If you are planning on pursuing a degree in music and plan to attend a music school after high school, there are many things that are the same. You’ll have to complete an application, take SATs, possibly provide letters of recommendation. The one thing that is different with music than with many other majors is that you’ll often have to audition. The audition can be a very important part of the application process. It showcases, not only your talent for music, but your ability to prepare for and perform your music in front of a critical audience. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for your audition.

Understand the requirements

Different schools will have different requirements related to your audition. Sometimes there are guidelines relating to the songs that you can pick, such as specific genres. Other times you’ll be playing a song that is picked for you by the school. Sometimes it’s a combination of both.

You also may be performing directly in front of the judges or you could be performing behind a screen. Finally, you should understand exactly what the school is looking for – how they will be evaluating your piece, because it could change how you practice for the audition.

Practice and preparation

Once you know what you will be performing (either something that you have selected or has been selected for you) it’s time to practice. Practicing is important, and doing so with feedback is even more important. Work with one of your current music teachers or colleague to ensure that you can perform the music as perfectly as possible.

It’s a good idea to play in front of an audience, particularly if you have not done so in a while. You will be performing the piece in front of people. Being comfortable playing or singing your piece with your music teacher or alone is one thing. Being comfortable playing it in front of others – particularly others who you know will be deeply critiquing your work – is another thing altogether. Gather your family or friends and perform for them. It can help you get over any performance jitters, and also get you practiced at recovering from any mishaps that happen during your performance.

Sight reading            

When reviewing the requirements for your audition, you might discover that you will need to perform using sight reading. Practice that skill. If you are able to pick up a piece of music you have not played or sung before and perform it reasonably well sight reading, then you’ll be best prepared for your audition.

The day before and the day of the audition

Auditions simply aren’t something you can cram for. Trust yourself that you have prepared enough and do your best to get a good night’s sleep the day before the audition. In addition, eat well. Give your brain plenty of nourishment.

On the day of the audition, double check to be sure you have everything you will need during the course of the audition packed up and ready before you go. If you can, arrive early and take a look at the location where you will be auditioning, so that you are familiar with the environment. Finally, take a deep breath and just play. Trust yourself that you will give a good audition. If you have prepared, have practiced in front of an audience and are very familiar with what you will be performing, likely your audition will go well.

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