Audition Tips for Music Composition

Feeling anxious and uncertain before your Conservatoire audition is commonplace – in fact, most of us students at RBC have experienced some levels of this during our auditions. In the weeks leading up to my audition, I remember feeling very apprehensive, especially seeing that there wasn’t that much advise online for Composition students in the year I auditioned. 

For those who might be auditioning for a Composition course soon, we will be sharing with you a couple of tips and tricks based off our own experiences for a more successful audition!

1. Come prepared and presentable

Make sure you make a good first impression on your panel. Dress smart but comfortable – turning up in sportswear, jeans or a t-shirt is unadvisable, but so is turning up in a suit. Having hardcopies of your portfolio to give to the panel is also a good idea, as they will be impressed by your preparation!

It might also be worth carrying around a notebook to jot down notes from your auditions (especially if you have several coming up) 

2. Know your own portfolio well

This sounds a bit obvious as you would’ve composed the works yourself. However, your interviewer would like you to be able to demonstrate a good understanding of thoughts, techniques and influences you drew from during the compositional process. Try thinking of your compositions from the perspective of a music analyst. I would suggest practicing with your friends or family – get them to ask questions to familiarise yourself with talking about your own music. 

3. Be open to criticism from the panel 

You might receive criticisms on your portfolio work. Be open-minded and don’t feel let down by their comments! The panel has good intentions behind their suggestions, and as a composer, there is always something you could be improving on. 

4. Know about the conservatoire you’re auditioning for

You should have an idea of what the conservatoire can offer in terms of its courses, resources and so forth to boost your craft. I’d suggest also doing some research on the tutors at the Conservatoires and have a listen through some of their works to get an idea of their compositional style, and if it’s something you’re interested in. If you’re not familiar with the city the conservatoire is in, it might be worth reading up on the cultural and artistic aspects to see if it’s something you’d connect with.

This would be really useful to read up on during the application process to make sure you will get the full conservatoire experience you are looking for.

5. See it as a conversation between you and the panel

Be sincere, and let your personality shine through. The panel will be understanding of your nervousness – they are looking to get to know you and your journey as a musician better, not to interrogate you!

6. Have questions to ask the panel

Whilst the panel is looking to get to know you better, you are there to gain a better understanding of the conservatoire and course you’re applying for. Having questions to ask the panel, even if you know the answer, will show them your interest in the course!

Good luck with your interview ☺

Feel free to share any tips you may have in the comments!

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