now (I've played a little bit in the past, but not as serious).

Do you (or any experienced musicians reading this) have any tips for getting better at improv?

Leo Liu

HELLO! Did you choose" Contemporary writing and production" or "Film Scoring" for major? I am a junior this year and I want to go to Berklee too for film scoring major :)

Jen Pies

uuuufff Blue Bossa
Love that tune --- played it on vibes with my combo a couple semesters back

Do you have a video of you playing it on here or do you plan to upload a video of you doing so?

Sam Odio

do you think it's possible to get into Berklee if you have only been playing guitar for a year? when my senior year rolls around I would have been playing for 2 years

Arctic Monkeys

Im not from the U.S.A and i checked the scolarships apply , and it says to pay 150$ . Is it the right way to apply ? Bc i saw so many application and in confuesd , please answer today i need to send it by tommrow .


Not really a music focused guy myself, but I think it's really cool for you to do this for people who may be interested in it!

Desmond De La Internet

I really wanted to go to Berklee to learn more advanced music techniques. Although, I also wanted to go to the University of Central Florida because I wanted to join their marching band. Ugh, decisions!


did you get 8s across the board?

Soyoko U.

Do you need perfect pitch to be able to play by ear?

Luke Seto

Hey Carlos, I know I'm posting this comment a while after you posted this video, but I hope you still respond. Anyway, I just finished 7th grade this week and I play the clarinet (I have been since 5th grade). I take private lessons (which I have also been taking since 5th grade) and I think I'm pretty good for my age. I've always seen playing my clarinet as a hobby that I want to be really good at, but recently after finding your YouTube channel and this video I've begun to consider a music career (before I found you, the thought hadn't even crossed my mind. I've also discovered Musescore, so now I'm able to learn a whole lot of my favorite video game songs because I'm a huge gamer. I think one of the steps that I should take to take music more maturely is to make a YouTube channel like your's. But that would mean I would have to be multi-instrumental, and at my age, I certainly don't have the money to have access to other instruments, let alone lessons for them. I haven't even mastered the clarinet yet, so I don't know if I would be able to pull this off. College seems so far away, but I feel this is really important. Do you think I'm too young to be multi-instrumental? I know this is really long and there are a lot of questions to answer (if you do answer), but I hope you do. Please don't get to ticked off if you answer and I have some follow up questions. Thanks!

P.S. Can you please do covers or remixes of Gourmet Race from Kirby and/or Royal Avenue from Pokemon Sun and Moon? I don't know if you like them, but I really do, and I think a lot of other people do too. Thanks again!

Metal Lix

I'm still going back and forth on whether or not I want to go to Berklee (I have little in the way of money at the moment, so I have a lot of time to think on that...), but I'm still glad I watched this. I knew there was a process to getting admitted, but I had no idea what it entailed. Now that I do, that gives me a clearer idea.

Spiders Johnson

My main concern is, how serious are they at the interview? Like if I say "Now for the fun stuff" at some point, will that be viewed as unprofessional? I just want to know how I should behave

Mudit Hyanki

Is it okay to perform a pop song in the audition. For example just say, "My Everything" by Owl City.

Jovianne Tabraham

the rating thing made me think "okay so a 1 means 'you have a lot to learn' and an 8 means ''why are you here just go be famous already'"


This has absolutely no relevance to me but it was a nice podcast to farm some stuff to on rust :P


five-week's pretty cool too


ill be auditioning for electric bass next year hopefully. I'm thinking of either doing "Chromazone" by Mike Stern or "Come Running to Me" by Herbie.

Launch Queen

So if you go to Berklee, do you/are you going to help out with the Jazz Fest they host?


My audition is today. I'm freaking out, man.


I got my decision today! I was accepted!!
For everyone in the comments freaking out, don't worry! If I can do it, you can too!!! Good luck!!!

Internet Police

what happens if i dont know how to read music?

Alfa Zack

does drums count??

David Depict

I just realized that I look a smaller version of you.

Michael G

what if i just watch literally every one of your videos? xD

Juan José Camacho Lira

Hey man.I'm 15 years old,been playing guitar for about 7 years and I practice about 5-7 a day. Do you think I could be admitted?


Wutz ur reetong br0? buet ur nawt aven uh 923

The K18


Maurice Soque


BladerXGamer 1237

+insaneintherain I believe there is a summer 5 week program for Burkley. It is a scholarship however still I'm partly confused about that process. I know you may not be reading this comment but if you have any knowledge please I would like to know. I'm still trying to look into it but I would like to have a little taste of burkly. I'm thinking about pursuing music therapy (as a career) and I think learning/getting experience will help me grow as a player. I'm in my freshman year so have time before auditioning but I can participate while in highschool during the summer. Anyways,if you know anything Carlos please help me. If you want to get more information my email is [email protected] (its my formal email but I just want advice and knowledge. Also,I'm a big fan of your content and you're a big inspiration for me pursuing jazz. Thank you!


Is it the same for drummers?

Cassandra Sturdivant

So should I play my transposition first then wait for the improve to play my jazz standard? What I'm asking is should my prepared piece be my transposition?


I am a Flautist (Jazz and Traditional Latin America Music) from Colombia, I auditioned for the last two years, in 2015 i was accepted and got a 40% scholarship for undergraduate program... my family can´t even afford the money it would take to let me live in Boston. off cores even less the other 60% I need :(
1dollar in Colombian pesos is 3000 Pesos, 70% of Colombians live with 6000Pesos (2dollars) a day and earn 150 every month, It is really hard to study outside Colombia
It is so cool you are in Berklee now!! I have admire you since I saw your channel!!

Hopefully I will reaudition in Bogota Colombia in February 2017
If everything goes right maybe we will meet!!

You are awesome!
Buena Suerte


I need a video like this but for music composition


Woah I always wanted to go to Berklee but since I am at Malaysia I can't really go to America to apply there. There is a college in Malaysia that has partnered with Berklee but I don't really know how it works. It's called ICOM. And the Foundation in Music course let's you transfer your credit from the college to Berklee once you finish the course. I dunno if I should apply there. Also, congrats on getting to Berklee! I think you're gonna succeed in your career. Good luck.

Dylan Borle

I’ve got three years, but I’m kinda planning, I’m a trans kid and I’m trying to find my happy medium, i just hope by three years I’ll be ready

Noah Godard

Haha, my theory teacher is in his senior year there.
Congrats on getting in, and good luck there!


Just wondering, but did you take private lessons for saxophone/take lessons in another instrument like piano, or were your seven years of playing all school experience? I'm planning to take a music program in university, but I'm worried because I haven't taken any lessons or anything like that playing saxophone as well, and my only experience in a music learning environment has been from playing in my school's concert and jazz band, as well as playing in an out-of-school jazz band for the past 6 years.

Gregor Grigorian

I love straphangin'

Todd M

Question but did you look into the University of North Texas for Jazz?


Hey this is great for me! I'm only a sophomore in high school, but my band experience is going great! I'm currently the top saxophone at my school and plan on seeing you at berklee


Dude I learnt that you were going to Berklee this year yesterday and was going to ask how it was. You read my mind man.
I'm planning to go to Berklee when they sent me mail a while back and now I'm even more motivated.

yinyang 28

My audition is in a week...

Matt Hoffman

This is literally so cool omg

runty rebel

Can you auditon by playing guitar while singing?

Tiffany Onwudinanti

opinions on people who are multi-instrumentalist?
Also, any tips on how to get out of a rut when you don't feel like practicing.. (uninspired)?

Apurva Gouri

I have some questions, hoping someone would be kind enough to answer. Do they ask you which style you wanna improv in while you audition? Also is the improv done on a BG track or they play an instrument along? And one other thing, is the improv from the practice exercises given on the website alone?
As for the sight reading, from the exercises you're given, can they ask you to play any one of those or is it your choice or do you have to play all?


Don't exactly need this but glad you doing well and giving ye tips for other younglings :333

Thomas Maxim

Hi I just watched your video and I found it very informal but I have a question I want to major in Electronic Music Production and Design and i can't play an instrument is there like any chance that I would even be considered to get in the college with these background?

Danny Burke

Aaaaaah my audition is today! So excited!

Viktoria Teplinskaya

Thank you Carlos! Very well put together video. Wishing you tons of good luck in your studies and career.

Sherman Ng

I got in!!! So thrilled!!!


My audition is today. I'm freaking out, man.

Marc Bernier

For playing songs in different keys, would you say a guitar player could get away with using a capo?

Joey Stempien

But could we audition with an insaneintherain cover with the backing tracks? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

mario ramirez

when did you started applying to berklee because I really want to go there next year?

Devan Mallory

I don't know if you can still answer questions, but is it ok to use a composition as your performance piece if you are going into jazz composition as a major?

christopher mi

I just auditioned a few days ago. I really hope I get into Berklee!