Deadlines Are for Real!

Understanding the Audition Process
(Part 1 – Overview and Deadlines)


It’s reasonable to believe that a good way to approach audition preparation is to read through and compare the audition requirements of a bunch of college websites. If you do that, you’ll find the schools don’t have a common approach to auditioning.

You might also think that because you have participated in all-state ensembles, earned superior ratings in competitions, or won a state concerto competition, that you only need to repeat these achievements. After all, the pieces you’ve played are a lot more challenging than the pieces colleges are asking for on their audition requirements.

It turns out the audition process is unique to each school. If you don’t follow their specific requirements, you may end up shut out of an audition placement or fail the audition.


No matter how different schools’ requirements are, you can count on one thing: they all have deadlines. Here are a few tips about deadlines:

  • Application and audition deadlines are non-negotiable. If you miss a deadline, just listen for the whooshing sounds as it goes by. You’re out of luck.
  • Some schools require that you are admitted before scheduling an audition date.
  • Some schools require you only apply before scheduling an audition date.
  • Mark important dates on your calendar and keep track of them!

Pre-Screening Videos

Check to see if the school requires a screening video. Some schools want you to submit (either directly or through a link) a video of you performing an audition piece. The school will tell you what to play and if there are requirements for the recording. The requirements for a video screening audition can be different from your live audition.

Recruiter Contact

Another near-guarantee: once you’ve made contact with a school, a recruiter will call you. How great that they are calling and telling you all about their program, right? What’s actually happening is the recruiter is gathering information about YOU. They want to find out how interested you are in going to that school.

Another prediction: the recruiter will ask you, "Do you understand the application process and deadlines?" You answer should be something like, "Yes, I’ve read over the application process in great detail. I’m working on completing the application right now and I can promise you that I will meet the deadline of October 1 without question. In fact, I am confident that all of my material will be to you by September 20th since that is the deadline I set for myself."

While you’re talking, the recruiter is making notes in their log and marking "Strong Interest." Congratulations! You can be assured that the recruiter is immediately reporting to the Dean and related faculty members about your great interest in their institution!

Now you are a part of their conversations and they are already thinking of ensemble placement for you as well as scholarship opportunities.


If you give an answer that is closer to, "I’m looking at several programs at the present time and beginning the process with my favorite three and yes, you guys are one of those three. So, after this call if you could text me everything that I need to do, then I will add that to my list," the recruiter is probably not reporting this conversation to the Dean or related faculty members. Instead, they are marking "Possible Interest." You never want an institution to denote you as a "Possible Interest" because it is very hard to recover from this less than interested first impression.

This is an important first hurdle! Now that you’re ready to master deadlines, I’ll be back next week to talk about scales and arpeggios.

Dr. Randall Bayne, CEO