All I Really Need to Know I Learned in [Nursery School]

I’m borrowing the title for this blog from a book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum.Not because the topic of the book is relevant (though it is a good book), but because I’m applying to nursery schools for my daughter, who is 2 ½, and I now have an entirely different perspective on what all of our applicants and their families are going through!

The blog title should really be “All I really need to know about college applications I learned by applying to nursery schools.”I had been told that applying to nursery schools in New York City is like applying to colleges, and I definitely believe it now.You have to apply to a lot (we’re applying to six, which I’m worried is too few), they all have limited openings because classes for children have a very small student to teacher ratio, and the whole selection process seems very mysterious (you have to take your child to “playdates” at each nursery school – it’s hard to figure out what they’re evaluating in 2 ½ year olds!).

It was difficult to remember my own advice when dealing with applications for my own child.I’ve been doing conservatory admissions for over 10 years, and I really thought that nursery school applications would be a piece of cake for an admissions professional!But I, too, got overwhelmed with the paperwork, the different deadlines, different application fees, different procedures, and different tuitions for each school.Some you apply to, then visit – others, you schedule a visit first, then apply if you liked the visit.Most require a return visit with the child for a playdate (think audition) if you do submit an application.But I finally made my chart with all of the variables for each nursery school, so I could compare things side-by-side and keep on top of deadlines.I am also holding fast to my own recommendation to simply apply to all the schools that we are interested in for my daughter, and to worry about cost and other issues (such as drop-off times and whether she has to bring her own lunch) after we know where she was accepted.

I just put the final paperwork in the mail this morning, and today is our last day in the office until January 2nd (Juilliard closes completely during that time – we won’t be sending you any notifications, emails or letters until the new year!).I am looking forward to the holidays to rest, to be with my family, and to not think about nursery school applications.

My holiday wish for you is that you do the same.Don’t think about your college applications.You’ve done your part – you’ve mailed or submitted your applications online, sent recordings to wherever they’re needed, asked your recommenders for their letters – there’s not anything more to do.Soon enough, you’ll need to be getting ready for your auditions – doing another chart with all of the dates and times and repertoire requirements, planning flights and booking hotels, contacting accompanists, finding comfortable audition shoes…. Now is the time to rest, to rejuvenate, to let your mind and body clear of stress, and to remember why you love to dance, to act, to make music – because that love and passion for your art is what will carry you through these next few months.

Happy Holidays from all of us at The Juilliard School!

How to get to a Juilliard audition – practice, practice, practice!

A few weeks ago, I spent an hour in a van with Heidi Castleman, a longtime, greatly esteemed member of our viola faculty, on our way to a Juilliard event.We were talking about applicants, about audition preparation, and about the gap between information that we can provide on our website, our application, and our print materials, and the actual level of detail and advisement that is needed to prepare an audition.I had had the idea to use this blog to provide some of this to prospective students, and had intended to invite faculty, current students and alumni to give audition tips for an entry in the winter.Heidi commented that if we really wanted to give audition preparation advice, there were some things that applicants should begin work on sooner rather than later.So, I immediately invited her to write something in December as a guest blogger!She emailed me these tips below, and while I didn’t edit her writing, you’ll see some of my comments to make the tips a little less viola-centric.

Ten Recommended Audition Preparation Strategies:

1. Check the audition requirements carefully.

2. Select as audition material pieces that you love and want to share with an audience.

3. If you are unsure if your program matches the requirements, ask for clarification.

4. As you prepare your audition program, record yourself (audio and video if available); it will allow you to be your own best teacher!

5. Study the piano scores to your works carefully, so your performances will reflect that you are playing the “whole” score.

6. Perform all of your audition pieces in concert prior to taking your audition. (I just have to echo this as so, so important – perform your repertoire as much as possible before your audition, so you know exactly how you will react when you are nervous!)

7. When possible, arrange your auditions in reverse order of your priorities, i.e. last choice school first, first choice last.Experience in auditioning can help strengthen your ability to communicate your program well.

8. Make sure your instrument and bow are in good working order (e.g., the pegs turn smoothly, the bow is recently rehaired).(valves are working, keypads are in good shape, etc.)

9. It probably does not hurt to practice in whatever shoes and/or outfit you plan to wear if you do not customarily play the viola (insert your instrument here) in them.

10. Remember as you anticipate playing for the viola (Juilliard) faculty that a) we love music and b) we care about your music-making, or we would not be devoting ourselves to teaching.

I also want to invite you to use the “comment” feature of this blog if you have some tips you’d like to share with fellow applicants! (See below – you can click through the blue “No comment” to add a comment – or if there are comments already, you’ll see “# comments”, and click to read or add your comment.)

Hello from the Bottom of the Totem Pole

By: Bradley Diuguid, Drama Division Administrative Intern

Hello and welcome!

My name is Bradley, and I’m this year’s Administrative Intern for the Drama Division. Chances are that some of you have already spoken to me a bit on the phone. I assist with much of the clerical work for the Division, including applications, auditions, daily operations, special events, and ticketing. Most of what I do consists of supporting others – including you!

Even though the application deadline for the Actor Training Program has passed, I am available during business hours to field questions about the upcoming auditions and our program in general, so please don’t hesitate to call if you feel stuck, confused, or lost. I’m likely to be the one to pick up the phone when you call, so please feel free to ask for me by name. Everyone in our office loves good questions! Each and every one of us are familiar enough with the acting and playwriting programs, including the admissions and auditions processes, to give you some insight – we do run them, after all. Finding the answer to a thoughtful question can really make my day, and even if I can’t answer it, I will find someone in the office who can!

Don’t be fooled by my “intern” title – I share an astounding amount of responsibility with the office staff to keep the Drama Division running smoothly. I really do think that I have one of the best jobs in the country, and I feel lucky to come to work at The Juilliard School every day (even when the hours stretch on – which they sometimes do!)

If you’re interested in finding out more about our intern program, The Juilliard School offers a wide array of openings in all kinds of technical and production areas each year, from costumes to stage management to wigs and makeup and more. For more details, see our Web site for an application to the internship program. My position is open each year, and a similar post is sometimes offered in the Dance and Concert Divisions. Keep in mind that this is definitely not the route to becoming an actor in the program, but it is a great chance to learn more about how the theater works behind the scenes. Plus, you’d be surprised at how many people throughout Juilliard started out as interns!

I don’t consider my position “just another office job.” Like everyone else working backstage, I support the arts. Through management, I have found a way to be involved in the theater and still be creative, too. Whether I’m working with acting students at our special events, directing calls for our Literary Manager, creating a schedule for the Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division, or contacting prospective students, I get to work with a variety of innovative, active artists every day. It sure beats heavy lifting – and what could be better than that?

I look forward to hearing from you over the coming weeks. Good luck!

Thank you,

Bradley Diuguid

Toni’s Top 5

By: Toni Rosenbaum, Admissions Assistant

Hi everyone! My name is Toni Rosenbaum and I’m the Admissions Assistant (when you call the Office of Admissions, you are probably speaking with me!). I receive tons of phone calls and e-mails from applicants every day and have come up with a list of the five most common questions:

1. When are the deadlines?

The application, application fee, and pre-screening materials (if applicable) were due December 1, 2007. Essays are part of the application and are due December 1, 2007. Transcripts, recommendation letters, and TOEFL scores are due February 15, 2008.

For Doctor of Musical Arts applicants, all supplemental materials are due January 15, 2007.

2. How do I submit my letters of recommendation?

Remember when you completed your application and there was a section about recommenders? (Well, just in case you forgot – you registered your recommenders and included an e-mail address where they may be contacted.) They were sent an e-mail based on the information you provided with a link that gave them all the instructions they need to complete the recommendation for you.

Is your recommender not so computer savvy? No problem! Just have it sent by postal mail. Either they may send it themselves or you may collect the letters from them in signed, sealed envelopes and send them yourself. No form necessary, but please make sure your full name and your recommender’s full name are on that letter!!

3. How will I know if you received my materials?

You can track all of your application materials (pre-screening recordings, letters of recommendation, transcripts, TOEFL scores, etc.) by signing back into your online application and clicking the “Track Status” tab. This will give you the most current information about receipt of application parts and it is also the most convenient way to check the status of your application materials. We have so much mail at this time of year that we’re doing our very best to get everything into the system as soon as possible. Please be patient while we quickly and efficiently process all of the application parts we receive.

4. When will I know when my audition is??

Each division is handled a differently. Here’s how it works:

Music Applicants: First we must go through the pre-screening process – then you will be notified whether or not you are invited to the live auditions, which take place February 29 – March 7. You’ll know if you’re invited for a live audition by about the third week in January. If your major is not pre-screened, we’re still not scheduling until then because we’re sorting out the pre-screening.

Dance Applicants: You will know the city and date of your live audition by mid-December and will get further details by January.

Drama Applicants: A letter by postal mail will be sent to you approximately two weeks after you submitted your application notifying you of your audition date and location.

5. I submitted my application. What happens now??

Waiting is excruciating but just sit tight for now; this is only just the beginning of the admissions process for you. Now you should be looking toward the live audition. Here is a link that will provide you with the information necessary to prepare for the live audition: http://www.juilliard.edu/admissions/entrance.html.

If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat with the admissions staff feel free to call the Office of Admissions at (212)799-5000 x223 or send us an e-mail at admissions@juilliard.edu. I look forward to meeting some of you in person during the live auditions. Good luck everyone!

“Please, please, tell me now – is there something I should know?”

By: Monia C. Estima, Senior Assistant Director for Music Admissions

Hey music applicants! This is a quick blog from Senior Assistant Director for Music Admissions, Monia C. Estima. Keep your eyes on your Inbox on Dec. 10! We’ll be e-mailing you a link to a “secret web page” meant for Juilliard applicants only (I LOVE all the cloak-and-dagger stuff). The web page will provide further information regarding specific departmental audition dates. There will also be instructions for notifying us of audition date requests due to potential audition conflicts. (Because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!)

PS: Make sure these important e-mails are not treated as “spam” and sent to your junk mailbox! Please add the e-mail address ‘notification@embark.com’ to your address book, and also check your junk mailbox frequently!

*The title for this blog was hijacked from the Duran Duran song “Is There Something I Should Know?”