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Questions Asked at Auditions

violindadviolindad Registered User Posts: 933 Member
edited December 2010 in Music Major
In various threads I have read incidental comments about questions being asked in auditions. I thought it might be helpful to have a more comprehensive list. Please share what questions have been asked by panel members during an audition. Also, how often do auditions consist entirely of just playing (with no questions asked)?

I will start by summarizing some of what I have heard:
1. Tell us something of the background of this music. [I wonder if this question is more commonly asked of vocalists. Have any instrumentalists had this type of question?]
2. What is your top choice school? or Are we your top choice?
3. Do you have any questions for us?
Post edited by violindad on

Replies to: Questions Asked at Auditions

  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 3,878 Senior Member
    For voice, DD was asked to try something different in the way she sang a piece. In that audition it was almost like a lesson after she sang. I think they were seeing how "teachable" she was.
  • SkieSkie Registered User Posts: 497 Member
    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    What are your interests outside of music?

    Have you visited the school and sat in on any classes?

    For singers: Can you learn your music on your own?

    Can you translate your foreign language song?
  • KeyofHKeyofH Registered User Posts: 232 Junior Member
    Music education majors have a whole different set of questions asked, including the proverbial questions to make sure the applicant is not pursuing music education as a back-up should performance not work-out. Other types of questions included:

    What have you learned about teaching being a student that you would find useful as a teacher?

    What are your thoughts about becoming active within the profession? (i.e. participation in MENC and supporting the funding of music programs)?

    Which of your teachers would you use as a model or mentor?

    What role do you think music has in a child's overall education? There's probably others, but I can't remember them.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,889 Senior Member
    The only question my son recalls:

    Do you have a copy of your music? (and he did...had made copies AND carried the original just in case he was asked)

    One faculty member at one school knew DS's trumpet teacher. That was a specially arranged audition that was more like a lesson.

    DS reported that at all the others, he went in, played his music, and left.
  • binxbinx Registered User Posts: 4,318 Senior Member
    Juilliard asked my kid lots of questions, based on the resume he'd sent in, that they had in front of him. Specifically, they asked him personal questions about his teachers. He had studied with someone quite famous in the horn world while we lived in Germany, and they wanted to know how that teacher was doing (he'd had health issues some years back), and the circumstances around studying with him. At the time, I thought it was friendly conversation. In hindsight, I wonder if they were checking whether S really did know this guy.

    They also asked S if he wrote his cadenza himself (he did).

    At Curtis, the teacher asked S what kind of music he liked to write.

    In every case, the conversation was natural, and the questions were not demanding nor pushy.

    D was asked once what her top choice was. She answered that she only applied to schools she would be happy at, and that finances were going to play into her final decision. (Which was true.)
  • sagitersagiter Registered User Posts: 358 Member
    The prof who did the SUNY Fredonia regional in our area actually asked my son "Where have you been all my life", that was pretty funny.

    Aside from that he was asked questions at Eastman and Ithaca about first choices, other schools, etc., his pat answer was to list the schools but to say that his final choice would be a combination of finances and financial aid and that he really was trying not to fall in love or make a decision until he had all his options available and we held a family financing meeting. He explained that his sister would attend college overlapping his time and that we had to work as a family to get both of them the best opportunity available.

    At the Crane School he played his requirements and the Prof turned it into a lesson. What do you think you can improve on the piece you just played; questions on his focus, style, etc., and then they actually worked on his audition piece a bit.

    My son didn't audition at the "conservatory" level as most (Eastman being an exception) don't deal with the euphonium which is my son's primary.

    In December of his app year my son played with a christmas Tuba-Euph group on ABC TV, I can link to it if allowed, anyway, there were several euph professors from some nice schools that sat down to talk with him through the morning while he was off playing on his own during the endless breaks and waiting. What was weird was that aparently based on that we were contacted by schools where he didn't apply asking if he was planning to and at one school (Hofstra) he was told that he basically didn't need the audition, he'd be offered a slot based on what the prof knew of him through other area performances.
  • fiddlestixfiddlestix Registered User Posts: 218 Junior Member
    Violin at the "more selective schools/conservatories" tends to be fairly formal, matter-of-fact, etc. Some have thought the process seemed factory-assembly-line-like with one candidate after the other - very impersonal. The "questions" may be limited to "What will you begin with?" Don't let that bother you - lack of questions or "chatting" doesn't mean anything one way or another.

    If you've scheduled lessons, that may be when questions are encountered.

    How interesting, the different experiences depending on instrument or voice type - and, of course, depending on school!

    Great thought, violindad, to share experiences and suggest another way that students can prepare themselves for the unexpected!
  • BeezMomBeezMom Registered User Posts: 217 Junior Member
    Skie - thank goodness your first (where do you see yourself in 10 years) was on an application. If my D had gotten that one at an audition, it would have been disasterous. As it is, it caused us to have to change courses completely very late in the game, but well within the recovery timeframe (And before I'd plopped down the app fees at the conservatories!).
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Registered User Posts: 3,399 Senior Member
    singersmom, the same thing happened to my D! And she was also asked if she had other music with her (they wanted to hear a specific tempo) and luckily, she did.
    At one school she even had to explain a selection because one prof had never heard of one of the pieces! It's always wise to know your repertoire...
  • obsessivecollegeobsessivecollege Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    My vocalist D was asked at Peabody if she planned on continuing to play the violin. When she answered in the affirmative she was told that could be a problem. She was accepted, but not to the Hopkins/Peabody dual degree program.I think the committee interpreted her answer as being overcommitted to other things.
  • MomofbassistMomofbassist Registered User Posts: 698 Member
    Since this thread was just referred by violadad(thanks!), the strangest question my son was asked so far by music ed faculty was "How he would add diversity to their program and was he comfortable with diversity?". This stumped him since he is a white suburban male interviewing at a predominantly white suburban school. At the same school, they wanted to know if his teachers were trying to push him towards one school over another ie their alma maters. He replied that they wanted him to go where he would become the best musician, and where he would be happiest.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,346 Senior Member
    At Juilliard, one of the interviewers asked by daughter if she would consider changing a certain section of her composition, after he made a few comments and suggestions. Many of the questions there seemed to be geared to evaluating a student's toughness and strength of will, but this also could have been testing flexibility and openness to instruction- who knows!
  • violadadvioladad Registered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    Momofbassist, in case you missed it, there were a couple of music ed specific interview threads within the liknks I posted in response to the audition question.

  • MezzoGirlMezzoGirl Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    I know from attending the summer program at Indiana ( College Audition Prep) which basically gives mock auditions and lessons with the faculty. That for voice they will ask how many years of piano you have studied?
    What is your favorite Opera and Why?
    Do you have a favorite opera singer?
    What are the other schools you are considering?
    What languages you have studied in school?
    How many years you have taken voice lessons?
    Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  • MomofbassistMomofbassist Registered User Posts: 698 Member
    As always, thanks for the useful links!
This discussion has been closed.