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Audition for Music Program at College...HELP!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by nathan, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. nathan


    Jul 16, 2004
    I just got accepted into UNC-Asheville, and i'm planning on studying Music Technology there for the next four years. The Problem is that I need to audition to get into this program. I've played the electric bass for 6 years now. I've had some experience with a little bit of jazz, but for the most part i've been playing rock music for those six years. If you asked me to do a walking line over a jazz progression, it would be pretty awkward. I would like to think that i'm a decent bass player, but i'm not sure if my rock playing could get me past these auditions....

    Has anybody been in this situation before? Does anybody know anything I could learn fairly quickly that would impress some judges? Classical pieces maybe? Famous Jazz tunes?

    I'm in urgent need here, any help would be great.

  2. JtheJazzMan


    Apr 10, 2006
    i was in a similar situation a few years back. if your not comfortable with doing walking lines, a good starting point is to show you know the triads for each chord. thats a good starting point for the walking line. playing different permutations of R -3rd-5th-R, R-5-R-3 etc etc

    also, being able to sight read is a huge bonus. a bass player who can sight read is going to have an advantage in their work, so hopefully the people marking you will see that.

    any background theory in jazz, modes scales etc is also handy

    if youre not comfortable in walking chorus or two, id assume youre not too comfortable in improvising a solo either? hopefully it shouldnt be too much of a hassle, as the whole point of going into a school is to improve your skills, rather than going in knowing everything

    good luck with the audition
  3. MikeRS


    Aug 16, 2005
    Clinton, MA
    When I did an audition at Berklee (I went on piano since I can do more with it solo and it helps my bass playing incredibly) I was told to play whatever I'm more experienced in.

    If I did all rock, they don't want you doing jazz, since they know it won't be as well as your rock playing. If all you've done is classical don't do reggae since you don't have enough experience there.

    So pretty much, give them what your strong points are since that's what's more important, learning walking lines and such will come to you at the school as will many other styles, but pretty much with all music school's or programs in schools are more concerned about how you play in general and not in any style particularly as long as you're strong in it.
  4. So let me get this straight, you've already been accepted into the college so you are definitely going there next fall, but now, you have to audition to gain admission into the special Music Technology program?


    The requirements don't seem that bad.

    I would audition with some 3-octave scales (maybe even do some cool hybrid technique like tapping or thumbing?), play an excerpt from a Bach Cello Suite (David Grossman has some audio examples somewhere), and then play them one of your own compositions.

    I think they just want to get a feel for your basic musicianship before you enter the program (audio engineering, right?), considering the fact that the program states that you are not required to pursue instrumental studies as part of your degree program.

    You would do well to inquire about private bass lesson to increase your all around knowledge of the instrument. A few semesters of music theory will help you out tremendously as well. The guys that get paid the big bucks are generally PRODUCERS, guys that have both knob-twiddling AND basic musicianship skills to assist their future clients.

    I would send an e-mail to the Head Of The Department asking for further clarification AS WELL AS what they suggest that you audition with, given your rock background as a bassist. ;)

  5. nathan


    Jul 16, 2004

    Yes, it is Audio Engineering. Bieng a producer would be my goal, but i'm sure the chances of me making a living off of it are pretty slim.

    I can sight read fairly well, and i know all the modes and major/minor scales. I'm taking AP Music theory in my high school right now, so i've had a lot of exposure to those types of things.

    If i was to play something from a classical composer like Bach, can anybody recommend a decent piece to learn and where i could find it?
  6. Honestly, even at this stage, you are WAY AHEAD of a lot of guys that start off taking producer bids at a minimum of $500,000. You just don't have a "name" yet or a "signature sound" that can command those kind of dollars.

    If you are a competent engineer and an even better businessman, you'll do fine!! Stay focused on what YOU want to do and WHY you want to do it. Try to do a summer internship at a studio, this would benefit your networking/expectations for the future. ;)

  7. In my experience, I have found most producers are in fact both engineers AND players (generally good ones with multiple instruments at their commands). So I can definitely understand the request for a musical audition.

    As for getting accepted into a university and getting accepted into a college within the university and a specific major, those are two different things. You can be accepted into a university and subsequently not get accepted to a specific college / major. If that happens you will often be allowed to go undeclared while you take gen-ed classes and re-apply, so no worries :D . Many programs don't kick in for a year anyhow, so you can just get your GE stuff out of the way if there is any problem.

    As for the audition, the first thing you need to do is ask them about it, lol. As the page on their website didn't have requirements for electric bass, that I could find, it may be flexible. Find out from them is number of pieces you'll need to perform as well as any length requirements. Ask them if there will be a reading test. Ask them about genre / style issues. You may be worrying for nothing... if they want you to do two three minute pieces, and they don't care about genre chances are you know pieces already that will fit the bill. But who knows, they may make you follow the guidelines that the upright guys need to follow, and make you play classical!

    No matter what though be sure to not try to learn a piece that is beyond your capabilities - better to nail an easier piece than to choke a more difficult one. And give yourself plenty of time to practice!

    Good luck, and let us all know!
  8. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Quoted for emphasis. This is what i did at my audition here at CCPA [Chicago College of Performing Arts-out of Roosevelt University]. At first, i wanted to do Donna Lee on electric, Autumn Leaves [chordal version] on Upright, and then a few others on each.

    What did i end up doing? The Chicken on Electric, Jive Samba on Upright. They also had me walk a Blues in F, solo over the same progression, and sight read. I doubt your audition would be like that though-as i was auditioning specifically the jazz major. My theory is i played well enough to get in. E.g. that they saw something in my playing/feel that they thought "we want him in our program". Granted, after our placements-i'm last out of 9, but-i'm learning more here than i could have back home.

    The quality of the teachers is amazing. Scott Mason on upright-he's about 99% of why i came to this school, and then after i got here-i wanted to find an electric specific teacher so then i got a hold of Tom Mendel through Wicked [literally walked up to the pit after the show and said "'scuse me Mr. Bass Player, do you give lessons?"]. Between studying with these 2 guys, and hopefully Scott Pazera in Lafayette over the summer-i'm stoked about where my playing will be in a few months/years.

    So a really long winded way of saying this: Play something that will demonstrate your strengths to the school. They can build on your weaknesses while fine tuning your strengths. The right teacher makes a world of difference.

    Good Luck
  9. cat_s


    Apr 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I'm hoping to apply to Colorado State Uniiversity music school for a major in Music Therapy. They say their audition requirements are pretty strict.
    I've never done the formal audition thing before and I have no idea what to expect.
    I play electric, and I'm a pretty basic, groove-oriented player. That's just the way I like it. If they want to hear super chops I'm SOL.
    Will I have to sight-read? Play something of their chosing by ear? Improvise?
    I'd like to prepare for this, but I have no idea what I should work on--other than everything, and that's not real useful.
    If anyone out there has any advice, I'd appreciate it.
    Thanks.:eek: :bag: :help: :bassist:
  10. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    There's a lot of good advice in this thread and in other threads in this forum, do a search.

    Be prepared! If you walk in not knowing what you're going to do they'll probably start asking stuff that you don't know. Very bad impression.

    1.) Get in touch and ask EXACTLY what they want to hear.
    2.) Get some things together that you can do and then do them well. No one is impressed with bad performances of any level of music. One of the things you are showing is that you know what being prepared feels like.
    3.) Play this material for other people. Friends, family, pets, local musicians and teachers. Don't make the first time you play for someone be the audition... very bad choice. If you really want to up the ante and put some presure on yourself for practice, invite some friends over for a party and play for them (before you open the keg!).

    You are showing them you know what being prepared is. You are showing them what level you play on. You are showing them your confidence and ability to present yourself to others.
  11. cat_s


    Apr 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Thanks, BassChuck. I appreciate your advice.
    I've auditioned for bands more times than I can count, and played on stage enough that just playing in front of people isn't what worries me. It's the whole formal music school thing that's freaking me out. That's a different world from the garage and the bar scene, and I don't know what they expect.
    Thanks again for taking the time to answer.:) :bassist:

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