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Audition Dress Code

FiddleMomFiddleMom Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
edited February 2007 in Music Major
What would be the typical level of dress for female instrumentalists-violin? I found comments about the guys but not much on what the young ladies wear.

My daughter did her audition at the local private university last month & was granted admission to the music major with a small music scholarship. She dressed nicely enough- black skirt w/ black blouse- but I'd like something a bit newer than what she wore for her next set of auditions, which are at more selective schools. One note is that she is not a frilly feminine kind of gal, so we definitely want to keep it fairly simple. Dress vs. skirt & blouse? Any thoughts on heels vs. flats? We'll obviously go closed toed, but she's not fond of heels.
Post edited by FiddleMom on

Replies to: Audition Dress Code

  • myaumyau Registered User Posts: 468 Member
    Does your daughter feel comfortable playing viloin in public while dressed up in skirt/blouse or dress? Mine tends to stick to dressy pants/blouse for all her violin performances. I wonder if that would be acceptable on auditions (in case she will decide to do it with violin ...).

    As to shoes, we have always (again, for performances) tried to keep the "middle ground" - choosing dressy shoes with moderate, not too high, sturdy heels (no stillettos ;-)). Should there be any special concideration for college auditions (compared to ordinary recital)?
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    My daughter favored simple concert blacks for all of her auditions - blouse, pants (she plays bass from a stool and pants are easier than a dress or skirt) and flat shoes, but that is about as dressy as she gets without being forced.

    Most of the female violinists that we saw auditioned in a fairly simple skirt and blouse or a dress, even at very selective schools and conservatories. A few got done up like soloists in a fancy dress, necklace and earrings, heavier-than-usual makeup and heels, but not many. The main rule for instrumentalists seems to be not to wear anything too distracting - keeping to the middle ground is a good idea. The goal is to be remembered for your playing rather than for some deficiency or excess in your outfit. Female vocalists, on the other hand, tended to get done up pretty thoroughly.
  • StringMomStringMom Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    We just got back from Oberlin & Cleveland (and Eastman the week before). Lots of black dress pants/nice sweaters or blouses (either black or colored). Some girls wore skirts; a few wore dresses, but not super dressy. D wore either black pants/red tunic or black polka-dot dress with tights. I thougth that red &/or polka dots might be a little "flashy" but she was adamant. As it turns out, both outfits seemed appropriate and to fit in with what the other girls had on.

    Shoes were mostly medium heel or flat. I'd say dressy flats are definitely OK - D has always worn flats to play since a teacher told her that heels tend to pitch one too far forward. The teacher felt you get a better, more grounded sound in flats.

    I'd agree with nothing distracting. D was also told not to were any left hand jewelry (rings/bracelets/watches) and to be sure her hair was pulled back & out of her face.
  • FiddleMomFiddleMom Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
    Thanks for your comments! I will suggest to D that it would be ok to wear black dress pants with a nice sweater or blouse & let her choose between that & a skirt or dress. I think the main look I'm going to suggest she go for is something a bit more sophisticated than what she wore the last time but not flashy. Her previous outfit is what she has worn the last two years to solo & ensemble.

    I'll be sure to talk with her about her hair & jewelry. She sometimes wears a ring on her thumb-can't remember which hand- but that will have to go for that day. Her hair is at a funny length for pulling back but not short enough to stay well out of her face. We'll have to consider whether she can style it or go to the slightly shorter cut I was advocating. I think a shorter cut would be more becoming because it's at kind of an in between length, but she didn't want to do that- I think she's trying to grow it out.
  • binxbinx Registered User Posts: 4,318 Senior Member
    My D has worn black pants and a fancy top at every audition. She has two tops she rotates between, depending upon mood. One is a lacy aqua top with metallic threads - 3/4 length sleeves. Other is long sleeved red top with sparkles/glitter in it. Both are high-necked. Her auditions have all been in small theaters or large recital halls, so having something sparkly seems to add a bit to her performance - since violin is such a "visual" instrument. The most important thing to her is that she play in something she feels comfortable in, and feels attractive in. She wears her black Swedish clogs - which are definitely not fancy, but hidden beneath her pants, and she really likes them, so I keep my mouth shut.

    She does not like to play in anything too high necked - like a turtleneck or cowl neck, or ruffles. And she doesn't like buttons, or clothes that get twisted from the shoulder rest. The important thing is to make sure the bow arm moves freely, no part of the shirt hits the violin (like dangly sleeves) and the clothes are not slippery. We've found that shirts with friction (eg sparkles or lace) work better than satiny fabric or tight knits.

    I'm sure concert black is just fine, but everywhere we've been, we've noticed string players dressed very similar to my d - black pants and fancy tops. Remember that soloists seldom wear concert black, so you won't seem out of place in something prettier. (And my d is blonde and very fair -- black is not real flattering to her.) Of course, formal gowns are not appropriate. Since violinists perform standing up, it's important to have shoes you can stand comfortably in. My d is not coordinated enough for too high heels -- doesn't need to fall on her face walking in! which eliminates many skirts.

    And wear stud earrings, unless you want a little percussion with your playing. :)

    Edit to comment about hair: My d's hair is about shoulder length, but layered, so it doesn't pull back well. It parts on the side, and goes across her eye on the side she holds the violin. I have read advice to make sure hair is out of the way because judges don't like the "flinging" of long hair. I was worried about this but d resisted any efforts on my part to spray or clip it back or anything. But she's not really a flinger, so I guess it's been okay. Since she tilts her head that way when playing, perhaps that is enough to keep it out of the way.
  • dangnguyendangnguyen Registered User Posts: 240 Junior Member
    What about for guys? Are ties a necessity? Or can we just wear a nice dress shirt, black pants, and black dress shoes?
  • spelmomspelmom Registered User Posts: 130 Junior Member
    S wore all black dress shirt, black pants and shoes, no tie. We saw all manner of attire during his auditions, but black pants, shoes and a nice dress shirt with or without a jacket should be fine.
  • Beethoven's 10thBeethoven's 10th Registered User Posts: 83 Junior Member
    I almost think that for jazz students, get dressed up might even be inappropriate. Most jazz instructors are very laid back and the student auditioning is usally playing with a combo made up of current students dressed very casually (at best).

    For classical students, I think as long as you don't dress like a slob, it's fine. I can't imagine a school turning down gifted students because of their dress. However, many teachers choose students on how well they will fit in, not just talent. That's a lot more important than clothes. I doubt if most male teachers would even notice what a student wears. Men just don't notice those things, as my wife always complains about me.
  • tinaz980tinaz980 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Beethoven's 10th
    The comments for classical students are probably fine, except that the clothes should be nice enough to not to distract from the performance. However, this does not apply to Voice majors. They need to think about appearance a lot. Faculty does in fact, care about the image projected by the singer.
  • musicmomicmusicmomic Registered User Posts: 266 Junior Member
    tinaz980 is correct. Faculty and judges (both male and female) have made comments on appearance and dress to my D and to other singers in auditions and competitions, respectively. D has received positive marks and comments on her physical "presentation" on more than one occasion including college auditions. I have provided information on this on another thread but singers are certainly judged in part on how they "look" in terms of clothing and grooming.
  • sjgsjg Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Funny story about dress code -- my son has been wearing black slacks, a dress shirt (either black or dark green), open collar with a black t-shirt under. At Berklee the folks he was auditioning for commented on his dress and then even wanted to see if he was wearing BLACK SOCKS. Luckily he was -- at all of his auditions students have been dressed from grungy jeans to suits --but he is not auditioning classical which i would imagine would be a little more conservative in their expectations.
  • FiddleMomFiddleMom Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
    Thanks again for your comments on audition dress. D had two of her auditions this weekend. She chose a simple, mid-calf, slightly flared black skirt, with a snug, aqua lace top. She wore simple flats and got her hair trimmed up nicely so it wouldn't get in the way. D doesn't usually wear skirts or dresses. We also bought a pair of black slacks but she chose to wear the skirt. I thought she looked quite nice, and actually rather feminine.

    We did see a range of dress. At the more selective school, I didn't see any young ladies in casual clothing. I did see one or two young men in nice casual clothing. At the less selective school- which D actually felt more welcome at during the audition- there were quite a number of students in jeans, even, although most young ladies wore black dress slacks or a skirt.
  • binxbinx Registered User Posts: 4,318 Senior Member
    Sending good wishes for the rest of your d's auditions, FiddleMom. I'm looking forward to hearing the results (but I bet not as much as you are!)

    Off topic a bit: I'm heading to the post office this morning to overnight an audition DVD for St. Olaf. D was invited to live auditions, but it is the same weekend as All State. Since she isn't auditioning as a music major, but only for scholarship money, she was allowed to audition via DVD. Getting the DVD made has been an experience in itself! We hired a "friend of a friend". I didn't have a good feeling about it at the time - he brushed off our concerns about ambiant noise, etc. Plus D was running a fever (ear infection and sinus infection) and she looked like Rudolf with her red nose and cheeks.

    We got the finished DVD on Wednesday .... and it is unusable. He had the settings on the camera wrong - admitted it but felt it "would work." The screen aspect ratio is wrong - so d is "very skinny" on the video. And the picture was grainy. (Sound was good, though.) Since he was a friend of sorts, I didn't feel I could ask for our money back, and he didn't offer.

    So H made several trips to Best Buy and Circuit City, buying various DVD software. And we re-recorded Saturday morning. We used our analog camcorder, which is all we had. But we have an expensive, good microphone (only disadvantage is that the sound is mono), and the recording was done in our family room. This is one of those times where all you can do is all you can do.

    It has to be there by March 1, and I am so glad we got started early!
  • FiddleMomFiddleMom Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
    Thanks for the best wishes, binx! Two more to go yet, and on March 16th it's all in the hands of the decision makers.

    Ouch on the DVD! That is really hard. So much effort to end up being unusable.
This discussion has been closed.