One of the most challenging parts of getting accepted into music school is mastering the audition into music college.
The live audition is, perhaps, the absolute most important part of gaining acceptance into music school.
You’ve probably heard the same time-tested adage over and over when it comes to mastering the music college or professional ensemble audition.
“Practice makes perfect.”
While practicing for your audition is, for obvious reasons, incredibly important, there are several other things you can do to prepare for your music college audition the right way.
Imagine the confidence you would gain if you could ace the audition into music school – if you can truly master the college music audition, you can successfully audition for nearly anything, including professional ensembles, job positions, and more.
After all, no audience will ever be as critical and judgmental as that of a professional music school panel!
So what are my three best kept secrets for truly mastering your audition into music school?
I reveal them below…
But before I do, I want to let you know how I have come to knowing these three secrets.
In my personal experience, the experience of my friends, and the experience of clients we work with, these three secrets seem to magically enhance the chances a student has for successfully auditioning into music school.
One of the secrets below (number 3) is a bit unorthodox, and most music schools would never publicly state that it can significantly help a student’s chance for getting into music school.
However, you can’t argue with experience and a decade of consistent observation and study into how music school committees work.
My secrets will, unquestionably, aid you tremendously.
So without further ado, here are my three best secrets for auditioning into music school.
3. Consider Your Body Language During Your Audition
If you were a musician on an audition panel and you saw two students audition of nearly equal playing merit, one who smiled when he walked in, greeted your panel, and exited the room with confidence, the other one shy, meek, and not greeting your panel, who do you think you would rather give the acceptance letter and scholarship offer to?
Right, the first one!
Confident and clear body language is incredibly important in all facets of life; music college auditions are no exception.
Most people think that your audition starts when you begin playing your first excerpt, piece, movement, chart, etc.
But that is actually not true.
Your audition begins as soon as you walk into the room.
Your smile, your confidence, your attire, your voice, your greeting – these are all critical to mastering and acing your audition.
Remember, when you go to music school, you are likely studying with the same professor for four years (this is especially true if your are a classical performer/composer).
Even if you aren’t studying with the same teacher for four years, you are likely going to see and interact with any given teacher in your department frequently during your four-year undergraduate degree.
So appearing like someone a teacher would like to work and interact with for four years- someone confident who smiles, acts, and dresses the part – can be very important to mastering your audition into music school.
2. Stage a Mock Audition Into Music School
Do you know what is funny about getting a paid job?
You need experience to get that job.
But in order to get experience, you definitely need to previously have had, well, a job.
Kind of a pickle, right?
Music school auditions are the same…
In order to successfully audition into music school, you need to have experience auditioning for something before. But if you don’t have much experience auditioning, then you end up in the same boat as many novice job-seekers.
The answer to the novice job-seekers dilemma is, usually, get an internship or work a temporary job to build your resume.
The answer to your dilemma for auditioning into music school, however, is to stage your own mock audition.
When you do this, you gain critical experience necessary for auditioning for music school.
There are many ways you can go about doing this; however, this is my best suggestion:
First, find a qualified music college faculty member who is not currently your private teacher. It is best if you do not know this person personally, since he or she will not have bias towards or against you.
Then, have someone you trust who is knowledgeable about music to take notes on your audition.
Next, perform the entire audition as if you were actually at the real audition. This includes everything from walking in and smiling to playing your excerpts to exiting the room with confidence.
Finally, have your auditioner critique your work and work with you to improve every single part of your audition. Have your notetaker take careful notes of the teacher’s instructions as well, and be sure to carefully review them after your audition.
You will be amazed at how much more confident you will feel for your actual audition after doing this one simple thing.
Its basically like seeing the answers to all of your quiz questions the night before an exam…
Except its not cheating.
My most successful secret is on the next page…
1. Take Trial Lessons With Teachers at Your Top Choice Schools
Music schools don’t like to publicly admit that this is can be beneficial and improve your chances for getting into music school.
But I am here to tell you that it can greatly enhance the odds in your favor for the acceptance letter and scholarship.
If you already have an established relationship with a teacher at a top school before your audition, your chances for getting accepted into that school improve dramatically.
As another old adage goes: “It’s not what you know – it’s who you know.”
Many students have already figured this out, electing to study in high school summer music programs boasting college professors as faculty.
Do you think many of those students end up studying with those same faculty professors at the college level, very often on scholarships?
I’ll let you guess, but the answer is yes.
To schedule a trial lesson with a teacher, you can almost always email a teacher yourself and ask. You may have to pay a lesson fee to work with that teacher, but it is completely worth it, even if you don’t get ultimately accepted to that teacher’s particular program.
Also, taking a trial lesson is a good idea for you because it gives you a sense of whether you will personally like working with a particular teacher or not.
So there you have it, my three best tips for mastering the challenging audition into music school.
Of course, I am not downgrading the importance of practicing for your audition.
Make sure you begin working on your excerpts at least six months before your audition into music college – if you can, spend the summer before practicing for your entrance into music school.
Finally, make sure you use a little common sense before your audition.
Sleep well, keep your nerves to a minimum, and when you do make a mistake, make sure you recover gracefully.
If you make a mistake, the WORST thing you can do is completely stop, say “my bad,” then resume.
You should just simply go past the mistake and make up for it with excellent playing down the stretch of your excerpts.
Follow my three secrets for mastering the audition into music school, and you will see your confidence and chances for gaining the acceptance letter and scholarship rise dramatically.
Have any other ideas or “secrets” that work for you? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.