Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Making the Cut: Definitive Question and Answer Section

Below is the ultimate, uncut Q&A about everything you need to know and more about entrance auditions to a BMus program at the University level (including what NOT to wear!). Please find the question in bold with answers after the respective school that responded.

How important is the letter of recommendation?
UofT: They are read; we are looking to see if they are honest depictions of what we hear
Ottawa: We weigh them against what we hear - musicality, technical development, language skills - as this letter can cooberate what is display. Ultimately, they are not going to save a bad audition.
Western: The applied teacher that writes a letter can be biased so we look at what other people wrote letters.
Laurier: We give this the least weight in the portfolio. The Grade 12 makes and audition are the most important.

How important is the high school grade average? and what is the minimum you accept?
RCM: mid 70%'s; weighted less than the auditions
Brock: mid 70%'s
Ottawa: mid 70%'s; audition is the most important
Western: 83% was the cut-off last year
UfoT: No mark was given but it was stated that high marks receive a $5000 scholarship and a lower than "normal" average will be monitored in the first year under academic probation.
Cambrian: Grade not important, we will take anyone.

What are the RCM Grade levels for piano and theory?
RCM: Grade 3 Harmony but we will help you get there
Brock: Grade 8 voice, Grade 2 theory, Grade 6 piano (but Grade 4 accepted)
Western: Grade 8-ARCT Voice, Grade 3 theory to be comfortable, Grade 6 piano but will take courses to get you there
Ottawa: Grade 8 minimum voice, placement theory tests

What would you like sings to wear for auditions?
York: This is a job interview and somewhat formal, dress appropriately - NO jeans, flip flops, t-shirts
Ottawa: We won't mark you down if you are casual
RCM: Ladies, please wear skirts below the knees!

REMEMBER: before you are ever heard, you are seen!

How much do you weigh the interview portion?
Western: Heavily! This gives a sense of background; we see it as a two-way conversation and a way to observe communication ability
Laurier: This broadens the picture of who you are; ho you present as a person.
Ottawa: What is motivating you to study voice? Have you thought this through? Can you articulate this?
Brock: Weeds out the students who don't really want to study classical music
York: Go to concerts before you do an audition because we ask "what have you heard lately?" to check your level of interest and commitment.

Do you take the best singers or do you accept a balance of voice types and do you have a cap?
RCM: Try to balance but will take a voice we want
Ottawa: Male with pants will get in...:-)
Western: We guarantee residence space for all first years to our numbers need to be precise- this year we accepted 46 women and 8 men
Laurier: No set number; generally average around 18-21 incoming singers but this year they accepted 32 singers of which, 7 were men.

What is the Language requirement for entrance and how does the school handle it for the degree?
Laurier: 2 contrasting pieces, 1 in English; all first years take intro to International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
York: 2 contrasting pieces; first years take English and Italian diction and only have to sing in those 2 languages. In second year we add French and German diction
Western: Audition must demonstrate singing in English and 2 other languages; All first years take IPA (part of core curriculum) in Lyric Diction; first year jury must demonstrate 3 languages, second year must demonstrate 4 languages
Ottawa: sing 4 songs for the audition including baroque, German lied, french melody and own choice; We offer baroque classes, lieder, melody and 20th C with vocal skills covered in IPA for French German and English diction.; we are a bilingual university so french is very important.
Brock: 3 pieces with 1 in English
RCM: 7 pieces including French Melodie, English, Oratorio, Opera and German Lied; we offer diction in French and German each year and English and Italian in alternate years
UofT: weekly classes for Italian diction, German Lied and French Melodie in first and second year; optional 3rd and 4th levels for all languages.

How many singers auditions for your school?
Cambrian: 40 auditions, 15 accepted, 8 registered
UfoT: 200 auditions, 35-40 accepted into all programs (BMus, MM, DMA etc) for a total of 100 singers
York: 50 auditions, 18-20 accepted; 50 singers in the program
Laurier: 120-140 auditions, 18-21 accepted; 70 singers in the programs
Western: 200 auditions, 60 accepted; 200 singers in the program
Ottawa: 80-90 auditions; 20-25 accepted; 50 singers in the program
RCM: 40-50 auditions, 3-5 accepted

Are students required to take other non-music courses?
All programs require electives to complete the degree. Each program differs in what they can take.

As always, make sure you check with each school to confirm the information shared above.

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