On Prescreening Auditions

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One recent trend in schools of music is that of requiring prescreening auditions. In my own teaching this year the exact requirement is “In order to be considered for a live, in-person audition, applicants for all doctoral performance concentrations at ASU must submit a prescreening recording by October 1 for spring admission and December 1 for fall admission.” As this deadline is common this year for many programs and just around the corner, a few quick notes on prescreening auditions are in order.

For me personally this is a first, but they have been used in other programs for years at ASU and elsewhere. From what I hear from other faculty that have used these before there are a number of advantages to prescreening, but ultimately the process serves talented applicants well and saves everyone time and money.

For example let’s say an applicant wants to pursue a music degree but is far below the performance standards required for admission. This applicant will be weeded out in the prescreening process and early enough that they will have a bit more time to consider other options. But let’s also say the prescreening audition is outstanding. That will leave us even more interested in your live audition than we might have been, and the process of making that outstanding audition is a valuable learning process in itself.

The DMA prescreening requirements for brass at Arizona State are relatively simple:

Doctoral Prescreening Requirements
Please upload separate recordings of your performances of:
1. Two solo works or movements of contrasting style.
2. Three standard excerpts.

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Submissions may be in video or audio format, and for my purposes an audio recording is fine. As to what to record, I have seen other schools with very specific prescreening horn requirements, but I would say for my purposes again almost anything is fine, it just needs to be played well.

Which gets at the final point to note: send the best possible recording. It needs to be as close to perfection as you can make it. For any recorded audition (video or audio) you have to realize that we have to assume that the track you sent is absolutely the best you can do. If you miss five notes and were badly out of time and out of tune, we have to assume that the other times you tried to record the selection were even worse! If in doubt be sure to have a teacher or mentor listen to the recording before you send it, clear feedback is really a smart thing to have sooner rather than later.

It is certainly not too late to apply to any school of music for study for the fall of 2012, but it will be very soon. As mentioned already, our deadline here is December one. ASU horn audition requirements are here. Give our program a look and good luck to all who are looking into programs for advanced horn study. And check out the links generated below for even more tips on recordings and auditions.

University of Horn Matters