Pre-Screening – putting your best musical foot forward

Pre-screening questions are easily our “Top 10″ list in November – What is the deadline?  Do I need to have a pianist?  Can I substitute repertoire?  My recording studio lost the master!  I can’t get a recording date until December 1!

While some applicants have already made their recordings and sent them in (thank you!), many are still working on this very important component of the application.  I thought it might be helpful to know Juilliard’s policies, expectations, and recommendations as you are preparing to record.  So here are the answers to the Pre-Screening Top 10:

  1. When is the deadline?  Pre-screening recordings must be post-marked December 1st.  However, it is better to try to get it in the mail earlier, because we always hear from someone that s/he made it to the post office at 1 minute after 5, and it was closed (and yes, that does make it late).
  2. What happens if my pre-screening is late?  A late pre-screening recording may have a serious affect on your consideration for an invitation to a live audition.  The faculty will first consider all on-time recordings, and if there are any audition spaces remaining (because we do have a limited amount of audition slots available), will then consider late pre-screening materials.  Therefore, it is possible that a late recording will simply not be reviewed at all.  That being said – refer back to #1!
  3. Do I have to have a pianist for the recording?  Yes – if a piece is accompanied, you must have accompaniment on the pre-screening, unless the requirements say otherwise (for example, flute specifies that the Mozart should be unaccompanied).
  4. Does the repertoire have to be in a specific order?  No – unless the requirements specify (to use flute as an example again, those requirements do state the order they should be in on the recording).  My recommendation is to choose the order according to what represents you the best – start the recording with your favorite work, or what you think is the strongest piece you recorded.  If the faculty like what they hear first, that may be enough for them!
  5. Should I go into a studio to make my recording?  We do not require you to use a studio to make your recording.  A recording device (such as a mini-disc or DAT player, or video for percussion and double bass), a good microphone, a fairly large room (such as a classroom or small recital hall), and a good pianist, will make a suitable recording.  You’ll need to be your own engineer – record one take, listen to it back for balance (make sure we can hear you, and not just the piano!) and sound quality (is the mic too close?  too far away?), adjust as needed, and then continue recording.  If you don’t have any of the above, be creative about asking friends and colleagues if you can borrow the recording devices, your school, church or youth orchestra if you can use a space, your teacher to recommend a pianist, etc.  We don’t require a studio recording because of the money involved – if you are invited to a live audition, you will have travel costs, and we understand how expensive it can be to travel to and stay in New York City.  There will still be some cost to doing it yourself (paying the pianist, and someone to transfer your recording to a CD), but not nearly as much as paying a studio.  If this sounds too complicated or overwhelming, it may be worth it for you to go into a studio and have a professional take care of everything – but it’s up to you.
  6. Does the repertoire for my live audition need to be the same as my pre-screening repertoire?  No, it doesn’t.  In the application, we are asking you to list your live audition repertoire (except for Jazz Studies, in which case you list your selections for the pre-screening).  The pre-screening repertoire can be different, but must still meet the requirements.  For example, a singer may want to sing a particular Italian aria for the live audition in March, but doesn’t feel quite ready to record it now.  Another Italian aria is completely acceptable.
  7. Are repertoire substitutions allowed?  In general, no.  The faculty set the repertoire requirements because they demonstrate something in particular that they need to hear in order to consider you for an invitation to a live audition.  If you have a valid reason for a substitution, then you can email [email protected] with your request.  We will then check with the Department Chair for your instrument.  But please don’t ask just a few days before the deadline – it usually takes us about a week to get a response from the Chair and get back to you. (By the way – this is also the email address to use if you have questions about whether a particular piece meets a requirement).
  8. Where do I send my pre-screening materials?  This one’s easy:

The Juilliard School

Office of Admissions

[Your instrument here] – PRE-SCREENING MATERIALS

60 Lincoln Center Plaza

New York, NY10023

  1. I sent my recording already – should I call to make sure Juilliard received it, or will you send me an acknowledgement?  Actually – no to both!  If you applied online, then we will enter that your pre-screening materials are received in the “Track Status” section of your application.  Just log back into your application, and click on “Track Status” near the bottom of the first page.  Give us a bit of time, though – we get literally thousands of pieces of mail!  While we may delay entering your transcripts and letters of recommendations right now (since they’re not due until February 1, unless you’re a D.M.A. applicant, in which case they’re due January 15), we will “track” pre-screening materials as fast as we can open envelopes.
  2. When will I know the results of the pre-screening?  The faculty reviews the pre-screening materials in early and mid-January.  Usually, we have the results by the third week in January.  Notification of your pre-screening status, either passing or not, is sent both by email and hard copy.  We do not give out the results over the phone.  If you are being invited to a live audition, the audition date and time will be posted to your online application in the “Track Status” section – but don’t rush to check, as we won’t post that information until we send out the emails.

That’s a lot of information – but I still have a few more tips!

  • Please read the requirements carefully – not only for repertoire, but also for format requirements.  If you send the wrong format (e.g. a CD for percussion, which required a DVD or video) it could affect your consideration.  And if you send a format we specifically say not to send (PAL video, mini-disc, DAT, etc.) then we’re simply not going to be able to listen to it!
  • Listen to your recording – make sure we can hear you clearly, and the sound isn’t distorted or has any “buzz”.
  • If you’re burning a CD to send – listen to it before mailing.  We have gotten blank CD’s!  Also, check it in a CD player, not just a computer – some sound systems won’t play CD-R’s.
  • Write your full name and repertoire on the CD/DVD case (not the disc itself).  If it’s on only the disc, we can’t jump around as easily, since we won’t know what’s next.
  • Package your recording carefully – we have also received broken discs.
  • And finally – please send your pre-screening materials by a method that can be tracked.  If for any reason we tell you we don’t have your materials, we’re relying on you to be able to prove that you sent it.

Good luck with your recording, and we look forward to listening to you in January!