The exciting experience of NATS Student Auditions, where singers perform and receive written feedback, includes national levels of student auditions and prizes.
Who may enter National Student Auditions?
In order to sing in the NATS National Student Auditions, you must study with a current member of NATS. The categories for which you are eligible to sing are decided by the amount of time you have studied voice, your voice type, and your age on September 1, and for younger student-singers, your year in school.
When are the National Student Auditions and what are the rules?
Each chapter, district, or region sets their own auditions schedule; most of these auditions are listed on our Region Events listing. If you study with a NATS teacher, they can obtain information and application materials from their local NATS chapter or region. Complete National Student Auditions regulations may be found in the NSA Resource Center.
NATS Student Auditions begin with a preliminary round, in which students sing for a panel of adjudicators and perhaps a small audience. Preliminary auditions advance to quarterfinals then semifinals as needed. All National Student Auditions culminate in Finals. Finalists audition again, often for a larger public audience of everyone present. Many chapters and regions offer prizes for to students placing in their categories as well as additional awards.
- Chapter Auditions
- In some regions, chapter auditions are standalone events that do not advance to the region or national levels. Other regions hold progressive auditions in which students must begin at the chapter level and only the top students in each eligible category advance to region auditions.
- Region Auditions
- To participate in the national rounds of these auditions, students of NATS members must qualify by entering only ONE region's NSA and placing in their region's auditions. The top 5 singers from each region's NSA-eligible categories advance to the national online preliminary round.
- National Preliminary Auditions
- Each singer who advances from a region audition must apply and submit videos of their performances for adjudication by a panel of international judges in the national preliminary round.
- National Semifinals and Finals
- 15 singers from each of 34 categories plus the Hall Johnson Spirituals Competition during conference years and the 3 American Negro Spirituals Categories in non-conference years — ALL advance to the national semifinal round.
- The top 3 singers in each national semifinal category audition in the national final round.
- The national final rounds will be held in conjunction with the NATS 58th national conference in Knoxville, Tennessee (June 28–July 2, 2024).
- National NSA Entry Fee: $75 per category (nonrefundable)
- Prizes: Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will total more than $84,000.
- Competition Dates: Online national screening begins the second Friday in April, with the national finals scheduled in conjunction with the NATS 58th national conference in Knoxville, Tennessee (June 28–July 2, 2024).
- Deadline to Enter: April 12, 2024 (Entry is by emailed invitation-only, following regional auditions)
Children & Youth Musical Theatre/Commercial Music/Classical Categories
$800 – 1st place in each category
$400 – 2nd place in each category
$300 – 3rd place in each category
High School & Lower Musical Theatre/Commercial Music/Spirituals/Classical Categories*
$1,200 - 1st place in each category
$700 - 2nd place in each category
$450 - 3rd place in each category
Upper & Advanced Musical Theatre/Commercial Music/Spirituals/Classical Categories*
$1,600 - 1st place in each category
$900 - 2nd place in each category
$500 - 3rd place in each category
American Negro Spiritual Categories (finals in odd-numbered years)
$7,700 total of awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in three categories
Hall Johnson American Negro Spiritual Competition (finals in even-numbered years)
$3,400 total of awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in this competition
*Should there be a tie, an award will be pooled and divided evenly between the singers. Both winners will be named place winners. Not all prizes must be awarded in all categories, depending on enrollment and/or adjudication.
Endowed NSA Awards
Hall Johnson Estate Prize for Hall Johnson Spiritual Competition: 1st Place
American Spirituals Ensemble Prize for American Negro Spiritual Category 9: 1st Place
North Carolina Chapter Prize for American Negro Spirituals Category 3: 1st Place
Dorothy Sawatski Prize for Lower Classical Treble Voice Category: 1st Place
Roberta Stephen Scholarship for best performance of a Canadian Art Song in Classical Upper & Lower Categories
- Only student singers of current NATS members may enter the NSA.
- To qualify for the National Preliminary YouTube Auditions, a student must have entered only ONE region’s NSA and placed (1st – 5th) in an NSA eligible category(s) or eligible subcategory(s). Eligible categories/subcategories are listed in the NSA Categories of Entry document.
- Students must look for their emailed invitation to enter the national preliminary auditions at the identical email address typed, when entering their region’s auditions.
- A different email address must be used for each student entry. Multiple students (including siblings) may NOT enter using the same email address.
- Adult supervision and permissions are required for legal minors to enter and participate in the national auditions.
- Students may opt to enter as many genre categories as match their level of study and age/year in school at the region auditions. At national auditions, you may only enter the categories in which you placed in your region auditions.
- Each national NSA category entered requires a nonrefundable $75 entry fee (2 categories total $150).
- Students must enter and perform exactly the same repertoire in national auditions as performed in their qualifying NSA region audition.
- Instructions on the entry process are emailed to each qualifying student and their teacher following the conclusion of their region’s auditions. Teachers, parents, and students are responsible for adhering to the important emailed instructions.
- Before submitting videos, students invited to enter national NSA Preliminaries may re-record their You-Tube submissions of the same repertoire entered in their region’s NSA.
- Incomplete, ineligible, or late national entries cannot be accepted.
- The national NSA ENTRY DEADLINE is April 12, 2024.
Make sure to check out the resources below for more information!
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.
Former NATS President Roy Delp believed that “the idea of constructive criticism along with encouragement” is at the heart of our student adjudications. "Perhaps one of the greatest ties that binds us together as NATS members is the care we have for the students of our colleagues, as demonstrated at our student auditions.” (Journal of Singing, 2000, Vol.57, No.1 p.2)
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. National semifinal and final rounds are held every summer, alternating in conjunction with the NATS National Conference and NATS National Workshop.
The NATS Advocacy Committee, with the support of the NSA Committee and NATS leadership, is supporting an endeavor to promote diversity in repertoire selection by choosing a different theme biennially. The committee's first initiative was music by women composers. We want to encourage the membership to program music by women during the competition and recital seasons. Learn more about current and past initiatives. We encourage members to program music that represents these initiatives during the competition and recital seasons.
Originally for classical repertoire only, the NSA now encompass the solo vocal performance of Classical art song and arias, Musical Theatre, American Negro Spirituals, and all genres of Commercial Music in a minimum of 35 available categories of entry. NATS members provide thousands of hours of volunteer service to organize, execute, and adjudicate auditions each year — providing a valuable service to student singers from children through adults aged 30 years old or younger.
The NSA offers students constructive, even if sometimes subjective, professional feedback on their auditions. The NSA is not a talent competition, but auditions to help student singers learn to bring the best of themselves into unfamiliar spaces for sharing their musical art in performance. NATS Student Auditions offer students an opportunity to develop skills, which transfer to benefit many of life’s circumstances both inside and outside of a performing career.