How to Ace your Music School Audition

JMJ 48  *The show must go on!  At the audition itself, advise your child not to freeze up if she makes an error.  As they say, when performing, pretend like you meant it!  People rarely play a piece perfectly while auditioning.  The judges also want to see how she will recover from a momentary lapse.

Ring the School Bell 48/180 days

After a rather productive day, I put on my “personal secretary hat” and spent 3 hours in the evening, coordinating piano audition dates for the different universities Sabrina is applying to, as well as posting the deadlines for submitting applications to my calendar. It is all so complicated, as each school has different requirements.  There is definite pressure here, not to mess up.

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Sabrina’s Senior Year Recital at the Steinway Gallery

 Checklist for “acing” the music school audition:

  1. Look up the requirements for the music schools early, the year before is ideal.  We didn’t realize this, and waited until the fall of Sabrina’s senior year to find out the details.  Big oops!
  2. An adapted version of the old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?– Practice, practice, practice!” made popular by Jack Benny, but the source attributed to other sources, is applicable here.  How do you get to music school?– Practice, practice, practice!  Allow your child to let other things go for a little bit as he prepares for his  big audition.  If he is homeschooled, he is at a great advantage, since he probably has a bit more flexibility with his schedule.
  3. Use everyone that shows up at the door as a practice audience.  It is the only way for your child to get comfortable with performing in front of others.
  4. The show must go on!  At the audition itself, advise your child not to freeze up if she makes an error.  As they say, when performing, pretend like you meant it!  People rarely play a piece perfectly while auditioning.  The judges also want to see how she will recover from a momentary lapse.  If she freezes up while playing a piece, just advise her to go on to the next part.  In other word, play to the best of her ability.
  5. Consider hosting a senior year recital for your high school senior, in your home or at a venue. This will give them excellent practice in front of an audience, in this case friends and family, and also give great joy to those who are in attendance.  Sabrina invited two of her former teachers to the recital, and honored them with flowers.

How did Sabrina score in relation to the checklist above?

She aced some auditions, and not others.  Two, I feel she lost out on because we learned the requirements much too late, and she simply did not have time to perfect the pieces.  Those two schools also required video and audio recordings for the preliminary round of auditions, and our technology skills to do this were seriously lacking.  And it was too late to ask for help.  (It was Thanksgiving weekend, and I didn’t dare want to mess up this holiday weekend for anyone!)

Also, there was the challenge of memorizing pieces.  If we had known Sabrina would have to memorize a 20-page Sonata for one of her auditions, she would have practiced all summer.  I am embarrassed at this failing on our part.  She had only 8 weeks to prepare the memorized work.  Our house was resonating with classical piano around the clock that semester!  But you know, she did her best, and was actually admitted to that school’s waiting list, despite a less-than-stellar performance.

Sabrina did practice, practice, practice, and it paid off eventually, with 3 schools accepting her into their programs, and 1 admission to a waitlist.

Here is another very practical guide on how to prepare for a music school audition (there is some overlapping with my ideas):

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-prepare-for-your-music-school-audition-2460448

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is an excerpt of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette

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Sarah

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