Auditions are rolling and with that I have a couple tips for people with auditions coming up.
The first tip is to actually prepare your audition materials with a horn teacher. That you are reading this says you are pretty motivated to get somewhere on the horn. It is important for every potential music student to play your materials for a competent teacher of the instrument you play. Because surprisingly often we hear applicants come in and audition having never had any private lessons. Some have some talent but it makes us wonder about their mentors in particular, especially their band directors if they are in high school, as they should know that there are things a competent private teacher can help a student accomplish in a few months of lessons that will make all the difference between being playing at a level that can get them in a fine school and the level that won’t. Even one lesson can help a lot, something to keep in mind if you are auditioning for an advanced degree as well–you really might consider playing your materials for another teacher, especially if you have been out of school a while. Get this word out to anyone you know who is planning to apply for advanced music study.
The other item to note is to not be overly familiar with the faculty you meet at the audition. It is in particular rather jarring to have an incoming student greet us by our first names when they meet us, which actually happens on almost every audition day, often multiple times. Again, I wonder where the breakdown is, if mentors failed the applicants or if they are just that out of sync with the situation. “Professor [insert last name]” is always safe and if you know they have a Doctorate call them Dr. [insert last name]. Figuring this all out is part of your research on the school and program.
In both of the examples above the big picture is don’t make a bad first impression, and in the terminology of today to come in having had no lessons and to address us by our first names is epic fail.