Its the end of January! And for many aspiring music professionals, this signals the end of the first month of college auditions.
I know a few of my students have been going through the process lately and honestly, its my favourite time of the year. As part of my work, I spend time helping students prepare for their college auditions - and I LOVE it. Not just a little bit, but a WHOLE LOT.
I love the process of helping students get organized, excited, a little neurotic, and totally obsessed about their futures, and then to see all of their hard work pay off? Its SO cool!
I've had some pretty great experiences with my students over the years, and we've all worked together to come up with some strategies to help them stand out in the crowd during their auditions.
A lot of it comes down to some basic concepts of going above and beyond the minimum expectation for auditions, knowing your music so well that you can answer loads of questions about the pieces you're playing, and a couple of other little things, but its really interesting to hear about how well received these extra things are.
Now, I'm not saying you need to find out your future teacher's favorite type of candy and bring it to them in your audition, (although, i'm sure a few of my Professor friends wouldn't be upset by this...), what I'm saying is to ask yourself "How can I stand out?"
I was reading an article today about a number of students who received rejection letters from Harvard Business School. All of these students are INCREDIBLE people - massive GPA's, excellent GMAT scores, internship experiences with fortune 500 companies, someone of them were even CEO's of their own start-up businesses, but still, they didn't get in. Of course there are 10's of reasons why they may not have made the cut, (only 10's, not 100's - these people are amazing), but that doesn't mean they weren't impressive enough.
The feedback they received was that they didn't sell themselves well enough to the selection committee.
They hadn't made a big enough impact to be remembered, and therefore, accepted.
Again, I'm not saying you need to be that one person who comes in showering gifts on the Professor, and I am certainly not saying you should aim to be known for playing your audition in basketball shorts (you want to be known for good reasons after-all).
But perhaps before your next audition, have a think about how you can stand out - how you can showcase your talents, your determination and your personality through your audition.
What special or unique talents do you have that can bring something new to the audition room? Are you an amazing dressmaker? Why not wear one of your creations? Are you outstanding at poster design? Why not make a poster about yourself or your audition to hand to the professor?
I mean, there are COUNTLESS ways you can show yourself as an exciting prospect beyond your fabulous musicianship, and with the standard of performance currently in our colleges and universities, sometimes that extra something can help you to be remembered after you've left the room!
Afterall, everyone plays well in auditions - how can you make it impossible for your selection committees to say no to you?