22 Oct 2019

My Audition Day Experience – ACM Student Alys Sheahan

The ACM audition day is a very positive experience with welcoming staff and a friendly atmosphere throughout. I am a first year diploma student and completed my audition for the vocals performance course just under a year ago. Being an international student, relocated from The Netherlands, ACM was very flexible with my audition date; I was able to carry out my audition on a non-scheduled audition day which was very helpful and forgiving. I found that members of staff were kind to direct me to the right place and were extremely encouraging before the audition itself.

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What Was Involved?

At the ACM audition day, I was asked beforehand to prepare a piece of music to sing (or play) which could be accompanied by a backing track, acapella, or accompanied by myself; I chose to do the latter. This performance was filmed with an iPad by the one member of staff auditioning for a record of the performance.

Following the performance, I completed a brief interview where I was asked questions about what I aspire to do in the future, my previous experiences and what I would like to take away from ACM. This interview was to get a better idea of me as a musician rather than being an assessment. Included in the interview were basic theory questions to test my current knowledge such as “what is a time signature?” and “what is a key signature?”.

In addition, I was asked to sing two scales: an arpeggio and a five-tone scale where I was given the key chord and expected to sing these scales without accompaniment by the piano. As a singer, this is not a very challenging task which again reflects the lighthearted spirit of the experience. After this brief task, the member of staff explained how as a singer, we can use a specific exercise including a plastic straw to help us warm up, which we later demonstrated.

Furthermore, when the audition was complete, I was given a “yes” regarding my place at ACM and was told to visit the front desk to find out more information upon the next steps. Reception explained how I will need to send them my GCSE results through email on results day to secure my place. Finally, they noted down both my email and that of my parents to be able to contact us with more information about the course.

Highlights

The audition day was not something to worry or have concerns about as ACM had the student’s best interest in mind. An example of this was shown throughout the brief interview: the questions asked were not to assess your musicianship, rather to gain a better understanding of your background and ambitions. The focus was heavily on how ACM can help you on your journey which made the experience very positive.

Similarly, the fact that we had the freedom to choose our audition piece/song was very reassuring and made the whole experience feel comfortable. I had rehearsed my song many times prior to the audition and I felt confident going into the audition because of this. Another way ACM made the experience less pressurised was by including the exercise with the plastic straw; it was not something that was being assessed or marked, instead it was a way to make the student feel more relaxed in the audition environment.

Key Tips:

  • Make sure you have practiced your piece of music until you are very confident with it. I chose a song which I was comfortable with, yet was still challenging enough for it to be exciting for the listener.
  • Be prepared for questions such as : “what do you want to get out of ACM?”, ‘what are your aspirations for the future?’, ‘what are some of your previous experiences?’ and ‘what is your proudest musical moment?’
  • There is no need to stress over the audition, enjoy the experience and do not hesitate to ask questions.

Learn more in our How To Prepare For a Music Audition article.


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