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How To Choose The Best Piece For Your Music School Audition

Preparing for a music school audition can make most students pretty anxious. You want to show off your abilities, but stress, nerves, and deciding which piece of music to play often adds incredible pressures. Plus, it can be difficult to know how to choose the music you’ll play. Depending on the type of music school audition you’ll be performing, there’s not always a lot of guidelines to help. However, knowing that you’ve chosen the absolute best piece of music to showcase your talents can alleviate some of that tense apprehension. Confidence is a wonderful inoculation against the sickness of failure.

So, if you’ve been struggling over the music you should play at your audition, these tips can help you narrow down your choice to a piece that will offer you the best odds of success.

Know Your Audience

Many students focus only on the music they’re going to play without considering their audience. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when choosing the piece you’ll play. Regardless of how perfect your performance, if you pick something that has bad associations for any members of the approval board, you can end up behind some other applicant who happened to choose something the judges loved.

Do a little research. Does the audition board have a website? Are there music school teacher profiles? Have any of the judges written articles about music? Are there certain styles of music that the school is known for turning out musicians in that genre? By doing a little internet research, you can learn a lot about the approval committee in charge of your music school audition, and then tailor your music choice to their personal tastes.

Know Your Music

This is another key aspect to consider when choosing the perfect piece to play at your music school audition. You must be able to play the piece (or section) of music with great execution, of course, but also with feeling. One of the most important parts of a music performance is the ability to convey unspoken emotion through the sounds you make. Your listeners must be transported with you as you play, to another space and time, and to do that you have to be able to let your personal impressions come through. Consider these questions when making your choice:

  • Is this a piece of music that you love to play?
  • Can you execute the piece with precision?
  • Does the music cause you to forget about everything else while you’re playing?
  • Is this a piece that you wish everyone knew?
  • Do you wish you could share your love of the song with everyone you know?

The answers to these type of questions will help guide you when you’re choosing the music for your audition. If you have an emotional response to a certain piece, that feeling will come through when you play, and it will add a dimension to your performance that can compare with nothing else.

In addition, you must make sure to practice sufficiently before the audition. No matter how much you love the song, if you aren’t able to execute it, that emotion won’t show through. So make sure that you choose a piece that you can easily master.

Follow the School’s Guidelines

Most music school auditions allow you to choose one personal piece to play along with a required piece. However, if your audition has pre-arranged guidelines concerning the music that you can choose from, you need to make your selection among those titles. Playing a piece that isn’t allowed is the surest way to fail.

If there’s a list to choose from, you should follow the same suggestions listed above. Choose a piece that has some personal connection to you. That way it will be easier to practice and you’ll have a vested interest in the performance in addition to the natural desire to be accepted into the school.

Get Some Advice

Don’t underestimate the benefits you can glean from the insights of others around you. Your music instructor, parents, and friends will all have opinions about which piece you play best. Narrow down your selection to two or three pieces, then don’t be afraid to ask them for their impressions. Play the choices for them, then wait for their opinions. Often they’ll notice something that you’ve overlooked, or can offer an effective outside view.

Choosing the piece to play for your music school audition shouldn’t add to the natural stress you already feel about the performance. Take your time and pick music that is comfortable for you to play and that evokes an emotional response from you. By choosing a piece that you love, you’ll feel more confident about the entire audition.

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