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Will teachers ask me questions after I play at an audition?

thelovelybonesthelovelybones Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
edited January 2011 in Music Major
Will they possibly ask me questions about my musical journey or other related topics to see if I have a likable and teachable personality?
Post edited by thelovelybones on

Replies to: Will teachers ask me questions after I play at an audition?

  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    Not only after, but also before and during.
  • violindadviolindad Registered User Posts: 933 Member
    thelovelybones: My recollection is that you are a violinist looking at a performance major at some of the better schools. In your case, the answer to your question may be somewhat different from that given by the dads of the bass and viola (i.e. they suggested that questions are likely at auditions). Fiddlestix noted (in the first thread to which violadad links) that performance violin auditions at the better schools tend to be quite formal with very little interaction apart from possibly asking which piece you wish to begin with.

    My son's experience (violin performance auditions at Juilliard, Rice, CIM etc.) was that there were no questions, apart from a question at the end of the audition at three of the schools as to whether my son could meet with one of the faculty members later in the day. Trial lessons are, of course, an entirely different matter--you should expect questions there or at any post-audition interview. As well, it is good to have a couple of questions prepared for a trial lesson or post-audition interview; asking no questions makes you seem disinterested.

    I post this just so you don't feel that there is a lack of interest, if there are no questions. There seemed to be little correlation in the violin world between questions and acceptance.
    It is good to be prepared for questions, but don't be disappointed if you don't get any.

    Vocalists seem fond of talking; teachers of instruments that have far fewer students auditioning and teachers of any instrument at less competitive schools with far fewer students auditioning also seem to have the time for conversation during auditions. I know that you have applied to NEC and CIM and similar schools--they will have several very full days of violin auditions and seem more interested in using your very limited audition time to hear you play rather than talk. Most violinists are able to play less than half of the required repertoire in the allotted audition time: many other musicians can easily get through all or most of their required repertoire in the time and therefore have more opportunity for conversation.
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    That is very interesting information from the violin world, which could be quite a different kettle of fish than what we experienced. I can see how having many more applicants to get through could result in fewer questions or none at all. My daughter's experience was that her most competitive audition (Curtis) lasted longer and involved more back and forth with the teachers than almost all of the others. It could be that the teachers do not feel the need to talk as much when the decision is fairly obvious, but want to find out more about the borderline cases. I think a lot also depends on the personality of the teacher and on how busy they are, not only with auditions but with life in general.

    I completely agree with violindad's advice to be ready for questions but not to be disappointed if you get none.
  • thelovelybonesthelovelybones Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
    Thank you for all of your advice!

    I just wish that they would look more into our musicality and personality because I believe it makes a huge difference.

    I just found out today that I lost in a competition and yet my friend got selected. IMHO, I admit that his technique is more advanced than mine, but I think my musicality is definitely greater...and not bragging, but I know that I am more willing to learn and improve and is truly passionate to music.

    I feel like these days judges care more about techniques more than other things.
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member

    While it is often possible to acquire good technique by putting in the required time and effort, some people would not recognize musicality if it bit them in the tuchas. Hang in there.
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,872 Senior Member
    Competitions are a crap shoot. Don't let it throw you, and remember that auditions are as much about things like musicality and your "teachability" as they are about technique (which your teacher will probably want to reconstruct anyway!).
  • thelovelybonesthelovelybones Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
    i really do hope that they put musicality and teachability in consideration! it would make everything so much easier...
  • violindadviolindad Registered User Posts: 933 Member
    BassDad: One of the reasons that the violin world might be different is the size of the auditioning panel. My son had panels of 6 or more at more than half of his auditions. These large panels probably have had to develop the rule that no one gets to talk (otherwise they might all want their say or question and at just one question each, almost half the audition time could be used up with talk).

    thelovelybones: My experience has been that colleges are looking for students with potential to develop and grow. You can't teach taste, musicality, passion, or the ability to communicate with an audience (although you can provide the input and experiences that allow most musicians to gradually acquire them), so auditioners are looking for students that have a good chunk of that stuff in place. Technique can be acquired by almost anyone willing to put in the time.

    I agree with stradmom that competitions are unpredictable. A different judge or panel will choose different people. Or the same judge or panel will choose different people on a different day.
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    Makes sense. My daughter never had more than three on a panel and that only happened once. When there are only one or two judges at the audition things tend to be less formal.
  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica Registered User Posts: 3,242 Senior Member
    thelovelybones, chiming in with what violindad said about violin auditions. My daughter did 8 auditions last year and for the most part, they were pretty formal, even when she knew the panel. In part (I think) it's because there are so many auditions that the panel just has to keep moving.

    In response to your comment about losing the competition--my daughter was told by a teacher at one of the top conservatories that the panel cannot agree on issues of musicality and taste, so they generally pick candidates based on what they can agree on: technical precision. Obviously this is not true of every panel in every school, but there is some truth to the observation that musicality is often less valued than technical precision in an audition situation. As for the rest of life, that's a different story.
  • thelovelybonesthelovelybones Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
    Thank you glassharmonica. While they value more of "technical precision", I hope they still put musicality, character...etc. into consideration.
  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica Registered User Posts: 3,242 Senior Member
    thelovelybones, I probably should not have used the word "value"-- I think it's more that precision is something they can agree upon, whereas there are different tastes with regard to musicality. Also, if a student has some technical issues, there are some teachers out there who are not interested in teaching them, regardless of their potential or musicality. On the other hand, there are teachers who will recognize exactly those things and embrace such a student. I think this is all the more reason to connect with prospective teachers in advance and find the right match(es). Also-- if you have a lesson in advance, the teacher will be able to talk to you and discover more of who you are as a person. An advance visit also demonstrates the sincerity of your interest in the teacher and his/her school. To give an example, my daughter applied to the studio of a certain teacher at her pre college teacher's recommendation. The teacher had already selected his studio (in advance of auditions) and was not at my daughter's audition for the school. After she was accepted, she contacted him and he invited her to visit in while on tour (at a different city, not ours or the city where the school is.) She played for him for much longer than a regular audition, then he talked with her for 45 minutes. He told her that he would accept her if there was an opening in his studio- first on the wait list. As it turned out, a spot did open up, but after she had already committed to a different school/studio. My point is that he wanted her to play for him, and he wanted to get to know her. I think he also wanted to see how serious she was, since she had to travel to another city to meet him.

    There are some teachers who famously won't give lessons or hear any students in advance of auditions-- in order to keep a level playing field. More often teachers seem interested in getting to know serious prospective students outside of the audition.
  • 18karat18karat Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    I would hope so, I think talking and asking questions is an integral part of the admission process and really shows who you are. The experience I've had so far has been very open ended and I just talked off the cuff, but the results have proven worthwhile
  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica Registered User Posts: 3,242 Senior Member
    It does seem to vary from major to major. Even within strings auditions there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that cello, bass, and viola depertments at numerous schools will invite auditioners to lunch after auditions, etc., in an effort to get to know them. This doesn't happen much for violins. So the violinists should not be alarmed if the audition panel seems cool to them.
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