Tips For Your Best Audition

by Arianna Körting, B.M. Piano

Hello fellow Juilliard applicants! It is less than a week until  auditions begin!  It is such an accomplishment to have made it this far into the audition process, and you only have one last big step left to go. It seems only yesterday when I felt the exact same way as all of you do right now: stressed, nervous, excited, etc. Although acceptance to Juilliard is mostly dependent on the audition, I would like to take some time to give you a bit of audition advice so that you might find your audition experience at Juilliard much less scary and death-defying than you thought.

The moment I walked into the audition room, the Piano faculty members were sitting at a long table. We graciously greeted each other with smiles and I immediately made my way to the piano and sat down. At that moment, one of the jury members told me to begin with any piece I preferred. The best part of the audition process (for Piano) at Juilliard is that applicants are given the opportunity to choose the first piece to play. When I heard of this, I felt relieved because I knew I would be able to put my best foot forward with a piece that I was fully comfortable with. For me, the first couple minutes of any audition are very crucial because I am still in the process of adapting to the feel of the piano. I advise audition pianists to take some time to choose a piece out of their audition repertoire that is the most comforting to play; I decided to play my Bach Prelude and Fugue. Some of you may be thinking that the showiest and most difficult piece in your repertoire is best to begin your audition. If you feel it is your strongest piece, go for it! If not, then I would suggest starting with the piece you feel you will play the best.

After playing through a bit of my first piece, they stopped me and requested for me to play another piece from my audition repertoire list. The rest of my audition was solely based on what the faculty decided to listen to, as will be the same for your audition. The jury may stop you and have you play whichever pieces they deem necessary to get the full glimpse of your artistry. To my surprise, the jury asked me to play the beginnings of each piece in my proposed repertoire except one. What they choose for you all to play is based on the combination of the pieces you have prepared for them along with what they feel like hearing from you. Be prepared for anything!

Here are some additional tips about preparing for your audition that you might find useful:

Make sure to get enough rest two nights before your audition date. For me, it is nearly impossible to get a good night’s rest the night before auditioning. That is why it is best to catch up on sleep two nights before so that you feel fresh and ready to go.

I always make sure to eat a banana at least an hour before my audition because it contains Vitamin B and potassium to help calm my nerves – just a thought!

Lastly, play with much confidence and from the heart. Whenever I perform in front of a jury, I keep in mind that I am there to produce beautiful music and the jury members are there to soak it in and enjoy. Take the faculty on a fantastic journey through the various contrasting pieces you have in store for them. Showing your passion for this great art is definitely a crucial part in winning the interests of the audition jury.

Carpe diem and best of luck to you all!