March is audition month for dancers and musicians and callback month for actors, so the Journal has compiled some of the Admissions bloggers’ audition tips and cautionary tales.
Know your material
Choose material that you gravitate toward and love— and know your text very well! Now’s a good time to make sure you’ve been preparing the correct works—you’re not going to want to realize that you’ve been playing the Bach E Major Sonata instead of the E-flat Major Sonata the day before (I may have learned this the hard way). The most essential aspect to auditioning is being so prepared that you could do the audition in your sleep. I try to spend weeks practicing my audition pieces over and over again until I know they are exactly where I want them, so even if something does go wrong, I will still have the ability and confidence to easily get back on course.
Before you leave home or arrive at your audition, double- and triple-check that you have everything that you need with you, whether it’s music, rosin, pointe shoes, notes, snacks (very important), water, your phone charger, some form of identification (sometimes just a school ID won’t suffice, especially when flying), and a backup plan or two in case something goes wrong. And if you have to run to a CVS for ChapStick right before your audition, don’t sweat it!
Don’t stress about your outfit, but…
As for your audition outfit, don’t stress too much about it—as if you don’t have enough to think about!—but choose something that looks professional, makes you feel confident, and will enable you to perform comfortably.
Arrive with time to spare
I once miscalculated the amount of time transportation would take for an audition. I arrived late and was overexcited and out of breath and all the chaos made my head fuzzy. And then at one point, the words completely slipped from my mind. Though I managed to fake it ’til I made it and was lucky enough to be accepted, I could have lost my chance completely. Moral of the story: always show up early.
Make sure to allow yourself ample time to get there (early!), but don’t be surprised if auditions are running late. If you need to eat before performing, make sure you can do so as well. Treat this like any other performance—if you think it’s unwise to try something new, don’t.
Do it for you
Audition for you, not your parents, your mentor, whoever—do it because you want it. Enjoy it! I learned more about acting during my three-day callback audition process than I did during my two years working as an actor before training at Juilliard.
A word to the parents
Parents: we know this process is nerve-wracking for you too—go to Starbucks, go to the student cafeteria, ask questions of the current Juilliard students with nametags (they’re here to help)—and know that Juilliard has been running these auditions for many, many years and is still finding ways to make the audition process better every year. Be yourself In the interview, your best bet is to just be yourself. They don’t expect you to know everything; you are here to learn.
In the interview, your best bet is to just be yourself. They don’t expect you to know everything; you are here to learn. Be humble Accepting and recognizing that you still have a lot to learn shows a certain type of maturity that many people forget about: humility. Don’t be pretentious!
Enjoy the process
Once you’ve navigated the hurdles of wintertime travel, pre-audition hunger (or lack of appetite), and finding your way to the proper floor in the Juilliard building, everything will fall into place—you’re in your element. You know what you are doing. Your audition is meant to show your enthusiasm and dedication to your art—so even if everything doesn’t go perfectly, remember to enjoy the process!
Think of the panel as an audience rather than as judges—I try to change my mindset from Will they like me? to I will offer whatever I can to touch their hearts and brighten their days.
You’re supposed to be here
Early in my freshman year I told a faculty member that [non-Juilliard] people had said I was not supposed to be chosen for this school. The teacher responded, “You are supposed to be here. We don’t make mistakes.” Those words freed me to begin my true journey. Good luck! To all the auditioners out there, a very enthusiastic good luck! You’ll end up wherever you are meant to be, so above all, enjoy this exhilarating and memorable time.
Juilliard’s young artists rely on your support.