Can you believe applications are almost due? It’s already mid-November! Of course, I’m sure all of the prospective students are very aware of that fact. One thing that people often ask about is the pre-screen and the process surrounding it.
Most schools just list what repertoire is required, and lots of applicants may not know where to go from there, or they might not be sure that they’re doing everything right. Prescreens were definitely very stressful for me (and my mom!), so here’s a few tips that might make the whole thing go a bit more smoothly:
1. Get them done early!!
It will be much more stressful if you wait until the week of to do your pre-screens. Leave a good amount of time between when you record and when you submit in case you want to re-record.
2. Find the right space. Voices can sound very different depending on where you choose to record. Lots of carpet can soak up your sound, and too much echo can make it sound muddy when recorded. Churches are usually a great place because of the amount of reverb and the overall acoustics, and they’re typically inexpensive. You don’t have to go to a recording studio (I sure didn’t), but make sure the recording is true to your sound.
3. Take your time!
No need to rush!! Do as many re-takes as you need to feel comfortable, and take breaks in between pieces to recharge/get some water/sit down. Trying to get it all done in a set amount of time will just make you frazzled and you won’t showcase your best self. Pick a day when you have lots of time, do as many takes as you need, and feel confident about the takes you do! That said, don’t stop every time you make a tiny mistake. You’re working with a developing human voice, and no take is going to be perfect. If you stop every time you make the slightest mistake, you’ll be recording all day.
4. Choose pieces you know very, very well.
I always say “choose songs you could sing in your sleep.” You don’t have to choose the most technically challenging song, or the one with the fancy coloratura, or the one with the crazy high notes. They just want to hear your voice! If you do those things really well, more power to you, but don’t feel like that’s the only thing they’re looking for. They want to see who you are as a singer, and if you only choose pieces from the 24 Italian Songs & Arias anthology, that is perfectly fine. Also, double check to make sure your pieces fit within the repertoire requirements.
5. Enjoy singing!
This is a time to show off your talents and what makes you unique as a singer. So take a deep breath, relax, and sing your heart out!
Toi, toi toi!