My Vocal Arts Audition Story

My Vocal Arts Audition Story

There are few words to describe how scared I was about auditioning for Juilliard. I was auditioning for 7 schools at the time, and Juilliard was my penultimate audition. Each of my college auditions was an experience entirely its own, and Juilliard was no exception. I had no idea what to expect. Would everyone else auditioning be shooting me death glares? Would the audition panel stop me after 30 seconds? Was wearing a red dress a bad idea? Thankfully, all of my doubts were silenced once I got to Juilliard.

After rehearsing with my pianist the night before, I woke up on March 5th excited and anxious about the day ahead. My audition wasn’t until 2:00, so I took some time to relax and really prepare myself. My mom came to all my auditions with me, and she was much more nervous than I was! She managed to continue to be a fantastic support system and kept me encouraged the whole way through.

We got to Juilliard around 11:30 to make it to the 11:45 residence hall tour. I was relieved to see that everyone there looked just as nervous as I was. I got to see the residence hall and I started to feel like I could really live here. Of course, when we left the residence hall it started snowing, so it gave me a sense of the kind of weather I was going to end up facing!

After warming up with some soup, I left my mom (who was trying to hide the fact that she was a bundle of nerves) to go warm up for my audition. While warming up, I made sure to stop for a second and really take in the moment. Here I was, in New York, getting ready for my Juilliard audition! I decided then that whatever happened, I was so grateful to have this opportunity.

At 1:50-ish, I finally headed down to my audition room, which was a dance studio on the 3rd floor. I chatted with the other girls waiting outside with me, and then they called my name. I walked into the room and was greeted with smiling faces. I started with Non so più, then they asked to hear my second and third pieces. I actually had a bit of a memory slip in my second piece, Beau Soir, but thanks to all my practice my muscle memory took over and I managed to sing the right words anyway! I felt the whole time that they were really listening to me sing instead of having their faces buried in their notes. I could tell they wanted me to do well and that they weren’t just looking for me to mess up. Once I finished my pieces, I thanked the panel and my pianist and walked back out. Then I had another TWO HOURS until the callback list was posted! I could feel the nervous energy in the lobby, so my mom and I decided to pass the time with some shopping at Century 21.

When we came back it was about another 30 minutes until the callback list was posted. When they taped it up, I started scanning through the names, and BAM, there I was, the final name on the list! I didn’t want to outwardly celebrate because I knew there were a lot of people whose names weren’t there, so I just gave my mom a subtle thumbs-up as I turned the corner :-)

When my callback time finally came around at 7:40, I was less nervous, but much more uncertain about what was going to happen. I knew how auditions worked, but what was I supposed to do in the callback? I went into the room and met two coaches, Mary Birnbaum and Adam Nielsen, and Brian Zeger, the Artistic Director of Vocal Arts. They asked if we could work on Beau Soir, and they asked me to try different things acting-wise and stylistically. It was a very comfortable setup, and it was a lovely, low-stress experience.

After that, I returned home and waited until March 30th to receive my acceptance!

The Juilliard audition experience was very unique, but the whole time I felt welcomed and encouraged, and I’ve continued to feel the same way throughout my time here!

Shelby Juilliard.jpg

Best of luck, break a leg, and toi toi toi to everyone auditioning!

-Shelby

What to Do on Your Audition Day

What to Do on Your Audition Day

My Audition Story

My Audition Story