Audition for Troy University

Please note that I provide links to official Troy University pages, but any information I provide on my site is my opinion and my opinion alone.  I am not speaking for the entire school of music and it should be known that my opinion is for the purpose of sharing with students that are specifically interested in studying with me in the trombone studio at Troy University. I do not speak for any Troy music faculty other than myself.

Follow this link to the Troy University School of Music home page.  There you will find information for prospective students, including links to audition information (dates, scheduling, repertoire, etc.)

Auditioning for College Music Programs- a General Guide

Going to college to study music is a huge undertaking. There is so much information that students have to learn- so many skills that students have to develop over a few years that it takes a dedicated and focused student to be successful. You have to be motivated to handle the rigor of a college music program. The audition process is a great opportunity for us to see how much work you have already done and what your current level of motivation is.  

In the Audition

Ultimately the goal of every brass player playing any audition should be to demonstrate (as much as possible) the following four attributes. Basically I am using the audition to figure out if the potential student:

#1. Is in Control of their instrument

To be in control of one’s instrument, one must make sounds that always reflect clarity, ease fluency, and purpose.

This is most easily broken down into three aspects of sound:

In Time- Does it sound like the student has done a fair amount of work with a metronome, and does it sound he/she can play in time?  Do they rush or drag due to technical limitations? Poor timing sounds different that playing expressively to a trained ear. Do they demonstrate that they understand the difference between the two concepts?

In Tone- Is the Sound beautiful and interesting? Is it consistent through the range?

In Tune- Does it sound like the student has worked to develop their inner ear? Can they play in tune?  

These Three aspects need to be demonstrated over a certain depth. Over what depth and range can they demonstrate control? Do they demonstrate ‘ownership’ over a 2-octave range? 3-octave? At what point do they show weaknesses in time/tone/tune within their range? Do they lose clarity in fast passages? Do they lose ease in loud/soft passages? Can the potential student demonstrate these skills while sight-reading? Has the student just drilled their respective All-State scale pattern, or do they know their way around the instrument in different keys?

#2. Is Well-Informed of the Repertoire

The "Repertoire" refers to solos, etudes, and excerpts common to their respective instrument.

Solos- Has the student studied and performed solos, or just the solo they prepared for their audition? How well do they know the standard repertoire of their instrument?

Etudes- Does the student know several etude books, or just the few excerpts that they prepared for their audition?

Excerpts- Has the student prepared any orchestral excerpts that are commonly asked for on professional auditions? Does the student know what common excerpts for the trombone are? If a student has not yet started to work on excerpts, I am fine with that (frankly I think too many students start drilling excerpts too early) but if a student comes to an audition with a few excerpts well-prepared and demonstrates control and understanding, it will work to their advantage.

#3. Is the student passionate about improving in these two areas

Though this may be difficult to ascertain in an audition setting, it is not impossible. Has the student prepared materials easily found on my website? Has the student contacted me ahead of time in preparation for the audition? Are they familiar with various resources that are freely available to help prepare? If not, do they seem excited at the opportunity to learn? It amazes me how many students show up to an audition and clearly have done no homework to learn what is out there. 

#4. Has a great attitude towards life, learning, community, and the arts

This is probably the most important thing I am looking for. I want to work with students that (in addition to being motivated) are courteous, respectful, mature, and conduct themselves professionally. Does it appear that you will represent the trombone studio at Troy University with dignity, professionalism, and class? Did the student interact with anyone before coming into the audition (getting directions from the front office, meeting other students while warming up, conversing with other students waiting to audition, etc.) Sometimes this information presents itself outside of the room and sometimes it can show up in the room too. If there is any evidence of a potential student (either positive or negative) in this category, it can make or break an audition. If you cannot fit in to a supportive positive environment, you will not fit in the Troy Trombone Studio.

I do not expect any student to come in and play perfectly, but the above information is meant to shed light on what I am trying to assess in a student's playing and attitude. Many times I can hear deficiencies that I am eager to help a student address. Potential is a powerful thing. Prepare so you can show your potential!