“Finding treasure in the dark”*

By Mónia C. Estima, Senior Assistant Director for Music Admissions

Prospective music applicants often ask me if I have any tips on applying to Juilliard.  Well, of course I do!  Below is a treasure-trove of tips; learn ‘em, live ‘em, love ‘em!

“Why don’t you use it?”

  • Ø Work on your art, doggedly. Practice carefully, mindfully; practice by yourself and with others. Get feedback from your teachers/coaches and then employ their recommendations. Take advantage of as many performance opportunities as you can handle so you can get used to being the central focus of an audience. Check out what your peers are doing, then rip off their good habits and eschew the bad ones.
  • Ø Read through the application, note what is required of applicants to your desired degree level and instrument or major, and provide it by the published deadlines. “My dog ate my pre-screening recording,” while a disturbing turn of events, will not gain you an extension of the pre-screening deadline. (But be sure to take your poor pooch to the vet. And, you know, maybe feed it once in a while.)

“Try not to bruise it…”

  • Ø Provide only what is required; materials in excess of the published requirements will be recycled. (We’re in New York. We barely have enough space for the things we require, let alone fancy extras. Save yourselves the time and money and give us only what the application states we need.) (Besides, crowded file cabinet drawers lead to paper cuts that need to be seen to be believed.)
  • Ø “My friend said I could (insert random crazy thing your well-intentioned but mistaken friend told you was OK to do).” Nothing makes me reach for the Advil faster than getting on the phone with an applicant who is tearfully begging forgiveness for not having fulfilled “X” requirement based on the advice of her or his friend-and who now has a serious problem that can’t be remedied by anyone (not even Harry Potter!). When in doubt, review the application. If you’re still in doubt, check with Admissions. Please. For your own peace of mind. (OK, and for ours too.)

“Buy time, don’t lose it!”

  • Ø DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE to submit your application, application fee, pre-screening recording, TOEFL, transcripts, repertoire changes, or whatever it is we’re asking you to submit by a particular date and time-especially this year, as some instrumental departments will have earlier deadlines than others! For example, you wait until 11pm on November 15 to fill out and submit the online application. Inevitably, a rift in the space-time continuum opens up at precisely 11:59pm, wreaking havoc on communications systems world-wide, and your computer crashes. By the time you manage to reboot it’s 12:01am on November 16 and the online application is closed. You’ve just missed the deadline and no amount of Starbucks coffee or Godiva chocolate will induce us to accept your late application. See what I mean? (You may snicker at the whole space-time rift scenario, but it happens. How else can you account for the Teletubbies, hmmm? I think I’ve made my point.)

Do take all of the above tips to heart; they really are the best ways to insure yourself against unnecessary stress during an inherently stressful process!

All underlined text in this blog was beamed-up from the Duran Duran song, “The Reflex.”