Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Auditions: Leeds College of Music


On Friday it will be three weeks since I travelled to Leeds for my first conservatoire audition.  I'd chosen to play Faure's Fantasie and the first two movements of Bach's Sonata in E major, however, a couple of nights before I realised that, although my pieces were both up to standard and ready to be performed, I just wasn't comfortable with the Bach.  I had talked through the different repatoire options with my flute teacher and she'd advised me not to play anything unaccompanied but in the end I decided to play the Sarabande from Bach's Sonata in A minor for solo flute - a piece I love and had prepared just in case.  Now, don't get me wrong, I am not in any way suggesting that you also change your repatoire the night before your audition (!) but I would advise having something ready that you really enjoy playing and are completely comfortable with as a safety net.  I know myself too well to attempt playing something I'm not 100% happy with and I really believe changing my piece had a huge effect on my overal performance.

Luckily for me, scales have never been something I've struggled with - I've always really enjoyed methodical work so technical preparation for exams and auditions has never been something I've worried about (apart from the terrifying moment before a few months before my grade 8 when I realised I couldn't play any of my technical work).  However, scales and arpeggios in particular seem to be the area that's most affected when I'm nervous so I did spend a little extra time just making sure I was really happy with them.

The Day

I was initially given an audition time of 9am but, as our journey there was at least 5 hours long, I'd contacted them and had the time changed to 3.30pm.  This meant that with the extra time I was able to play for a few minutes when I first woke up - something I always find really helps my confidence.  Our journey there was fairly easy, changing at London Bridge to catch our train to Leeds and arriving there with plenty of time.  Leeds is such a beautiful place and I know I'd be really happy living and studying there.

When we arrived at the college, the students volentering gave me my sight-reading test (such an unexpected luxury having it to play through before-hand!) and two free tea and coffee vouchers for me and my mum - so sweet!  My rehearsal with the pianist went really well and I was taken through to the audition room.  The actual audition was such a lovely experience and apart from shaking through the scales, everything went well.  After I'd played, the panel asked me about a couple of things I'd mentioned in my personal statement and why I chose Leeds and then it was over!  I left feeling so happy and grateful that my first conservatoire audition had gone well, whatever the outcome.

This was absolutely the best experience I could've hoped for and I would be over the moon if the rest of my auditions go even half as well!

Next up, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama!

As always, please leave a comment if you have any questions - I'm happy to help in any way I can. 

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