Top 10 Dos and Don’ts of Music Auditions @ York

Written By: Daniel Pasoff

With audition season coming up, you are most likely stressing about preparing for your auditions and about what to expect on the day of. I know that you are going to be stressed no matter what anyone says, but following these tips should help ease that stress and make your audition day run smoothly.

10) DO: Prepare all your logistics in advance

Audition day can be a stressful one, and you don’t want to add to that stress by being  unprepared logistic-wise. Make sure to check out York in advance, whether that is through familiarizing yourself with a campus map, booking a tour, or even coming to campus the day before your audition to figure out your route. The biggest thing, though, is to check how to get to the campus and to the music building before the day of your audition so you’re not scrambling to do it last minute.Image result for where to go gif

9) DO: Come early

Early is on time, on time is late, and late is very late. Give yourself enough time to know that you aren’t going to be rushed. Make sure you have enough time to get to York, check in, and warm up before your audition time.Image result for on time gif

8) DO: Dress properly

You aren’t on stage performing in front of a full audience, so you don’t want to be too formal. However, you are still in a room with a university professor, so you want to be presentable. I would recommend semi-formal attire as a happy medium; something that is fancy enough to be taken seriously, but not too fancy that you will look out of place.Image result for dress up gif

7) DO: Look at the mock theory test

The York Music Department offers a mock theory test on their website that will look very similar to the one you see on the day of your audition. For example, you will be asked to write scales and identify intervals on both the mock theory test and your test at the audition. The only difference will be which scales and intervals you are asked to write and identify.  If you practice with this mock test, you’ll be sure to feel more confident when it’s time to do the real thing.Image result for test gif

6) DON’T: Over practice

I know this sounds weird. Your first instinct is to practice as much as you can to make sure you are ready. However, practicing too much can cause you a lot of frustration if you aren’t getting a certain passage correct. Set a schedule for yourself and don’t spend an entire practice session working on just one tricky passage or piece; if you’re not getting a part, try something else and come back to the tough bit later. Not only can you get frustrated, but you can also hurt yourself from playing too much; whether you’re a woodwind or brass player hurting your lips, a singer straining your voice, or a drummer, guitarist or percussionist hurting your wrists, it can happen if you put too much stress on your body. Know your limits and work within them.Image result for music practice gif

5) DO: Meet your accompanist beforehand

It is very important to know how your music will sound on the day of the audition before the day of the audition. If you are performing with an accompanist, you don’t want to be adjusting to playing together an hour before you play for the professor. Although the accompanists are very good at what they do, it is still a lot easier on both of you if you meet with them in advance to work through any kinks.Image result for nice to meet you gif


4) DO: Give yourself enough time to warm up and take a breather

Arriving early is great, but the really important part is giving yourself enough time to warmup and then take a breath. You don’t want to warm up and then walk right into your audition without taking a second to calm down and centre yourself.

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3) DO: Ask questions

Although the audition is for the evaluator to make sure that you are a good fit for the program, it is also the time for you to make sure that the program is a good fit for you. This is one of the few opportunities that you will have to talk to a professor face to face, and one of the only times that it will be in an intimate setting, rather than something busy like the university fair or Fall Campus Day.Image result for question gif

2) DON’T: stress too much

There’s no doubt about it: auditions are stressful. But the students who are there to help out and the professors who are evaluating are very nice people and not as scary as you think. They want you as much as you want them, and you just need to take a deep breath and play to the best of your abilities. Remember that one mistake will not make or break your audition, and one of the biggest skills a musician has is to keep playing through a mistake. Sometimes the evaluator will stop you mid piece, but IT IS NOT BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T DO WELL!!! If they stop you, it is because they have heard everything they need to hear from that piece and they are under a time constraint. There are a lot of students auditioning, and there isn’t always enough time to hear every bar of music that any one student has prepared, so don’t let getting stopped phase you.Image result for stress gif

1) DO: Sell yourself

The only person in the audition room who knows how amazing you are is you. Make sure to mention everything that you think will impress the evaluator. Don’t expect them to pull the information out of you. You need to speak up and market yourself to the best of your ability.  You’re great, and they should know that, too!Image result for confident gif

If you have more questions about the music auditions, feel free to contact or check out some FAQs on the Music department’s website here.