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Audition tips & info.

ASWASW Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
edited April 2011 in Music Major
With auditions in the winter, how did you plan your travel to ensure that your child got to the audition and didn't miss it due to weather?

What was the audition process like? Is it always a panel or is it sometimes just the individual teacher? Do they usually state what they want you to play first or do they ask what you want to play from your list? Were you asked many questions? Was it hard to find a warm-up room or do most schools have somewhere set aside for auditioners? Is there anything you wished you would have known before you started your auditions?

Will the schools schedule auditions if you have sent in the app., but are still waiting for the recs. and transcripts to get sent in? How long after you applied did you find out the audition date you were scheduled for?

Thanks for any and all help and tips for this year's seniors.
Post edited by ASW on
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Replies to: Audition tips & info.

  • edadedad Registered User Posts: 2,584 Senior Member
    If your child has lots of auditions, begin the planning early. The app needs to be submitted but need not be complete. Some conservatories are very restrictive on times and dates but most will work with you and setting up schedules. As with any other organization, some schools are very organized and get schedules done early and others muddle through. Make sure you and your child contact teachers and the HS administration. Often there will be a lot of absences and special arrangements may be needed to handle school work and exams.

    There is little you can do about the weather. Most conservatories will continue regardless of weather conditions and if the weather forces cancellations this can be a big problem due to limited time to reschedule. It is a good idea to allow extra time for travel just in case. Most auditions follow a similar format. First there is a general meeting. The kids are then sent off in groups for theory and ear exams. Often there is a parents session for part of this time. Auditions usually run on a tight schedule. Warm up time is often limited due to room availability. Students usually help assure at least some access to the warm up rooms but often the time is very limited. The faculty usually control the auditions including the order and time spent on specific audition pieces. Due to the limited time, discussions and Q&A are usually very limited. Many faculty members will do some callbacks. Having a callback is usually a good sign but some students may have done well and are not called back.
  • ImperialZeppelinImperialZeppelin Registered User Posts: 377 Member
    A couple of additions to edad's great comments:

    1. Who is there? Depends on the school. At some schools only one of the intended instrument professors, sometimes all of the professors of an individual instrument, and sometimes an entire department, i.e. the Woodwind Faculty. All depends on the school.

    2. Finding a warm-up room? Depends on the school. All set aside rooms, but they vary in "aiding" getting a room. We varied from assigned times (Peabody), excellent student help finding a room (Eastman) to a free for all (IU).

    3. Weather: Yes, the big unknown. Obviously, if you're traveling to Rochester, NY in February, you may want to schedule your flight very early on the morning on the day before they audition, if not two days before. The ultimate fallback is to have a quality recording prepared to use in case of weather problems. Some schools will allow you to send in a "Weather Audition CD," (Peabody possibly? I can't remember) that they will use if you tell them that you couldn't make it because of weather. But as edad said, "The show must go on" and it does.

    Once again, plan early and get a project scheduling program or a big calendar to lay out your intended schedule. Also, APPLY EARLY!!! Most schools will not schedule your audition until you apply. In your application you typically list your choices for audition dates so if you set up a schedule with all 1st choices, your best shot for getting those choices occurs when you apply early.

    That being said, schools are very accomodating in rearranging schedules. A friend of mine here in Illlinois had two sons auditioning at a NY school and the school scheduled them on separate weekends. A quick call to admissions, got the auditions rescheduled one right after the other on the same day.

    One final note. Many of us like to schedule the "safety school" audition first, even earlier than January/February if possible. This allows the student to get one under their belt early to help with the jitters at a place where acceptance is a forgone conclusion. We had our safety audition in November and worked up, having the "I really want these schools" auditions in the middle of the cycle, hoping that we'd hit D's "peak." We "cooled off" from auditions at the second safety for the last audition. Our timing worked out well since best auditions were definitely in the middle of the cycle, but this is an individual thing.

    Also, remember that this is not a sprint, but a marathon with tons of ups and downs. Do your mental preparation too, and keeping a good supply of whatever your favorite relaxation agent handy is a great idea!

    Good Luck!!!
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    There was no real pattern to the auditions my daughter had.

    BU was minimalist. We arrived in a very sparse lobby area, she signed in and was told to fend for herself amongst the practice rooms for her warmup. There was nothing at all for the parents to do and not even vary many places for them to sit and wait. The audition itself was 10 minutes in front of a video camera with no direction and no faculty present. No theory or ear training tests.

    NEC was a little more organized with assigned warmup rooms and a lounge (but still no parents programs) where both students and parents sat while waiting their turn. There were two faculty members directing the audition. Again, no theory or ear training test.

    Oberlin was straightforward, with a couple of informative sessions for the parents while the students did separate theory and ear training tests, then auditioned for about 20 minutes in front of two faculty members.

    Peabody was like a road rally, trying to find obscure locations around a set of old buildings that interconnect in haphazard ways and have very slow elevators. There were a couple of sessions for the parents while the students did theory and sight-singing tests. The area outside the audition space was pretty crowded and everything was running behind schedule. Auditions varied from about 15 to 30 minutes and were run by two faculty members. There were assigned times for warmups, but nobody was paying much attention to them because the auditions themselves were running so late. They held a department recital the night before, which was a nice touch.

    Curtis was what my German friends would call ganz organiziert. Everything was planned to the last detail and run precisely by the clock. Much to the annoyance of the person running the auditions, a free afternoon concert by the student orchestra had been scheduled at the same time. The lobby, crowded under normal circumstances, had not only all of the auditioners and their retinues, but also a hundred or so students with instruments coming and going, and an overflow crowd of mostly senior citizens competing for the 300 or so available seats in the small concert hall. Somehow, they got it all sorted out. Daughter reported that the audition was a full 30 minutes and seemed more like a lesson (with two of the best bassists on the planet) than an audition. The bass department held a recital and a Q&A session the night before in the same space that was used for auditions. There was no separate program for parents, but they were invited to the recital/Q&A and even got to ask some of the questions. They had a procedure for everything from deciding audition order to being escorted to the warmup room and it all ran smothly and pretty much on time, despite the utter chaos in the lobby. There were no theory or ear training tests.

    The weather problem we handled by finding hotels within walking distance and arriving the night before. As it turned out, we lucked out and never had any snow.
  • edadedad Registered User Posts: 2,584 Senior Member
    I agree with BassDads observations about BU and Peabody.

    We arrived the day before at BU and had a hard time getting a campus tour. We went over to the Fine Arts building and wandered around on our own. Very unimpressive. The next day my D showed up at 8:15 for a 9 am audition. It was taped and she did not even know if faculty was present. We asked about tours and any other events/information. There was nothing and we were out the door and on the way home by 9:30. Needless to say none of us had any positive impressions.

    Peabody was a bit disorganized. There were students aids and lots of signs but the building floors and room numbers were confusing. My D had a panic attack when she went to register and there was no packet for her. Admissions did a great job of calming her down and fixing the paperwork. She had the first audition after lunch. At audition time, one of the two faculty members was late. After waiting for a few minutes, she did her 15 minute audition. Then the second faculty member showed up and she did it again. (Even better than the first time.) She was invited back for "lessons" by both faculty members at the end of the day. All of our experiences at Peabody were the same. Everyone was very kind, helpful and friendly but there was an overall level of confusion and lack of organization. Peabody also had a great and very informative parents session. Anyone interested in a degree in music should also read the Peabody webpages.

    Eastman was the exact opposite. In spite of the crowds and noise, everything was organized and ran on schedule. Although the auditions were organized, they were stressful. The opening student-parent meeting seemed designed to add to the stress. The Deans and faculty did nothing but talk about the demands of Eastman, the selectivity and the high importance of the audition process. My D was already nervous and did not need an even higher level of stress. I would agree with BassDad. Schedule the safety auditions first. Eastman was a reach for my D and also her first audition. She did not do well, but it later turned out she was at the head of the waitlist. If she had some previous audition experience she would likely have been accepted. I guess it would not have mattered. She would have gone elsewhere anyway.

    Best of luck.
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    Actually, scheduling that first audition at a safety school was ImperialZeppelin's idea, but I agree that it is a good one.

    I also agree with edad that the Peabody web pages should be required reaading for anyone interested in a music performance major.
  • ASWASW Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    Thanks, this is very helpful. It is helps just to get a better sense of what it will be like to reduce the stress for our daughter as much as possible.

    Do I understand edad correctly that most every school does a theory and ear test at the audition? I thought I had heard that some schools do the theory at the start of the fresh. year, but I'm not certain if that is correct.

    We read the Peabody essays last year and they were helpful, but I'll print them out again and look at them.
  • mamenyumamenyu Registered User Posts: 1,520 Senior Member
    Bassdad: How does Oberlin Early Review fit into the mix?
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    The Oberlin Early Review program allows a student to audition at Oberlin on the first weekend of December. It must be a live audition at the school, no regional locations or tapes accepted. All application materials must be in by mid-November, including SAT scores, recommendations and the latest available transcript.

    The outcome of the audition can be a yes (in which case the student is notified of acceptance and merit aid amounts in 2-3 weeks), a no (same timetable) or a maybe (in which case, they are considered along with all other applicants and notified on the regular admission timetable, i.e. by April 1). If accepted, there is no binding commitment and the student has until May 1 to decide. Having an offer from Oberlin in the back pocket can greatly reduce the stress levels at subsequent auditions.
  • edadedad Registered User Posts: 2,584 Senior Member
    Several had theory; some had theory and ear. Once admitted, students are retested for placement and they audition again for specific orchestras and performance groups.
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    Theory and ear tests vary widely from school to school. Some do not give them at all at audition time, preferring to wait until school starts. Some do not use them for admission decisions, only for placement into the appropriate class if admitted. In some cases, they give fairly easy ones during auditions and more difficult ones the summer before school starts so they can fine tune their theory classes. A few give them some weight in the admissions decision. If your daughter has had AP Music Theory, she should do just fine. If not, a bit of home study might be in order.
  • mamenyumamenyu Registered User Posts: 1,520 Senior Member
    Another couple of Oberlin questions: for the double degree, it looks to me from the website that if you apply early review to the Conservatory and regular review to the College, you still need to have the College application complete by December 1, rather than the usual January deadline. Is that right? Also, do you know if a lot of the applicants do the early audition (for piano, in this case)?
  • FluteMomLizFluteMomLiz Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    Great thread with great answers.

    Wonder if the trend toward unified applications might ever end up with unified auditions. Or at least unified requirements.

    Yale dumping early admissions may lead to fewer schools allowing early auditions and acceptance and prevent you from having "one in the back pocket."

    I thought with Oberlin's early admit you were commited. Good to know you still have until May 1 to compare.
  • FluteMomLizFluteMomLiz Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    Did most of you spend the day before and the night after in the city of the auditions? Or did you fly/drive in and fly/drive back out immediately?
  • ImperialZeppelinImperialZeppelin Registered User Posts: 377 Member
    If we flew, we stayed over at least 1 night, the night before the audition, leaving the night of the audition. The same went for the 4 hour car ride audition; it was an overnighter. Depending on your program/instrument, some schools ask that you are available up to 9:00 PM on your audition day for call backs. If you're flying to such a school, you'd be best off staying over 2 nights.

    The 2 and 3 hour car rides were safeties and were "in and out" affairs. Additionally, they were "private" auditions with no formal programs besides the audition.

    I would highly recommend overnight the night before or two nights before for the air travel sites. Cancelled or delayed flights the day of the audition would add an incredible amount of additional stress. Besides, most places have a full-day of activities besides the audition and you need to be there first thing in the AM.

    FWIW, we had already visited all of the audition schools at least once, if not twice with the exception of the "safety, safety school" If your first visit to a school is audition time, I would suggest staying over a couple of nights to really get a feel for the place. Personally, I strongly recommend visits and lessons during the spring of junior year or early fall of junior year.

    Yes, even the getting to audition process is time-consuming and expensive. Thank goodness the frequent flyer and frequent hotel guest accounts were bursting at the seams at the start of all this. By the end of auditions, there were virtually empty.

    Zep
  • FluteMomLizFluteMomLiz Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    A friend told me they were thinking of applying to school that has auditions in the spring of the junior year. Anyone ever heard of that?
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