Applying to Juilliard
Applying for college is a daunting task. Sending applications is a stressful process in and of itself. When you add pre-screening, auditions, callbacks, and an eternity of waiting to top it all off, it can be overwhelming. By now, you’re being asked, “Where are you applying to college?” and “What do you want to do with that degree?” about three times a day. And while your friends are already accepted and committed to college, you still have to wait until the spring to even hear back from the schools you applied to. We get it, and we’re here for you! I’m writing this blog to let you know that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel! We’ve all been there, and we’re here for you!
I had a stressful, but largely positive experience applying for colleges. When it comes to finishing big tasks, I always find myself resting between ‘timely’ and ‘putting it off to the last minute’ (‘politely pressed for time' is a good way to put it). Most of my stresses in the application process were self-inflicted and could have been avoided completely had I listened to my parents, my teachers, my school counselors, every admissions officer in America, my conscience, etc. Take the advice people have to offer you. It may seem lame, but it never hurts to get advice from people who have actually applied for college in their lives (crazy, right?).
When applying to schools, Juilliard was really the oddball school for me. The schools I applied to were mostly traditional universities with large campuses and a population ranging between 6,000 and 48,000 students. The school I chose was the complete opposite: 850 students in one main building in the midst of the greatest city in the world. Being well-rounded is incredibly important to me, so I was intimidated by the thought of going to a music conservatory for a long time. Juilliard, to my delight, is actually quite diverse and allows for a variety of classes and extra-curricular activities to foster your other interests at Juilliard and Columbia University. I am completely happy with my choice to come here as I have expressed in every other blog I’ve ever posted!
I have three major pieces of advice for prospective students (particularly singers). I, of course, have no inside knowledge about how the admissions process works, so please take my advice with a grain of salt. These are things that I have noticed that might help you achieve some success while auditioning at Juilliard.
1. Practice, perform, receive feedback, repeat. That is an important process when it comes to auditioning. In terms of repertoire, it is important to sing something that is comfortable in your voice. Practice your pieces and perform it as much as you can (to the point where you’re almost sick of them). Keep in mind that audition season is crazy, you might have to perform these pieces while battling nerves, sickness, and a grizzly bear gnawing at your foot. My advice is to sing something that you could sing in your sleep. I performed my audition songs so much, that by the time I had to sing it for the Juilliard faculty, I didn’t have to worry about forgetting the words or running out of breath. I was confident in my ability to give them the best performance I could.
2. In my opinion, I would not stress yourself out by singing the most challenging repertoire you know. While a very challenging song can really showcase your voice, it is important to note that challenging music and good singing don’t always go hand in hand (again, my opinion). Sing the thing you are best at. If it happens to be the hardest things you know, great! If not, that’s okay too! Performing a killer rendition of an age-appropriate song is better than performing something that might be temporarily out of your skill set. Remember, you’re only 17 or 18 years old, you’re not expected to Renee Fleming yet!
3. BE YOURSELF!
This is the most important of all! Juilliard places such an important emphasis on producing good musicians who are good people. When you are auditioning, show the panel all the personality you can! The Juilliard voice faculty is a very approachable group of people so there is no need to act like a robot in front of them. They want you to do as well as you want yourself to do well! Smile, speak from the heart, and do your best. Don’t worry about being better than the person before you, worry about being better than you were yesterday.
You’ve got this, prospective class of 2021 student! Keep on practicing, and take comfort in the fact that auditions will be a distant memory in just 5 short months!