What happens when I audition for college?                                                                                    BACK

When to arrive:  When you sign up for an audition day and it is approved, the school will send you a message indicating what time to show up. Do try to be punctual. Being extremely early, however, does not often give you any advantage since your first meeting will probably be a general informational meeting. (If you are early you get to sample the pastries before everyone else. That’s a plus.)

What to wear:  Wear nice clothes, like something you would wear as a guest to a classy-ish wedding. No ball gowns or tuxedos are required. That would be much more than necessary. Ultimately we care about how you play and whether or not we think we can teach you. So, if you make a fashion faux pas, we’ll forgive you if you are nice and play well.

Who you’ll see:   Your first encounter will probably be with an admissions counselor in the informational meeting. There may even be professors present to answer any questions you or your parents may have. After the group sessions, you’ll be directed to a warm-up area where you will have a chance to warm-up and focus for your playing audition. If there are other people playing in the same room, don’t try to show them up. Just play some scales and long tones and maybe work on a tricky section or two you’ve been perfecting at home. When it is time for your audition, someone will come to fetch you and lead you to the room where you’ll play. In the room will be a panel of two to four professors. They will say hello and probably introduce themselves.

What to say:  Keep your chin up (even if you flub something), look the panel in the eyes, and answer any questions as truthfully as possible. If you do not know the answer to something, don’t lie. Just fess up and say “You know, I’m not sure about that.”  If there has been something new and wonderful that didn’t make it onto your resume, make sure the panel knows about it. If the panel asks you what etude or solo you want to start with, always lead with your strongest piece. It is also a good idea to do your scales first, so that you don’t get flustered with them later. If they ask you if you have any questions, by all means ask whatever is on your mind that is sensible. Do not ask about money, though. At that point, no one will know. Money decisions are made much later.

What to play:  Click the link to see particulars (What to play). In general, though, we want to hear you at your very best. So long as it is still at the appropriate level and within the audition guidelines, it is perfectly ok to play a less difficult piece if it means you will play it much better than the harder piece you have been struggling with. Again, lead with your strongest piece. Also, be prepared to sightread. If this is a weakness of yours, prepare for your auditions by sightreading a few short exercises every day.

When you are done playing:  Be sure to thank the panel when you leave. Personality is an important factor. If you frown the whole time, the panel may think you are a rain cloud that they would like to steer away fromeven if you are a good player. If you see a panel member in the hallway later, be sure to say hello. Remember, though, that this is not the time to talk about acceptance or money. If the teacher brings it up, take it as a good sign but not a guarantee. Not only do you have to be accepted by that school of music, you also have to be accepted by the university as a whole.

Other things you may expect:  Often, people auditioning for programs such as therapy or education must also do an interview with the appropriate faculty. Again, look the panel members in the eye when you answer them and give them the most honest answers you can.

Most schools also administer a theory placement exam. This usually does not determine whether you will be accepted. Instead, it is used to determine where in the theory sequence you should start. If you know all of your scales, key signatures, rhythms, intervals, and triad qualities (major, minor, etc.), you should be just fine. In any case, the worse that could happen is that you would end having to take an extra semester of theory when you first come in that ensures you are ready to continue on.

At the end of the day:  Return back to your home or hotel and congratulate yourself for making it through the day. Talk to your family or friends about your impressions of the school and see if anyone who was with you noticed anything you didn’t.

The wait: This can be the hardest part. Remember that many schools wait until the last audition day is over before they make any decisions about acceptance or scholarship. If you auditioned early, be prepared mentally to wait it out. In the meantime though, it doesn’t hurt to stay in contact with the admissions office and your potential future teacher. The teachers and admissions officers at the school love to know that potential students are truly interested.

Best of Luck in Your Auditions!!