Calling all grads of Juilliard, Oberlin and other major Conservatories.

Edited: October 2, 2018, 9:35 AM · I'm preparing for undergraduate auditions for the following schools soon. From people who've taken auditions at these schools or similar, what can I expect? Is it typical to play through all my audition rep? How long do they last normally?

Bard
McGill
Royal College of Music
Mannes School
Manhattan Conservatory
Boston Conservatory
Peabody Conservatory
Juilliard
Oberlin Conservatory
CIM
Cincinnati Conservatory
IU School of Music
Colburn
San Francisco Conservatory

Replies (8)

October 2, 2018, 11:31 AM · -they usually last about 10 minutes
-you won't play everything
-they'll pick the bits you were secretly hoping not to play


I would suggest refining that list a bit, that's a huge number of schools and a huge range in quality and competitiveness

October 2, 2018, 11:39 AM · I'd bet there's no "normal." It will depend on many things:
-how many applicants that day and whether they are on schedule
-What your competition sounds like (if you're not competitive you're more likely to get cut short)
-Whether some of the teachers are having difficulty filling their studio.

Don't forget many will require recorded auditions/pre-auditions.
If you're applying to the more competitive places on the list, but hope you don't have to play some of the repertoire, perhaps that should tell you something up front...

I've played orchestra auditions where the instructions were to learn a certain symphony or concerto, but no specifics. So going into that kind of situation, you have to ask yourself: "Do I really want this gig? Am I willing to risk not being prepared?"

October 2, 2018, 3:39 PM · I agree with Irene; that is a *lot* of schools. And the really top schools (Curtis, Colburn, Juilliard) have huge lists which you absolutely must be 100% prepared to play, along with prescreens.

I think you and your teacher need to have a frank discussion about what is realistic for you--plan to take three to five auditions at that level--what is a reach school--plan one--and what is your safety school--plan at least one.

October 2, 2018, 5:02 PM · Woah, hope you're not auditioning at all those schools...

One really should have around 5 max, 1 or 2 that you know you feel pretty good about, and the rest have some kind of contact with teachers you want to study there.

The worse case scenario is walking in, not knowing which teachers you want to study with, and not knowing anyone. You can still get accepted and get a lot of scholarship, and many people do, and most of the audition process comes down to your playing, but like Sun Tzu says in the Art of War, those who go into battle not knowing the terrain will be in grave peril...

Also the audition length and what you play would vary depending on live or taped audition...you might want to be more specific about which schools you will actually audition at and then come back for advice.

October 2, 2018, 5:33 PM · Forget about the school. That is nowhere near as important as determining *who* are you planning to study with!

Unlike majoring in engineering or social sciences, majoring in music puts you into a four-year relationship with a single mentor that will have a massive influence on the course of your career to come. It has gotten to the point where one almost does not audition to a school without already having established some kind of relationship with the instructor you want to study with, whether it is as limited as having played for them in a masterclass or through a trial lesson at a school visit, or as invested as having been with them for several summers at a music festival.

Your current private teacher should be able to help facilitate some of this contact, but it is rare that a top teacher at a major school would accept a student completely out-of-the-blue with no prior contact and only a 10 minute audition to know about their playing. Four years is a major investment to make in a person, and they're looking at a good personality match and potential for long-term growth as well as technical and musical ability.

October 5, 2018, 11:53 PM · I'm preparing for undergrad auditions too, and that's way too many schools (for me, at least) to handle.
First of all, there's the $50-$100 application fee for each, and since it sounds like you're intending on live auditions, it'll be massively expensive and time-consuming to fly cross-country through audition season.

After I (and my teacher) realized the current state of my playing, I cut out Juilliard, Colburn, and Eastman. I'm only going to audition for Oberlin, Mannes, and possibly Peabody, with two non-conservatory 'match' schools academically and my state school's honors program for a safety.

Chat with your teacher about where you are in terms of musical progress- they'll be able to help judge where you are to a much better degree than we can :)

October 6, 2018, 12:52 AM · And- Some of the public universities have very good music departments; in-state tuition is a lot less. U.Indiana might be the most famous one. In my state, Cal., I would recommend CSU Long Beach, Northridge.
October 6, 2018, 6:41 AM · If you mean the RCM in London, you may as well try for the Royal Academy of Music as well - two birds with one stone.

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