‘Tis the Season…Audition Season, That Is!

January means college auditions, so this post features a great article written by From the Top alum and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Ren Martin-Doike. Ren shares tips and hints for preparing for those college auditions, as well as interesting links and ideas for practicing. We hope you enjoy, and good luck if you’re auditioning this year!

‘Tis the Season…Audition Season that is!
Here are a few things that helped me prepare.
By Ren Martin-Doike

You’ve been practicing for what seems like your whole life, and in a few months, you will give one of the most crucial performances of your career so far… your college audition. How is preparing for college auditions any different from, say, getting ready for a competition?

Ren Performs on From the Top in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2008

Auditions are actually the same thing as competitions. The only difference is that when you “win,” instead of getting a medal, money or concert opportunities, you get the chance to snag the best prize of all – a good education.

Since you’re planning to study music beyond high school, I have a feeling that you are already an experienced player, not looking for another article telling you to practice 8 hours a day or how you shouldn’t wear blue jeans for your audition. Of course, the standard rules do always apply – listen to your teacher, plan ahead and practice mindfully. But you already know these things, so I’m going to give you my experience-tested tips, from the wise to the wacky.

First and foremost – it’s all in your head. No matter how well you prepare, if you psych yourself out at the last minute, you may not play your best. Conversely, if you don’t believe in yourself from the start, you will limit yourself from playing as well as you can. I’ve always been fascinated with psychology and neurology, so as you read this article you will also find “mind-hacks” you can use to more deeply tap into your potential. Continue reading

From the Top’s Summer Audition Tour

Although From the Top doesn’t tape many radio shows during the summer, our staff keep busy during these hot months with an important and exciting task – holding live auditions for our NPR radio show.

Live auditions are an opportunity for us to hear young musicians in a different and fun capacity; most of our auditions come in by mail. Recent stops our live audition tour included Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI), Interlochen Center for the Arts, Brevard Music Center (BMC), and Aspen Music Festival (AMF).  Below are some highlights from the travels of Tim Banker, Caroline Cardiasmenos, Megan Lantz, and Tom Vignieri.

News From Interlochen Center for the Arts:

Tim Banker

Tim Banker reports: “As usual, our Interlochen auditions are a real marathon for the brain as we see kids from 9am to 9pm (no exaggeration).  The level at Interlochen is very high and so it’s pretty inspiring.  It really doesn’t get boring.  Interlochen is totally international so we also heard amazing kids from locations as far flung as Israel and Peru.

One of the terrifying things about Interlochen is when you try to get breakfast at the cafeteria at like 7:40am.  Why?  Because at 7:45am about 1,000 kids have to be at their orchestras or rehearsals or classes and it’s like experiencing a buffalo stampede in all directions except the buffalo are all carrying bananas, half filled bowls of cereal and jelly lined pieces of toast.  I was half asleep at the time and simply froze to protect myself. Pretty funny.”

From the Top staffers also delighted in an Interlochen tradition: The Melody Freeze, which is, according to Tim, “a gloriously mobbed ice cream stand from which you can buy $1 soft serve.”  Yum!

Continue reading

Audition Stories: Caitlin Kelley

Below is the second edition of a new series of “Audition Stories”, a fistful of firsthand reports on what it takes to get on From the Top. We’ll cover details from the toughest application question to the fateful phone call and everything in between. Of course, the best way to find out what auditioning is like is to do it yourself – download the application here.

Caitlin Kelley, From the Top alumna and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist, now a senior at the Colburn School in L.A.

Caitlin Kelley, From the Top alumna and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist, now a senior at the Colburn School in L.A.

Violinist Caitlin Kelley had always thought about auditioning for From the Top, but it was not until From the Top came to the Aspen Music Festival and School to hear auditions that she finally took the plunge.

“It was always in the back of mind to audition, and since they were right there, I figured why not?” Caitlin said. “From the Top had been on the radio station in Seattle since I was young, and I always loved it. It was a hysterical show.” Continue reading

Audition Stories: Ibanda Ruhumbika

-Lily Kaiser

Below is the first edition of a new series of “Audition Stories”, a fistful of firsthand reports on what it takes to get on From the Top. We’ll cover details from the toughest application question to the fateful phone call and everything in between. Of course, the best way to find out what auditioning is like is to do it yourself – download the application here.

Ibanda Ruhumbika leading a From the Top education program in Hawaii.

Ibanda Ruhumbika leading a From the Top education program in Hawaii.

19-year-old tuba player Ibanda Ruhumbika has mastered the art of being on From the Top. He’s appeared on the show three times, once with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, and twice as a soloist. Ibanda can take anything we throw at him, whether we hide him behind the 120 members of his youth orchestra, set him up to talk about music with a group of admiring students at an all-girls school, or let him shine in front of a camera while the New York Philharmonic brass section strolls in as his surprise collaborators.
Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: