National Student Auditions


The exciting experience of NATS Student Auditions, where singers perform and receive written feedback, is now an annual national round of competition with total prizes of more than $35,000!


In 1952 the Southwest District Convention featured a student competition, the first of what would later be known as NATS Student Auditions. As NATS grew, so did student auditions, and now thousands of students participate in chapter, district, and region auditions each year, providing students with constructive feedback on their progress and deemed by members as one of the most important activities NATS organizes.

Originally for classical repertoire only, auditions now encompass music theater, spirituals and other contemporary musical styles and genres as well. NATS members provide thousands of hours of volunteer service to organize, execute, and judge auditions each year – providing a valuable service to singers of all ages. Previously, student auditions ended at the region level in many parts of the country.

In 2013, the NATS Board of Directors approved the launch of NATIONAL level student auditions for the first time in NATS history, which began in 2014. The national semifinals and finals have been held each of the last two years in Boston, Massachusetts and Greensboro, North Carolina, respectively. 

New for 2016

  • The College/Independent Studio Music Theater categories are divided into both Lower (First and Second Year) and Upper (Third and Fourth/Fifth year).
  • Hall Johnson Spiritual Category has been made available through a very generous donation to NATS from the Hall Johnson Estate. The best performance of a Hall Johnson spiritual will earn a $2000 prize.

National Round Audition Eligibility and Application Process

Student singers may only advance to the National Student Auditions (NSA) through their respective regional Student Auditions (SA).

  • Each NATS Region holds a regional audition (live or online).
  • Each Region advances the top five singers in each eligible category (I - XIV) to the National Preliminary Round. The National Preliminary Round will be conducted via YouTube.
    • In the event of ties, all singers with top five outcomes may advance.
    • In Regions where audition categories are subdivided according to the National Student Audition Regulations, the top five singers from each eligible regional category will advance to the National Preliminary Round (i.e., five each from regional Freshman Women, five each from regional Sophomore Women, for a total of ten to compete in Lower College Women at the National Preliminary Round).
  • Each Region sends a list of qualifying students to the NATS National Office.
  • The NATS National Office will send an e-mail letter of invitation and complete instructions to the qualifying students. 
    • If you know you have qualified for NSA, you should begin working on your YouTube videos using the NSA Video Submission Guidelines linked below.
    • Each NSA application has a $75 fee. If a singer enters a classical and a music theater category, there are two $75 fees, one for each category.
    • Singers must sing the same repertoire at the national level as they sang at the regional level.

2016 Audition Dates & Locations

Preliminary Round - YouTube
Eligible singers from each region will be required to complete their individualized online application by April 23, 2016, which will include the submission of YouTube videos for adjudication by a panel of national adjudicators. Each singer will receive performance comments from three expert adjudicators.

Semifinal Round at Roosevelt University - Saturday, July 9, 2016
The top fourteen singers in each category from the YouTube round of competition will be invited to the live National Semifinals, which will be held at Roosevelt University as part of the NATS National Conference in Chicago, IL on Saturday, July 9, 2016. 

Final Round at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile - Sunday, July 10, 2016
The top three singers in each category from the semifinal round of competition will advance to the live National Finals, which will be held at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile on Sunday, July 10, 2016.

Additional Resources

Make sure to check out the resources below for more information!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) l Video Submission Guidelines l Student Auditions Guidelines (August 2015)