The College Music Audition - what to expect

Anyone planning on attending college should perform a college music audition -- even if they are not planning on majoring or minoring in music!  Participating in music programs is an excellent way to round out the college educational experience.  Also, many schools offer scholarships for musicians regardless of their major; so it can be a financial benefit, too.  

The first step should be to familiarize yourself with the music department of the schools you are considering.  Study the major and minor programs offered, performance opportunities and most importantly their audition requirements.  Get to know the teacher of your instrument, even requesting a lesson with them. Talk to your local music teachers and others for ideas, suggestions, opinions about the schools you are considering. Mostly importantly, continue working closely with your school and private music instructors in the preparation process.

Before applying to the school of music, you'll most likely need to apply and receive admission to the college.  Start the process early in the year as many schools begin their entrance auditions as early as September.

Know what is required in the audition -- repertoire requirements, technical requirements, sight reading, ear training, improvisation, a personal interview.  The process can vary slightly from school to school.  It also varies by major -- music education, music performance, music business, etc. 

Be Prepared!  Have the repertoire memorized several months before the actual audition date.  If possible, perform the selections several times before hand.  

Singers and instrumentalists are usually assigned a staff accompanist for the audition. They are trained to follow your lead, so maintain composure and confidence.  Be able to clearly articulate and communicate your musical intentions.

Sometimes the audition committee may stop a performer before the end of the piece.  Don't take it personally.  Often there is a very tight schedule and a limited amount of time allotted each student, and they need to hear as much as they can in a very short period of time.  You can help yourself prepare for this by stopping and starting in different places in your music; or playing your selections in a different order.

The audition begins the moment you walk into the room.  Arrive early so you can adequately warm up and be on time! Present your best self by being well-dressed, poised, friendly, respectful and confident. Mistakes are ok, and even expected.  How you recover, and you perform overall, are what a committee will remember.  

Have some questions of your own prepared to ask the committee.  Know how to express why you want to pursue a music degree, why this is the school you want to attend.  

Enjoy the journey!


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