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Prescreens - How Perfect do They Need to Be?

mom2clarinetobsessedkidmom2clarinetobsessedkid 119 replies3 threads Junior Member
I know that prescreens can be all over the place--some done in a professional recording studio, and some done on an iPhone in a kid's room. D's will fall somewhere in between, and hopefully be good enough. Our question is: must they all be recorded on the same day (or in the same outfit, at the same location, etc.), and how "clean" do pieces need to be? Would it be some kind of red flag to have selections recorded on different occasions? Are schools expecting submissions to be on par with audition quality, or are they looking for solid playing and potential?
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Replies to: Prescreens - How Perfect do They Need to Be?

  • bridgenailbridgenail 1199 replies6 threads Senior Member
    To answer the questions of do the pre-screens need to be “perfect”, “clean”, “audition quality”...I would suggesting thinking: does this represent/sound like my kid on one of her good days?” Does it truly represent your kid as a musician on the day recorded?

    We re-did my D’s initial takes in a cinder block school practice room with a school loaned recording device (just before iPhone recordings became possible) bc it sounded tinny and I felt distorted. The better recordings sounded like...her. They weren’t perfect bc she wasn’t perfect (and isn’t today). But her pre-screens definitely captured her sound and who she was...as a developing singer.

    As for venues and clothing changes if there are no rules concerning them in the pre-screen instructions, it shouldn’t be wrong....but I’m less certain about this as an impact on the whole. I guess that it could be mildly distracting if there were a lot of notable changes. I think that in most cases keeping things uniform would be good (unless you were doing solo and then trio work where a change would make more sense). A soloist changing venues and clothing for each take..would beg the question..why? Still if the talent is there I don’t think it would matter, particularly if the changes were minor. I believe there are usually rules..like recorded in the last 6 months ... but I don’t remember rules about all recorded the same day. Maybe others have an opinion on this.
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  • mom2clarinetobsessedkidmom2clarinetobsessedkid 119 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Thank you, @bridgenail! I appreciate the guidance of aiming for something that represents her on one of her good days. She is ready to record, in my opinion, but perfectionism is rearing its ugly head. She spent a lot of time working on Piece 1 over the summer, and Piece 2 this fall. She will record Piece 2 this week as it is due first. Her tendency is to want to go back and drill Piece 1 for awhile longer, then record again. (At least one school is asking for both pieces.) My advice is going to be to 'go for it!', and get it done. Recording on a second date would take more time and money--not to mention the possibility that the church sanctuary won't be available then, etc. Just didn't know if there were any hard and fast rules on this, or if people had had experiences one way of the other. Really hoping for successful/ usable recordings the first time around!
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  • songbirdmamasongbirdmama 473 replies23 threads Member
    edited October 2019
    D's private voice teacher arranged a recording session as a gift to his six seniors who were applying to college (we split the cost of the accompanist). Sounds great, but each student had 20-30 minutes to do all their pieces. At the time, I thought "Why not have longer sessions?" but I think it was his way of preventing them from overthinking and also making sure they were ready to record by the chosen date. Note: You do not need a recording studio- D mostly does her submissions now on an iPhone and they are fine. As long as the sound quality is clear! Just meant to illustrate that you probably don't need to spend 18hrs re-recording a single piece to achieve perfection, as the audition panel can hear beyond a few errors. They are looking for potential and do not expect perfection.
    edited October 2019
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  • ViolinmomazViolinmomaz 72 replies13 threads Junior Member
    AAAggghhh prescreens! I'm having PTSD....

    Haha ok all joking aside,

    I don't believe it is necessary at all for all the recordings to be "same day" or same outfit, etc. What the committee cares about is that it is evident there are no edits, you can see them completely, and good sound. My D wore what she would for a solo performance, but not over the top fancy.

    As far as prep and how many times to record - my advice (and what I force my kiddo to do, even now for summer institute audition recordings, etc.) is record as early as possible. Do as many takes as you can stand. Find your best one of each piece for the day. In a week or a month she may have made huge strides in that piece or listening again be really unhappy about it, so you have a little time to make one more take if needed.

    Also, early recordings ensure that you will not be sweating an upload at 11:59 on the due date!

    Hoping for the best for your musician!!
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  • songbirdmamasongbirdmama 473 replies23 threads Member
    edited October 2019
    @Violinmomaz No PTSD here, but active stress!! D is applying to MM programs. Set up two sessions to record -arranged room with piano, paid accompanist, film student friend to record. First day, sound apparently stopped working mid session. Second day (and second $ for accompanist), another equipment malfunction not apparent until she went back to annotate the cuts. She was crushed (and a little upset because it is starting to get expensive with the pianist). She thought the film student would be better than the iPhone, but now she is back to doing it herself. The "starting early" advice you offer is good. She definitely did that, but now the clock is ticking and her time is strained with opera rehearsals. But things tend to get done, and I'm sure these will too.
    edited October 2019
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