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Am interested in hearing from those who experience auditioning for NEC and/or MSM

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by pedro, Nov 12, 2004.


  1. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Well at long last my son is a senior and we are in the process of filling out applications. We have visited many schools including:

    DePaul
    Roosevelt
    Manhattan School of Music
    Berklee
    NEC
    San Francisco Conservatory
    U of Miami
    Lawrence U

    We are still planning to visit UNT next week. As it stands, here are the leading canidates in no particular order

    UNT - He does his live audition next week for Lynn Seaton
    Berklee
    NEC
    Manhattan School of Music

    Both MSM and NEC require pre-screening audition CD's and we will have to send a video to UNT in order to qualify for scholarship $. The additional rub is that my son is more interested in being a classical composition major than a performer (jazz or otherwise). Not to say that he doesn't want to perform - he loves it and has been doing so professionally since age 13. But composing seems to be what interest him the most. So here are some questions for those that might know:

    1. Does anyone know the composition faculty at MSM, and if yes, do you have any recommendations?

    2. Many of the requirements for the pre-screening CD for NEC and MSM are similar. Can anybody address how stringently each school looks at these and if there are any pet peeves to be avoided?

    3. MSM has a rather involved process for 'comp majors' that includes a prescreening CD and scores followed by a two day examination and interview for those who pass the presceening. Anybody know more about what they are looking for on the prescreening? Their website says nothing about minimum or maximum number of composition/scores to submit.

    Anything else that you guys know either personally or through the grapevine would be most appreciated.
     
  2. Pedro,

    I remember placing very little emphasis on my "pre-screening" audition tape for NEC, when I auditioned 3 years ago. I think the requirement is geared a bit more towards instruments that have a larger audition pool (ex: violin, cello, etc) and whose studio placements are much harder to get into. With bass, I am sure an audition spot will be granted, given the smaller size of applicants. When I auditioned, for instance, there were no more than 30 or 40 kids, which seems like a lot, but compared to grand amount of violinists auditioning for Weilerstein's studio, or cellists for Katz and Lesser, these 30 or 40 kids seem minimal.
    One more consideration specifically for your son:
    I attend the Boston Conservatory, which has, sadly enough, had a very minimal reputation, considering it being overshadowed by NEC, Berklee, and BU. However, I have been entirely happy with the school. The bass department is quite enthusiastic; we have weekly class with Ben Levy, the most recent addition to the BSO, among frequent playing opportunities in a very relaxed enviroment. The conductor of our orchestra is the best, and most famed of all the music school conductors in Boston (Bruce Hangen, Asst. Conductor of Boston Pops). Plus, the school will give quite a hefty scholarship to a double bassist. (Which is why I ended up choosing the school over NEC and BU, along with the opportunity to study with my current teacher).
    And more specifically to your son, the composition opportunties are quite grand, too. Students get many, many chances to have their works perform, and quite a few are double majors (composition and an instrument), and it is very managable. I studied composition in conjunction with the bass my freshman year, but ended up concentrating exclusively on the bass.
    I don't mean to solicit as much as I have, but you might want to consider checking the school out, if you have the chance. It is right down the street from Berklee, and in fact, cross-registration between the two schools is frequent, effortless, and encouraged!
     
  3. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    TA, Please tell me more about the Boston Conservatory. I was under the impression that it was strictly classical. You mentioned 'generous scholarships' and as a dad that certainly caught my attention. Can you elaborate? What did you play for your audition? I'm also curious if you auditioned at NEC and what that was like? Who did you audition for? What kind of offer did they make in comparison to Boston, etc?
     
  4. Pedro,

    Boston Conservatory is basically classical, I suppose I didn't pick up on the need for a jazz study. I understand now that your son seeks that, as he is playing for Lynn Seaton next week, right? However, as I mentioned before the opportunity to study jazz through Berklee as a cross-registration would be effortless.
    The amount of scholarship I recieved from Boston Conservatory was double the amount that I was offered initially from both NEC and BU. And in fact, Boston Conservatory even offered me more when I requested it. NEC and BU were much more reluctant.
    The auditions for all three places were very casual and relaxed. I already knew all the bass faculty, for I studied in the Boston area prior to auditioning. However, I think any applicant would feel at ease. They generally like to hear about 7 minutes of playing. At all of the auditions, the commitee offered some minor comments, that made the situation feel even more light-hearted. Your son, or anyone for that matter, has nothing to be nervous about. Just show the commitee how much work you have put in! Any more elaboration will have to be saved for another day.
     
  5. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Thanks TA. Yeah Alex seems mostly interested in Classical Composition but enjoys many, many different styles of music including jazz and latin and pop and rock. In fact, I'd say though he seems to love classical music the most, I'd say its his least favorite to play. Anyway, that's my assessment.

    As for the scholarships all of the schools we've looked at, with the exception of UNT are completely beyond our means. He'll need a big, big scholarship or be willing to go into heavy debt and I'd really like to see him avoid that. I am concerned because though I think he's quite talented and a very fine bass player I also have to recognize that I am biased. So I don't know what to expect. My apprehension is magnified because of the experiences of a couple of his friends who graduated last year. One, a drummer was only offered a small $3,000 scholarship at Indiana, even though I perceive him to be a very good player. Another bass player was offered a similar dollar amount at Indiana but then got a full ride at Curtis. So I have no idea where to guage my son.

    Thoughts? Comments? Remarks?
     
  6. Yo Pedro,

    I went to NEC for my undergrad in classical bass perf. (Graduated in 2003). So if you have any specific questions about the school or program you can message me. I think I have relatively diverse musical interests too, and was able to explore these interests in a pretty flexible manner at NEC. I studied with Todd Seeber (BSO player), Cecil McBee (jazz bassist), and Michael Cain (jazz piano).
     
  7. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Randy did you get my message?
     
  8. Yes, and I emailed you back.
     
  9. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Got it. Thanks much.