I am in seek of Berklee Audition Advice

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by basshead182, Oct 12, 2012.


  1. basshead182

    basshead182

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    I am auditioning for Berklee college of music on bass in FEBRUARY. I have chosen to learn Weather Report's Teen Town for my audition. Would you say this is a wise piece to play for an audition?
    By february I will be able to play with extreme ease, so it is a piece I will be extremely comfortable with.

    If anybody has ANY advice it would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou!
     
  2. Steveman

    Steveman

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    I used to work at Berklee Admissions so I know exactly how they grade you: Prepared piece, sight-reading / improv, application / interview. Teen Town isn't a bad choice but it is overplayed so it doesn't exactly make you standout. I would find a piece that showcases both your ability to solo AND groove.
     
  3. basshead182

    basshead182

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    Thanks for the feedback steveman!
    Do you have any suggestions?
     
  4. pedro

    pedro

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    I assume that the Berklee website gives some detailed information about what is expected and I would start there. IIRC when my son auditioned for Berklee they did a bunch of ear dictation in addition to playing a few standards and prepared pieces, etc. He did audition on upright and not electric so it might be different. He got a very good scholarship offer but ultimately decided to go to UNT.

    Anyway, I'd suggest reading over whatever they have on their website and following their suggestions carefully. Practice hard and good luck.
     
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  6. basshead182

    basshead182

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    Thanks Pedro! I have read over and I am aware of the requirements. I have from now until February to solidify everything I need for the audition.

    My biggest fear is that Teen Town is not a good prepared piece. I have read that is the most important aspect of the audition. I have spent quite a while learning and perfecting teen town and I am still perfecting it. I am torn between continuing to perfect it, or picking a brand new piece
     
  7. pedro

    pedro

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    Steve is in a better position to advise you on the subject. Like I said, my son's audition was on upright and my recollection was that he played 2-3 jazz standards and then was asked to repeat various intervals, etc. to test his ears.
     
  8. fraublugher

    fraublugher

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    It's more important that you play something WELL, rather than something difficult with some inaccuracies.
    Good Luck!
     
  9. Kobaia

    Kobaia

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    '09 Grad. I do auditions interviews for Berklee when they come to LA.

    Things they're going to audition you for:
    Sight reading - you're going to have 15 mins to read over about 10 examples in a rehearsal room before you go audition. then they're going to ask you to read those pieces back to them.
    Proficiency - They want to see how well you play your instrument. This is normally you're prepared piece.
    Time Feel - Just about everything you'll play for them they'll analyze to make sure its in time, and if you're playing a style ie reggae, bluse, jazz, latin ect. that you're groove is stylistically correct
    Theory Knowledge - Do you know your stuff? I think they asked me 'In C Major what is the scale starting on the 4th degree'
    Ear Training - They're going to play either chords, or a lick, and you're going to have to play that chord progression or lick back to them.

    Now when I got into Berklee auditions were not a requirement, and the acceptance rate was at 80%. since 2006 Berklee has reestablished the audition process, and the admissions have doubled. Now the acceptance rate is about 25-30%.

    I would suggets picking a song that will make you stick out from a crowd. For me that would eliminate any Jaco, victor wooten, jazz standard type tunes. I'd suggest playing with a track if you can or have a backing track to play with.

    I suggest:
    http://youtu.be/VWbjS-W4xQ0
    http://youtu.be/17LQRXXrWjY
    http://youtu.be/ahJCERfeehY

    all three of these songs show your ability to groove in different contexts, have some sort of time sensitive section or part that if you make or miss is crucial to the songs feel/structure, and aren't typical tunes you'd hear at an audition.

    The Interview:

    They're going to ask you 4 types of questions:
    1) What have you done to Prepare for Berklee - Have you taken Theory, Ear Training classes, do you have a band, do you perform, have you done a program at berklee ie 5 week summer session, basslines?
    2) Why are you interested in Berklee - What majors, why Berklee specifically, what are you hoping to take away from your time here.
    3) What are your Goals in music - What do you hope to do once you graduate, and do you have a plan on how to get there?
    4)What can you bring to Berklee - What unique life experiences do you have that separates you from the next person who is auditioning on the same instrument with the same piece.

    Remember you have 15 mins for the auditions and interview. so keep that in mind when picking a song
     
  10. Kobaia

    Kobaia

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    This is very true.

    I was also going to Suggest preordering the level 1 workbooks. Ear Training 1, Harmony 1 especially.

    There is also a handbook on their website that lists the requirements that they test you on as a final for your private instruction at the end of each semester:

    Level 1 (All Students)
    • Scales: one-octave major and all minor forms (to include major and minor Pentatonics).
    • Arpeggios: one-octave triads in all inversions.
    • Prepared piece approved by your instructor.
    • Bass part reading.
    • Ear Training

    Level 2 (All Students)
    • Scales: one-octave major scale modes, minors, Pentatonics, symmetrical-diminished,
    whole-tone, Lydian b7, altered-dominant, and Mixolydian b9, b13.
    • Arpeggios: one-octave four part chords in root position.
    • Prepared piece approved by your instructor.
    • Bass lines: an improvised bass line in any style from a prepared lead sheet.
    • Bass part reading
    • Ear Training

    Level 3 (Performance Track)
    ! Scales: two octave major scale modes, minors, Pentatonics, symmetrical- diminished,
    Whole-tone, Lydian b7, altered dominant, and Mixolydian b9, b13
    • Arpeggios: two octave triads in all inversions.
    • One octave four-part chords in all inversions and in root position with tensions.
    • Traditional prepared piece approved by your instructor
    • Bass lines: an improvised bass line from a presented lead sheet.
    • Bass part reading.
    • Ear TrainingLevel 4 (Standard Track)
    • Traditional prepared piece, as approved by your instructor.
    • Improvisational prepared piece, as approved by your instructor.
    • Transcription performed with recording (written transcription optional), as
    approved by your instructor.
    • Bass part reading.
    • Ear Training

    Level 4 (Performance Track)
    • Scales: two octave major scale modes, minors, Pentatonics, symmetrical
    diminished, whole tone, Lydian b7, altered dominant, and Mixolydian b9, b13 in
    broken thirds.
    • Arpeggios: one octave four-part chords in all inversions with tensions above.
    • Prepared piece: improvisation and bass line as approved by your instructor.
    • Bass part reading.
    • Ear Training

    Level 5 (Performance Track)
    • Scales: one-octave harmonic and jazz melodic minor modes.
    • Arpeggios: two octave four-part chords in root position using chromatic approach
    from above and/or below.
    • Prepared piece, as approved by your instructor.
    • Bass part reading.
    • Ear Training

    Level 6 (Performance Track)
    • Traditional prepared piece, as approved by your instructor.
    • Improvisational prepared piece, as approved by your instructor.
    • Transcription: a memorized performance with the recording. Presentation of
    written transcription required. (this must also be approved by your instructor.)
    • Bass part reading.

    Level 7 (Performance Track)
    • Scales: two octave harmonic and jazz melodic minor modes.
    • Arpeggios: one octave four-part chords in all inversions using scale and/or
    chromatic approach with tensions above.
    • Memorized repertoire: five tunes, the melody of which to be played in original key,
    and the bass line to be played in any key chosen by the test team.
    • Traditional prepared piece, as approved by your instructor.
    • Ear Training

    I would learn as much of this as possible. It would be impressive to mention in your interview as well as help you in the audition, and once you get to the school.

    if you need any help with it i do offer skype lessons :D
     
  11. basshead182

    basshead182

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    Thanks Kobaia. I think I am definitely going to tackle a different prepared piece now.
    I definitely enjoy the Mambo for Tajrid piece.
    What do you think of a Stu Hamm piece?

    Do you happen to have a link where I can order these. I am going to do so RIGHT NOW
     
  12. Kobaia

    Kobaia

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    you're going to have to call and order them.
    (617) 747-2402

    Stu Hamm's country night in hell. As much as that is a great show piece, it doesn't showcase how you would work as part of a band. Berklee may have some Alumni like Stu Hamm, but what they're trying to produce are Will Lee, Pino Palladino, Victor Bailey, Bryan Bellar, and Abe Leboriel type players. People who can play with a group, play everything well, and be a superstar for being the most solid, not necessarily the flashiest. Being a solid player with that bit of flair is what they're going to be most impressed with.
     
  13. basshead182

    basshead182

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    that Avishai Cohen Piece is awesome. I think I may go after that one...
     
  14. pedro

    pedro

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    Yes as I recall there was no audition requirement for acceptance but in order to get a scholarship you had to audition which is why he (my son) did the audition.
     
  15. Kobaia

    Kobaia

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    yes the world scholarship tour for the B.E.S.T. Scholarship I auditioned for also.
     
  16. pedro

    pedro

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    Yep my son did it in Chicago. I remember recognizing the fellow that did the audition as having been in the Ken Burns Jazz documentary. I can't recall his name but I recognized his face.
     
  17. Kobaia

    Kobaia

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    maybe Joe Lovano
     
  18. basshead182

    basshead182

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    I am not sure if this changes much, But I am planning on majoring in Electronic Production and Design. Since it is not an instrument based major...
     
  19. Kobaia

    Kobaia

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    You'll only have to do the first 4 levels of the proficiency exams. but other than that nothing changes from what i've said.
     
  20. pedro

    pedro

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    I don't think so but it was a long time ago.
     
  21. HPYFLP

    HPYFLP

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    I'm also auditioning for Berklee in February...on upright though. All the comments above me sound great! I just have one thing to add.

    You know how you get to Carnegie Hall right? ....practice.
     

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