Pre-Screening Like a Pro
Shoutout to all of you who are currently preparing for your pre-screenings! For those of you who don’t know, a pre-screening is a bit like a pre-audition, so the teachers at the school you are applying to can determine whether you are at the level to be considered for a live audition. For some instruments and schools, so many people apply that it would be impossible for everyone to audition live, so pre-screenings help to narrow it down.
Here are five tips on how to prepare for, record, and submit your pre-screening audition with minimal suffering:
1. Check the requirements for EVERY school.
Some schools require pre-screenings, and some don’t. Since I’m a flute player, and there are about ten billion other flute players my age, every one of my schools required me to submit a pre-screening audition. Some of my other friends who played bassoon or trumpet were not required to submit pre-screenings to all of their schools. The application portion of every school website specifies whether you have to send in a pre-screening or not. Be sure to make note of the deadline, the repertoire required, and whether or not an accompanist is required. If you don’t follow the requirements, your pre-screening could be
2. Keep track of your requirements.
Make sure you have all of your information organized in some way--spreadsheets or Word documents are good, but something like a Google Doc is great because you can access it anyway. I kept a notebook with me, and I wrote down the specific requirements of each school, the deadlines, and just about every bit of information I could.
3. Pick your repertoire.
A lot of my schools had similar repertoire requirements, so I tried to pick pieces that fit as many schools’ requirements as possible. This makes practicing and recording a lot easier, since you aren’t trying to prepare a ton of different pieces for every single school as opposed to just a few.
4. (Over)prepare for disaster.
Recording sessions can be stressful--there is a huge time crunch, you want to make a perfect recording, and you are STRESSED. Don’t forget a spare SD card. And batteries. And your music. If you’re recording with a device that requires battery power, be sure to have spare batteries or an extension cord/charger on hand. For some reason, whenever I record, this magical phenomenon occurs in which any device I use, no matter how full the battery is, dies halfway through my recording. Or my SD card runs out of memory. Or my accompanist shows up late. Or I get locked out of the recording space.
5. Double-, triple-, and quadruple-check your application.
Congrats, you survived your recording session! Now comes the “easy” part: picking and uploading your best recordings. I recommend you do this a few days before the application is due in case you realize you didn’t record a piece or you’re unsatisfied with your current recordings. Make sure you upload the right recordings to the right schools before you hit submit, and enjoy your feeling of accomplishment!