Music School Entry And, What It Takes

To pick up where we left off about advice on getting into a college or school of music, first, you must be able to play an assortment of classical musical pieces. preferably, baroque, Rennassiance, and some of the major composers that have written for your instrument. Secondly, if your audition is by CD or tape, you must make a VERY GOOD demo. This should be done at a local recording studio that can edit with pro tools any mistakes etc. The pieces if they  are not required by the music school in general, should demonstrate proficiency on the highs and lows of the instrument, as well as passages, slurring , tonguing, vibrato , whatever your instrument displays. This in turn will give the jury at the school a great idea of what you can do. The more accomplished of course the better. In addition, you should apply to a school where the major will be challenging and NOT too easy. Many students I have known have picked a school where they were big fish in a so called small pond. You want to have a program that will challenge your abilities and talents.                                                                                                                               In today’s market, you will be challenged by the worlds talent, not just in your own country but many students abroad are clamoring to come to US Colleges. You will be in competition with the world today so your audition and entrance packet must be of the highest quality. In school auditions are different. There, you will be also judged on your physical ability on the instrument as well as the performance capacity. Looking professional is of the utmost importance as well as handling the interview part of the live audition. So, good material, good poise, confidence as well as picking the best pieces for your instrument that demonstrate mastery.                                                                              I have known students entering college with outstanding grades and honors subjects who were rejected. Why would this be so? There, I have found that colleges are looking for the WELL ROUNDED STUDENT. That is, one who not only performs well on their instrument, has great grades and honors type courses, but also has  that extra. Like being part of organizations, musical groups, publications, etc. You will want a totally VERY well rounded display on your application/ audition package. If its a taped audition, make sure you send it in a well designed packet to look as professional as possible, remember, you are competing with the world for your entrance, so, you will want that visual professional edge. Thus then, this would be the ticket for your success or lack of for your entrance. If you are performing required pieces,(most schools today let you pick your own genre within the classical genre) ten you must pay particular attention to the fingerings and interpretation on the score. This can and must be achieved by constant listening of the entitled piece by several accomplished recording artists. Try to listen to their phrasing, interpretation, etc to develop your own performance plan.                                Another idea is to choose a music school that will enhance what your major instrument is. Don’t choose schools because of a name or, because your friends go there, rather choose one that has the BEST reputation for what your trying to do.For instance, if your interested in classical guitar, why not try Pepperdine University where famed guitarist and virtuoso Christopher Parkening teaches. Try to choose a school that has performance, conducting, orchestration, arranging, and possibly film scoring and possibly music therapy a very huge major in today’s world.                                                          In conclusion, I could certainly go on and on but I would think by my ideas, that you will get the idea of how to approach a music school audition. One word,going to a music department is very good. Don’t fret about not getting into a bona- fide music school like Oberlin or Julliard. If you choose the right school, you will get the right credentials and education.Many graduates of the great music schools end up as teachers etc, so don’t let it bother you if you end up with a department of music at a University and or college. You will find that given the right school, you will do fine.                                                              It is my hope that this blog will help you to obtain your college musical goals and, more importantly, to enable you to find the school where you will find enjoyment, success and above all, learn the tools of the craft. With some insight and good direction, you will find your rainbow! My best! John.                                                                                                               Tomorrow, we will discuss how to get a music scholarship and where to find them.


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