VanderCook College of Music thumbnail

VanderCook College of Music

Start an Application

Narrow your Search

Welcome to VanderCook College of Music!

We are excited that you are exploring the next steps in your journey as a music educator. For over 100 years, VanderCook College of Music has focused exclusively on music teacher education. Our unique curriculum prepares the whole music educator, emphasizing performance as well as instructional methods.

VanderCook’s degree programs offer a thorough, comprehensive course of study rooted in collaborative music-making and hands-on, project-based learning in a conservatory-like atmosphere. VanderCook will fully prepare undergraduate students to teach band, orchestra, choir and general music, and prepare you for licensure to teach in Illinois, within only four years. 

You can also visit the undergraduate and graduate pages on our website to learn more.

Our Mission

The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations through the preparation of teachers in instrumental, choral, and general music disciplines. Our broad-based curriculum is designed to prepare teachers with strong character, skill in the process of teaching, and respect for the essential role of music in our culture.

VanderCook College of Music is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Our teacher certification program is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education.


Deadline for Spring 2022 submission  - January 1, 2022

Deadline for Summer 2022 submission - June 3, 2022

Deadline for Fall 2022 submission - August 15, 2022

Audition Process

 and Guidelines

Applicants applying for the MCERT, TCEP, or Undergraduate programs will be required to either submit a video audition or schedule an in-person audition. The Summer (MMEd) program does not require an audition.


Perform two pieces that demonstrate contrast of tempo and style. NOTE: Please upload PDF copy of your repertoire prior to your audition on Acceptd.

Audition Options

  1. In-Person
  2. Online via VanderCook’s online application platform Accepted (application platform)
Online (Video) Audition Guidelines

Video One: An introduction video (3-5 minutes max). This can be the video you submitted with your application. As stated above, introduce yourself, tell us your musical background, and answer the following questions:

  • Why do you want a career in music education?
  • Who inspired you to be a music teacher and why?
  • What are the qualities you look for in an outstanding teacher?

Videos Two & Three: Perform two selections of contrasting styles or one longer selection that demonstrates contrasting styles. NOTE: Please upload a PDF copy of the selections performed.

Video Four: Perform major scales that demonstrate your technique and range. One sharp key and one flat key (2 scales minimum; please perform at least one sharp key and one flat key). Minor scales are optional but encouraged.

What to wear: Professional attire expected

NOTE: Please upload a PDF copy of the selections performed.

In-Person Audition Guidelines

  • Two selections of contrasting styles, or one longer selection that demonstrates contrasting styles.
  • Major scales that demonstrate your technique and range. Please be prepared to have scales selected for you. Minor scales are encouraged but optional.
  • Sight-reading exercise
  • Interview with panelists
Please note: All in-person auditions must be scheduled two weeks in advance.

What to wear: Professional attire expected.

Percussion Guidelines

Beyond scales and sight-reading, try to prepare as many of the following as possible:

  • Snare drum solo or étude in an orchestral/concert style
  • Snare drum solo or etude in a rudimental style
  • One 2-mallet and one 4-mallet keyboard selection
  • A timpani solo or étude
  • Demonstrate styles on drum set (optional)
Instrumental Guidelines

  • Play two or more selections/movements on your primary instrument that demonstrate contrast of tempo and style
  • Major scales that demonstrate your technique and range. Please be prepared to have scales selected for you. Minor scales encouraged but optional
  • Sight-read a few short exercises
Choral Guidelines

You may bring your own accompanist, or you may request an accompanist two weeks prior to your audition. Audition music should be sent immediately following a request for an accompanist.

  • Perform two contrasting selections that demonstrate your abilities. This may be something in a foreign language and something in English, an art song and a musical theatre piece, something that demonstrates your ability to sing phrases and something that demonstrates your flexibility. Most importantly, choose music that shows us who you are as a musician.
  • Demonstrate that you can sing scales in tune. Singing scales - You may use solfege syllables, numbers, or a neutral syllable. Please prepare to sing one octave followed by the arpeggio in a comfortable range.
  • Perform as many of the following scales: major, natural minor, melodic minor, harmonic minor. For the minor scales, they may be la-based or do-based minor.

Here are some scale suggestions to perform: Sop/Tenor F major and D minor; Alto and Bass: D or D-flat major and B or B-flat minor, for example.
Sight-read a few short exercises.

If you have questions regarding your program, application, or admissions process, please contact us at or 312-788-1120. We are happy to answer your questions and help you learn more about VanderCook College of Music

For technical questions, please visit the Acceptd Help Desk