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Tips for Merit Scholar Auditions

Posted May 18th, 2017  |  By A4A.admin

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It’s the time of year when many CSMA students are preparing to audition for the Merit Scholar Program. For some students, it will be their first experience auditioning as a musician. Carrie Campbell, CSMA’s Music School Director, shares a few tips for a successful audition.

Be prepared! There is no substitute for diligent practice. Knowing your pieces backwards and forwards is the most helpful thing for an audition. If you make a mistake, you can get back on track quickly. If you are nervous, your muscle memory will carry you through. Target your practice sessions towards working through any difficulties in your music. The week before the audition, run your entire audition over and over!

Choosing Repertoire. When choosing what to play for an audition you should always consult with your teacher. It is important to choose pieces that are polished, but also show your abilities. An audition is not the place to play your most challenging piece that still needs improvement. Show off what you can do well at an audition, not what you still need to work on!

Memorization. It’s not a deal breaker, but you should take into account what is considered the standard for your instrument, and what the competition is like. Some standard rules are:

  • Pianists and Vocalists generally memorize everything. If you play piano or sing,  not memorizing your pieces can set you behind the pack in terms of being awarded a scholarship.
  • Instrumentalists generally do not memorize unless it’s a concerto. String players are more likely to memorize than winds/brass/percussion. In this case, memorization is not necessary, but it can add a “wow” factor to your audition.

    Presentation. Dress to show your best self! While your outfit doesn’t officially have any bearing on the outcome of your audition, sloppy dress gives the impression that you do not take things seriously. Don’t wear a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers to an audition. At minimum, the following dress code should be observed:

  • Boys/Men: Wear dress slacks, a polo shirt or button down, dress shoes and socks.
  • Girls/Women: Wear dress slacks with a blouse or a dress that you might wear to church or a recital. Wear dress shoes, but don’t wear heels unless you are comfortable performing in them!

    Be Confident! Every student taking the audition should already feel confident in themselves. The first honor in this process is just to get nominated. Being nominated by your teacher already means they think highly of your talent and commitment to music! Take that confidence with you into the audition!

    Good Luck and happy practicing!!!


    Tags: music-school