How to survive the music major audition process


Audrey Cascarelli, Online Editor-in-Chief

The college application process can seem daunting; countless essays, resumes, and letters of recommendation make for a lengthy task. For hopeful fine arts majors, there is often little guidance on what to do.

If you’re a future music major looking for help on your college auditions, then look no further; here is your crash-course on every important thing you need to know about applying for college as a music major.

I just finished up all of my auditions for music school. Now that I’m done, I know a lot more about the process than I did before I started. Below are some of the major overall tips I think are the most important.

Start early. And by that I mean know the pieces you are going to play well in advance, before your senior year even begins. Decide which schools you want to audition for and find out their audition requirements. Write down every scale, exercise, etude, excerpt, and piece you need to learn for your auditions. Many schools require similar materials, but there’s always the odd school that needs something entirely different.

Practice. Give yourself one day a week to take a break, and practice every day besides that. And no, ensemble rehearsals don’t count. Make sure you’re putting in the individual time on your audition materials.

Check out application requirements. Most universities have a separate music application that you have to fill out after the main application. It’s important to know what you need for that. Some things these second applications might require are a list of solo/ensemble pieces you’ve played, letters of recommendation from directors and private lesson teachers, music resumes, and essays.

The audition process can be grueling. I was out of town every weekend in February and the first weekend of March auditioning across the state. For students who want to go out of state, these travel requirements can be even more extensive. Make sure to plan well in advance how you will travel and where you will stay. Chances are, you aren’t the only prospective student auditioning that weekend, so hotel booking can be a challenge late in the game. Book early.

Use your travel time to do school work. Losing weekends to auditions is a big loss, especially for students in multiple AP and DC classes. It’s extremely important to use the little free time you have to complete any homework.

Relax after your audition; you’ve earned it. Don’t get caught up in the “what-ifs” of auditions; once you’ve finished playing, it’s out of your hands. It helps no one to dwell on what went wrong. Take what you learned from your performance and use it to improve future ones.

Most importantly, take time for yourself. Leave some time during the week to watch a TV show or play a game. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress of it all the forget to take care of your mental health. I promise you that you will perform much better if you’ve taken care of yourself.

The application and audition process is a long task with many hurdles to cross, but in the end, your hard work will all be worth it. Just remember to push through and stay positive, even when things seem impossible. Good luck.