Getting ready for college

Posted by: Amy

Getting ready for college - 05/24/03 07:05 PM

It's been so long since I've been here probably most of you don't even know me.
Anyways...I'm getting ready to go to college in the fall as a music education major. I will be auditioning for performance when I get there, still can't figure out why I didn't do that this
So this is what I was thinking of playing, let me know if you have any suggestions...
Bach's Italian Concerto
Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata
Liszt's Un Sospiro
Bartok's Suite Op. 14

And also does anyone know any good websites for music theory or sightsinging? I'd like to keep working on that all summer.
Posted by: CrashTest

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/24/03 07:09 PM

That looks like a good program. What school are you going to? I will be a piano performance major at the Hartt school of music in the fall, so we are in the same boat! (Slighty different majors..)

For music theory, I study Walter Piston's Harmony. (Couterpoint as well, as though I prefer Kennan's) As for sight singing, any choral book can give you some good practice, but there are methods for solfege out there. (Like Bona's).

I had to have all of my auditions last spring, since the emphasis is on performance. I alos hope to branch out into composition, but i don't know what they might offer there to a performance major. Good luck!
Posted by: Amy

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/24/03 11:11 PM

Hartt! A good school! Congrats!
I'll be at Eastman in the fall.
I'm hoping to graduate with music education and piano performance. I should've just auditioned for that last year but it was kinda a pain in the ass because there is a lot of preliminary audition stuff for piano performance. I just kinda figured I wouldn't actually be able to go there so I just said screw it. lol So now I'll have to audition again, which may not be that bad since the faculty will already know me when I audition to add that.
Posted by: Praetorian_AD

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/25/03 06:48 PM

Amy! It's sure been a while since we've seen you around here. Welcome back! Sounds like you've been having a busy time musically (your prepared audition pieces are beyond me anyway!). I've not really got any good tips for you I'm afraid, just wanted to wish you luck with your degree. Don't practice too hard now!

Posted by: Amy

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/25/03 07:53 PM

Nice seeing you again too!
I forgot how much I miss all the people here!
You said "don't practice too hard now" but I'm afraid that I DO have to practice as hard as ever now if I want to make it in this crazy world. I've been out seeing all of the amazing talent that's out there and I'm gonna have to work really hard in order to measure up. It's kinda scary to think that I may not be good enough to follow my dream of being a professor and performer.
Posted by: Dan

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/25/03 08:25 PM

Hi Amy,

Welcome back. It's nice to see you posting again. I'm sure you'll do great on your auditions.

And EASTMAN! Way to go!

Posted by: PianoMuse

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/25/03 11:00 PM

Hey Amy! The other Amy here. Congrats, girl! You rock!
The best piece of advice I can give you, and these were hard learned lessons (and I am still learning)..

Remember that no matter what you do, you are an amazing person with a gift that most people in the world don't have. Judging yourself by those few people who might be better than you is only going to lead to frustration.

Also, you WILL have professors who will expect more out of you than you can realistically give, possibly including your piano teacher. Remember to set realistic goals, and you DONT have to learn every single piece of music they throw your way ( which will be a lot!).

Let the word "NO" be your best friend ( especially when you have all those people asking you to accompany them because you are so amazing!).

Have fun, and last piece of advice:
Don't forget to bring sandals for the showers! Those things can get really gross!
Posted by: Amy

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/25/03 11:33 PM

haha thanks guys! And I'll definatly remember the sandals!
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/27/03 01:53 PM

Hi Amy, good luck in college. Do you know who your teacher will be?
The only thing thats strikes me in your audition rep., is the Bach Italian Concerto. I really think you should play something with a fugue, or if not, one of the suites.
Also, is the Waldstein a new piece for you. If you have been playing it for a while, fine, but if it is new for you, you might think of another Beethoven that you have been playing longer.
Posted by: ryan

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/27/03 04:06 PM

I used the Italian Concerto successfully in an audition. It isn't as easy as it looks to play cleanly. I agree about the Waldstein - it is very challanging to play cleanly unless you have had it in your fingers for a while. Even then... Not saying you shouldn't play it, just take a good objective look at it.

Posted by: EHpianist

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/27/03 05:29 PM

Originally posted by Amy:
You said "don't practice too hard now" but I'm afraid that I DO have to practice as hard as ever now if I want to make it in this crazy world. I've been out seeing all of the amazing talent that's out there and I'm gonna have to work really hard in order to measure up. It's kinda scary to think that I may not be good enough to follow my dream of being a professor and performer.[/b]
Amy, if I may be allowedm here's a little bit of advice which has come in very useful for me and which I only wish I had learned it earlier: MARKETING!! Classical musicians in general have hideous business and marketing strategies and essentially live the little fantasy that if they practice oh-so-very-hard enough they will eventually win a big competition, or be discovered by an agent and "make it". This is absolutely not the case in today's world, you could spend your life in the practice room and be the best pianist in the world but if you don't have the 'appearance' of being the best pianist in the world people will go right over you. Winning competitions is also not what it used to be. There are so many thousands of competition winners now that you'll get lost in the crowd after a couple of years.

You'll be years ahead of your peers if you get a business package together which should include:

-Black and White professional Photos, preferrably not the typical geeky studio shot but something that will catch people's eye and say "I'm different"
-Bio, Resume, Repertoire List, Performance list, program recommendations, any articles or reviews that have appeared about you.
-CD recording: this is the biggest pain to make for a package but in today's world if you have no recording of yourself you might as well get another career. This is your business calling card. Figure out where is the best place to do it, rent your own equipment if you have to, find someone to do some basic editing for you and get at least 45 minutes of music on a CD.
-Business card: If you have frequently changing mailing addresses there are options so that you can use your business card for years to come. 1)Get a JFAX number. This is a free online service where you sign up and they assign you your own telephone number in the States where people can call and either send you faxes or voicemail and the company forwards it to your computer so you can get it wherever you are. This way you can keep the same number no matter where you move to. This would be your business number, the one you give people when they ask you "How can I reach you" if they want to hire you for a concert. (It's also useful for the men who ask for your number but you don't reallywant to give it to them!) The service is free to receive faxes and voice mail, if you want to use the number for sending stuff then there is a monthly fee. I have had the free service for 3 years and it has been incredibly useful and never had a glitch. You will need to download their free software to whatever computer you'll be using, though. Go to to sign up. For the business card you can also add your email address and website.
-WEBSITE- if you don't already have one, get one!! It is so useful when approaching people in order to get concerts. I have gotten concerts from across the ocean just by mailing my CD to a name I found on the internet and asking them to visit our site. You need to have photos, repertoire list, soundclips, and a bio at the very least.

The above list requires the investment of anywhere from $500 to as high as you want it, depending on if you have friends that will do things as favors or if you will do it yourself or hire professionals but it will provide returns that will make it pay for itself and more. Do not shy away from selling your image as "the **it", do not let the conservatory mentality make you believe that it is against the musical "art". And remember that just because you market yourself this way doesn't mean you rnecessarily are or need to act like a snob. It is just an *appearance* and the people who know you personally will know better. If music is what you want your career to be then you have to treat it as a business as well, and if you learn to separate what you do for yourself (the art part of it) and what you do for your career ( the business aspect) then you will probably be one of the few in your graduating class that will actually have a successful, fulfilling music career. It's not just how good you are, it's how good others *perceive* you to be. Remember, people are gullible and it is hard to shake off first impressions!

Enjoy your time at Eastman, it was also one of my choices for schools when I went to college but I didn't like the climate there and chose Boston instead, only to find it was almost equally frigid!!! ;\)

Posted by: Mr. Gould

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/27/03 07:03 PM

Hi Amy, I havn't seen you here for years!!
I really like your program, and good luck in college!

(Sorry I dont have any advice to give) ;\)
Posted by: EHpianist

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/27/03 07:18 PM

PS- I just saw that you have a webpage, nice to see you're already ahead! It's a start, though if I may recommend, you should register a website domain name. If you make it your name then the only people that will access it are those that remember your name! Should be something related to what you want people to seek you out for. Then try and get a server that doesn't have popup windows. If you need to have a free webhost because of economics there are some that only advertise with banners and have no popups, which is better. Finally, I want to SEE you, HEAR you, know more about what you do with the piano (so will concert promoters and fans). My website is ok, it isn't great. For a very in-depth website (and one that requires a lot of time and money) you can go to and also look at other musicians' websites, see what works and what doesn't. Ok, that's it for now. As long as you get this stuff done over the next few years you're in the game!! Just don't wait until graduation day! ;-)

Posted by: Praetorian_AD

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/27/03 07:33 PM

Wow, that's some pretty first-class advice you're getting. I'm sure a lot of people would kill for a taste of that experienced know-how!
Posted by: CrashTest

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/27/03 07:34 PM

Elena, I like you advice. I will also be an undergraduate performance major next year. When is it a good time to start marketing? I want to be fully prepared to give a concert when needed, so when is the best time to start an aggresive marketing plan? (2nd or 3rd year of college, or right now?)
Posted by: EHpianist

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/27/03 08:01 PM

Hi CrashTest,

Glad I could give you some ideas. I suggest you get your stuff together as soon as possible for two reasons, 1)your later versions of the material will get better as you go along, and 2) it is always easier and faster to update than to start from scratch if someone all of a sudden wants your materials.

Also, the point of all this marketing is for it to be your followup. People will not come to you asking you to perform, you have to literally walk up to them and say, "Hi, I'm so and so, and I would like to send you my information package if you don't mind for a possible performance with your organization." It's unnerving at first but you soon realize that no one will tell you "no". They will all say "sure, here's my business card". And that's where your package and website and everything else jumps in. Classical musicians are sooo disorganized that promoters are generally impressed when anyone with any semblance of business sense actually shows up. You have to do this actively.

When to start actively seeking concerts? Ideally you want to feel confident enough about your performance ability that the fact that you're getting hired and paid to perform won't throw you off balance (the first time I ever got paid for a recital I had major stress because people were PAYING me for my music and this opened up a whole new can of psychological worms!). If you feel confident that your performance will go through without major mishaps then you need to start sending the packages and handing out the business cards. But like I said, it takes at least 3 months to get the whole package together and this is working actively those 3 months on it every week. What you don't want is to hand out your business card and when the guy says to you 'sure, send me your package' you say, 'it'll be about four months, do you mind?' You'll be long forgotten by then.

Another thing which they don't teach at music conservatories is that in the first few years of your performing career, you have to spend a significant chunk of your free/practice time promoting yourself (ie. making phonecalls, updating and sending packages, writing mails, making new contacts through the internet [which by the way is a WONDERFUL aid]) and this will cut away time from your practicing. I spend a minimum of 21 hours a week on the business aspect of getting concerts and making sure all arrangements are made. We've been trying to find a manager to do all this for us but so far have been unsuccessful because I really haven't had enough time to actively pursue it with all the other stuff I have to do! Just remember that if you don't do it, you could practice forever and no one will ever know!

If only someone had told me all this when I was 18!! ;\)

Best of luck with everything!

Posted by: Amy

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/27/03 09:28 PM

Thank you for all of your wonderful advice! I actually already have a business card that I give out quite often since I do a lot of performing, accompanying, and private teaching.
Quite an impressive resume you have! I'd love to hear you play live sometime! Do you do any teaching yourself?
Posted by: The D's Pianist

Re: Getting ready for college - 05/27/03 09:58 PM


Wow! I had no idea how business-oriented this was... I suppose I had always adhered to the naive assumption that if you're good, then it will all fall into place. Thank you VERY much for making this apparent; being 16, I should have some time to get my act together. ;\)