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Feeling anxious about pre-screenings...

YummymiiYummymii 2 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3 New Member
edited December 2010 in Music Major
I am currently a junior violist, and am attempting to graduate early so that I can focus on my music.

I recently finished recording my pre-screening CD, and sent it off to a few small schools.
The thing is, though, since I didn't have the time to sit and do multiple takes of each track, the pieces are all "blemished"-there are some intonation errors, and even, with one particular piece, a fairly noticeable error with the tempo.

I am worried that these errors will greatly effect whether or not I am invited to perform a live audition, since I know that a lot of other musician's spend HOURS recording their CDs, to ensure that they are as close to perfection as possible. This brings me to my question: How much should I expect errors of this nature to effect the outcome of my pre-screening audition?

If it helps, my first-choice school is Cornish College of the Arts. I do realize if I am rejected, that I have another year left of High School that I can take to better prepare myself, but... I am anxious.
edited December 2010
16 replies
Post edited by Yummymii on
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Replies to: Feeling anxious about pre-screenings...

  • violindadviolindad 922 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 933 Member
    I think that the people that listen to prescreening recordings are listening for the "big picture" rather than for the absence of errors: i.e. does the performer have a concept of beautiful sound, do they have facility with their instrument, are they able to communicate musical thoughts rather than merely play notes on a page. I doubt that most recordings are heard in their entirety. The occasional blemish is unlikely to have much of an impact on the success of a prescreening recording.

    My son's violin prescreens had intonation issues in every movement, but he passed his prescreens at the toughest schools (Colburn, Juilliard, CIM, NEC).

    Many musicians go to recording studios or good acoustical spaces to record and thus are unable to spend hours recording. Very few people are entirely happy with their prescreening recordings; some of those that are happy, ought not to be--their ears just aren't well enough developed to hear all their flaws.
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  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica 3298 replies53 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,351 Senior Member
    Hi, Yummymii. My daughter's prescreening wasn't perfect, either. Her concerto was in one take because I accidentally managed to delete the first minute or so of the second take, so there was no choice, and we couldn't get the hall/pianist again in time to do it over before the deadline. It turned out ok. I know others who spent a lot of time and money on recordings, and they also had good results-- who knows, maybe my daughter was just lucky. But fortunately you have another chance to record again next year if this time you don't like your results. Good luck to you!
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  • stradmomstradmom 4934 replies50 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,984 Senior Member
    D's teacher insisted she send her prescreen off with a really spectacular error in one of her Bach movements. Apparently, the recovery from whatever it was she did would outweigh the error in the judges minds.

    Waiting is the hardest part of this entire process, I think. Try not to get bogged down in the "if only" mindset. As you note, worst-case scenario, you have the gift of another year to prepare.
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  • BaritoneDadBaritoneDad 26 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 29 New Member
    For people that are waiting to hear about prescreening results at CCM, I thought I would let you know that they started going out yesterday - at least for voice they did. Good luck to everyone who is waiting to hear.
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  • LsopranoLsoprano 10 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10 New Member
    I know the feeling, Yummymii. I am so disappointed with how my CD turned out. We decided to try a recording studio, and I really regret it. The engineer didn't know how to work with a classical voice, the space was better suited towards small bands or instrumental recording, and my accompanist could only record with me for an hour (for 5 songs). Needless to say all this did not a fabulous recording make. But I made sure my phrasing and diction were spot-on, because those elements were in my control, but still, I'm very nervous about prescreening results. I just hope they hear my potential underneath the questonable quality of the recording...
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  • YummymiiYummymii 2 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thanks for the replies, everyone. They were helpful, really.

    I feel the same as you, Lsoprano. Though, thankfully, I was able to have an overall good experience as far as what little recording time I had went. My accompanist has some nice recording equipment, and his "music room" has excellent accoustic properties, so I was able to use that. But, he's such a busy guy; I was only able to rehearse with him once prior to recording, and could only sit and record with him for about 2 hours. :/ I do hope everything turns out well for you.

    Waiting seems to be more difficult than actually recording the thing; I regret not being able to travel to perform a live "pre-screening" audition when the school had an open house a few weeks ago.
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  • LsopranoLsoprano 10 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Thanks, Yummymii; I hope you receive favorable pre-screening results as well. :)

    One of my top two schools is supposed to send results back by late December, so hopefully I'll know something good by then. Only about three more weeks...
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  • musicprntmusicprnt 6216 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    I don't know if what I know helps across the board, since pre-screening CD's and how they are handled probably varies according to the school. However, I think you need to keep things in mind:

    1)From what I have heard from people who have gone through the admissions process, and hearing presentations by admissions people, a perfect screen cd might actually work against a student. With recording technology, it is possible to put together using editing multiple takes a 'perfect' screening, you could use programs that for example correct intonation errors, any number of things (this could be done with a home pc and a decent recording program)...but I suspect that would raise red flags, because no performance is ever perfect (you being a violist, there is a funny example from the old Star Trek, Next generation series, where Data the Android figures out a character playing viola with him in chamber music is an android, because "you played that piece exactly the same way when we performed it as you did in practice, only an android could do that" *smile*)

    I think it is better to do your best and submit it, as others have said some of what they are looking for could be the ability to recover.

    2)Prescreening from what I am led to believe is not there to screen the way they do on live auditions, the idea is to cut it down to people with a reasonable chance, even at the most top level conservatories. If what I know is correct then it is really to fish out those that have no chance, those not worth auditioning. I know there is this impression that those screening this are looking for any chance to get rid of people from the process, but I have to say that goes against what I have experienced so far (as limited as that is), if anything, most of the screeners have a hard time weeding people out, it isn't a joy.

    3)Also know that the people screening for the most part have probably been doing this a long time, and they know that a)errors can happen and b)that that doesn't necessarily mean the person is bad. They have had bad auditions, and what they are probably listening to is the overall picture, rather then looking for mistakes to weed them out. If the overall performance is good, if the intonation is solid, there is musicality in the playing, following the score in terms of dynamics and tempo,etc, then probably the screening CD will be fine, in terms of what they are looking for.

    Again, this is just what I have seen so far and heard about, but hopefully it will help take away some of the angst (though I suspect not much)
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  • YummymiiYummymii 2 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Musicprt, that was helpful in taking away some of the angst (and in giving me a laugh-the Star Trek reference amused me). I asked my private instructor all of this, and she, sadly, wasn't able to give me too much by way of answer. Apparently, despite the fact that she's been a professional performer for many years, as well as a *excellent* private teacher, this is her first time having to take a student through such a intense pre-screening audition. It's reliving to at least have answers from y'all, even if they don't take away all of the stress and anxiety of waiting for results.

    I'm expecting results from my top schools towards the end of December/early January as well, Lsoprano. Strange thing is, when I auditioned for one of the most well established/prestigious youth groups in my state, I had to wait about three months for results, and while it was a *really* long wait, this wait seems to feel much longer and is more nerve-wracking, probably because college and all that comes with it have been added into the equation. Haha.
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  • LsopranoLsoprano 10 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Just found out that MSM is supposed to send out the majority of pre-screening results on Dec. 20. While I'm glad I know when I should expect something, I also wish I didn't know, because now I'm extra anxious. Did you apply to MSM as well, Yummymii?
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  • xojlovenotesxojlovenotes 15 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16 New Member
    I got an e-mail today from Eastman saying:


    You have been scheduled to audition for the Eastman School of Music at a regional audition center. Your audition will take place on _______ at the following location:


    Your audition has been scheduled for ____ p.m.
    Plan to arrive 20 to 30 minutes early for your audition. A waiting room will be provided at most centers, as will space for a brief warm-up session.
    The repertoire form, which is on the application website, should be brought to your audition and presented at that time. Be very thorough when completing this form as faculty members refer to this information when evaluating your audition.
    Please notify the Admissions Office immediately if you will be unable to keep this appointment.


    Does this mean that I passed prescreening? The e-mail does not mention anything about it but it is implied that you cannot audition without passing that first round. They wouldn't send an audition confirmation e-mail before making the prescreening judgment right? I am a little confused.
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  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica 3298 replies53 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,351 Senior Member
    yes! congratulations!
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  • allegrovivaceallegrovivace 147 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 156 Junior Member
    Congratulations xojlovenotes! If you don't mind sharing, what instrument and what audition date? I haven't heard anything from them yet.
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  • xojlovenotesxojlovenotes 15 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16 New Member
    thank you :) but I actually might be misunderstanding what it actually means. I signed up for regional auditions (mine's on January 8th), which are earlier than the live auditions @ Rochester (February). I looked on the website and it says,

    "Applicants requesting a regional audition will not be prescreened, but must still submit a pre-screening recording if required for their instrument/voice."

    but in another page, it says:
    "Regional auditions are on a space-available basis and/or following review of the recording. Regional audition sites may fill early... [Prescreened instruments] who wish to audition at a regional audition must submit and prepare a prescreening recording for review."

    So first they say that prescreening recordings won't be considered for regional auditions.. then they say that they will. So I'm actually not sure if that means I even went through the prescreening round... Is anyone in the same situation as me? I'm going to give them a call tomorrow.
    oh, and I play flute!
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