College Audition Repertoire/What Colleges should I audition for?
Hello, some of you guys have seen similar posts from me asking about college audition repertoire before, however the Universities I was thinking of applying to were quite unrealistic and definitely out of my league.
Today, I'm asking what colleges do you think would be most beneficial for someone like me to audition for a placement in their Music Performance Degree Program. I live in Texas, but I would prefer out of state school suggestions over in state ones, due to personal circumstances.
As for Audition Repertoire, I'm open to all suggestions that you guys have, and if you could explain why you're suggesting the pieces that you suggest, I would be very grateful for that.
Some information about me so you have an idea about what level of Universities and Pieces to suggest for me:
I'm about to start my Junior Year in High School, and I've been playing violin since the beginning of 7th Grade.
I've been self taught for the majority of the time I've been playing violin, except for the last couple months I finally started taking lessons (largely in part to the urging of some of the people on here).
Since I've started playing Violin, I worked my way through the first 6 Suzuki Books during my first 2.5 years or so of playing, I played The Allemande from Bach Partita 2, the Preludio from Bach Partita 3, the Gigue from Bach Partita 3, Mozart 3, Mozart 4, the Bach A Minor Violin Concerto (1st and 2nd Movements), I've played a couple Kreutzer and Fiorillo Etudes (I'm currently working on Kreutzer 31 and Fiorillo 32), and a couple of the easier Kreisler Pieces.
Now that I finally have a teacher, we've been working intensively on fixing my technical issues due to me being self taught, but he doesn't have much experience getting students into Music Major programs at Universities since he's a relatively new violin teacher, hence the reason I've come here for advice.
On a couple of the University websites where audition repertoire is listed, it'll say something like the following:
1. A Rode, Kreutzer, or Dont Etude (or an etude of similar difficulty)
2. One movement from a Standard Violin Concerto (Such as the Bruch, Mendelssohn, or a Mozart Concerto)
3. Two contrasting Movements of Unaccompanied Solo Bach
4. A movement from a sonata (Composed by Bach, Handel, or Mozart)
5. A showpiece of your choice (this one is less common but I've seen it a couple times)
However, sometimes it says "A minimum of two of the above selections are to be performed for your audition."
Is it preferred that we only perform two? Should I prepare 3 pieces? Do the movements of Solo Bach count as one piece or two?
Thank you for your help regarding my possible auditions, I hope you all have a nice Day/Night!
If you are mostly self taught its may be hard for people here to know how to respond. How about recording something on utube and sharing the link here?
For the vast majority of schools, you need to prepare everything on the list they give you. Using your above example, that means preparing 5 pieces/etudes (and a total of 6 movements). They may only ask you for 2 of the 5 pieces, but you need to be prepared to play all.
And, of course, a good/honest teacher will also have a few things to say.
I may be off-base with my suggestion, but have you looked into your state's community colleges. It might be a good way to further prepare for the bigger leagues.
What are your long term goals?
One problem that we have here is that we don't know how WELL you play any of the stuff you listed. If you play it all impeccably, which I strongly doubt, then you have a shot at the music program of a larger state university, but I have no idea which among them are good (except for those that are REALLY good like Indiana or Northwestern or Michigan or Wisconsin, and you're not going there).
Just a quick note that Northwestern is a private university, not a state school, and is commensurately expensive. It is also a very good music school and I agree that it is likely out of the reach of the OP.
It would be really helpful to know what your long-term goals are, as Rebecca asked, and also to hear a recording (preferably a video so we can also see what your technique is like). Without that information, trying to give you specific advice is very much like trying to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar without being permitted to examine it closely.
To remind people of some prior context, here is the previous thread:
Thanks to Lydia for the link to the previous thread which I had forgotten about. I am going to copy and paste part of my post from that thread here as it seems relevant. I understand that the OP has negative feelings about Texas – heck, so do I, and I’ve lived in Texas since 1988. But Texas is a big state, university towns tend to be bubbles, and I still think that applying to UNT in Denton as a BA music major with the plan of practicing intensively and re-auditioning a year or two down the road for the performance program is one of the OP’s best options. As I mentioned in the other thread, I know a student whose SAT scores were solid but not spectacular and they were offered a very large academic scholarship there completely separate from their audition.
The student I am referring to scored between 1300 and 1400 on the SAT and was offered the second highest academic scholarship at UNT.
Sorry, where was I… (in the garden actually)
For partitas, just pick two contrasting movements (slow and a fast). Not the chaconne, obviously!
Also, to the OP, if I remember correctly, you were looking for a decent violin because your $300 student entry level violin wasn't working out so well. Were you also able to settle on one in your budget? Preparing auditions would be much better on a decent instrument.
Had the OP phrased his goals this way: "My goal is to have a thriving teaching studio and play in a fee-for-service orchestra," would our responses have been very different?
Paul, I've been clear and singleminded about my goal being to crush my enemies, drive them before me, and so on...
The Virginia Symphony is a very good orchestra with 76 full time musicians and a 35-week season. It is a member of ICSOM, the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, which is the players’ organization of the largest professional orchestras, all the way from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the NYP at the top down to the former San Antonio Symphony. The VSO is by no means a freeway philharmonic nor is it a fee for service orchestra.
OP, all you need to do is to record something, anything. We'll be able to tell a lot. You could record just the exposition of the Mozart 4's first movement, for instance. A minute of playing is probably sufficient; it doesn't take long to form a quick impression of a player.
Buri, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and so on...so any day now I'm guaranteed satisfaction.
@Mary Ellen, sorry for misidentifying the Virginia Symphony as a freeway phil. I'm glad to be corrected and educated on the distinction between the different classifications of orchestras. I just assumed it would be in the same general category as the Richmond Symphony, which I believe could be described as "relatively competent" (the OP's language). The Roanoke Symphony Orchestra (which apparently is neither an ISCOM or a ROPA member) is our local orchestra. They always sound good to me. But I know people who have auditioned onto their sub list, and lets just say I was surprised. Personally I feel that drawing a distinction between "generally easier" and "bar significantly lower" is largely semantic, although the former does seem more tactful.
The Richmond Symphony is a good orchestra; I subbed with them once last spring. But there is a difference between an orchestra where everyone is full-time and consistently plays together, and an orchestra where a significant percentage consists of a constantly changing contingent.
All of that makes sense. I should have said "
Sorry, Paul, I edited my response before I saw yours because it seemed to me upon reflection that my tone was harsh. I agree with your summation.
Paul, it's bad commenting etiquette to edit your post to make others look silly, but as a magnanimous future business leader of America, I forgive you. You are a good man, and whatever the opposite of an enemy is (I hope they invent such a word one day), and will remain safely uncrushed.
Lydia, just a note that as of late the requirements for audition pieces seem to have gotten progressively more bizarre. You will see second-tier conservatories asking for TWO Paganini Caprices (why????), conservatories requesting a piece by an unrepresented composer but then mandating you play Bach, Paganini, and a 19th/20th C concerto (how????), and even Juilliard is now asking for a brilliant concert piece written post-1960 and prefers at least one of your pieces be by an underrepresented composer. You know how many brilliant concert pieces by post-1960 underrepresented composers there are? Not many, unless you stretch the definition of brilliant concert piece significantly.
I would suggest that the OP search out a more experienced teacher, or at the very least play for a variety of teachers and get some opinions. I’m sure teachers at some of those Texas schools would be happy to schedule one lesson to evaluate what needs to happen between now and auditions. They might also help the OP decide if they are on the right track or totally wasting their time, money, and efforts.
Christian, I edited my post because I noticed that I had misremembered the OP's chosen name. My intent was to fix a simple mistake, not to embarrass anyone. I did consider the latter possibility, but I decided that correcting the error was a higher priority. Your humor simply went over my head; sorry for being dim.
Paul, I'm just giving you a hard time in my obtuse, enigmatic way
Matthew wrote, "Gap Year? I don't know if there are any ramifications for acceptance, financial aid, etc." I hope not. They would be intrinsically prejudicial and therefore illegal. I realize the top conservatories don't generally accept thirtysomethings, but that's not what we're talking about here. They'd probably much rather have a 19-year-old student playing a sublime Tchaik than an 18-year-old at, say, the Bruch level. At a state school, any ageism in the admissions process would be grounds for a lawsuit.
"At a state school, any ageism in the admissions process would be grounds for a lawsuit."
That's why I put on my pageboy wig and apply plenty of rouge to apple my cheeks in my conservatory auditions.
Buri, yes I saw and agree, but I reckon that we're lucky to get 30 seconds of smartphone video out of modern teenagers. (I'd draw a huge distinction between the polished kids in pre-conservatory prep programs -- who are likely rapidly "on" and ready to perform, with the beginnings of polished portfolios -- and kids like the OP.)
@Lydia the compendium would be published by Hal Leonard. And it would include guitar chords.
I do agree that every player should have a thing they pull out when someone says, "So play something for me." Possibly even multiple somethings.
It's interesting to me how requirements for different instruments are so different. For cello, of the schools we are looking at, only Yale has a hard requirement for a post-1970 piece, not just BIPOC composers but also underrepresented or oppressed from around the world. They list several examples that range from unaccompanied in various styles to nearly-jazz with piano; it would be difficult to not be able to find something :), but it's so specific, you're potentially learning it just for them. Oberlin, NEC, and most others "encourage" applicants to choose a piece by underrepresented composers then list a bunch of other things that will work.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.