Preparing for College Auditions |  Choosing a Place to Study Music | Preparing to be a Music Major in College | Preparing for Orchestra Auditions | Competition | Crack Prevention (Oboe, Clarinet)

Preparing for College Auditions

A Student's Guide: Auditioning for Music School by Jeanne Baxtresser, Principal Flute, New York Philharmonic.

Preparing For College Auditions by Dr. Ed Lacy, Professor, University of Evansville.

Preparing for College Auditions by Barrick Stees, Assistant Principal Bassoon, Cleveland Orchestra.

Choosing a Place to Study Music

Choices between the many available places to study music in college can be bewildering.   You may be asking the questions such as, “Which music school is right for me?” or “What should I be looking for in a music department?”  Here are some questions you should consider when you are making your choice.  These questions may help you settle on which music programs will fit you best.

  • Is the music program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music?  Programs that are accredited meet the highest national standards.
  • Does the music program offer a variety of performance opportunities? Are there several ensembles that will provide you performance opportunties? 
  • Will you as an undergraduate be able to compete for important roles or positions in the performance ensembles or are they usually taken by graduate students?
  • Does this school have a professional who is expert on your instrument or voice? 
  • Will your classes be taught by faculty members or are many classes taught by graduate assistants?
  • Does the music program have the facilities, equipment, and instruments needed for your education?
  • What types of scholarships or financial aid is offered?
Finding a College by Martin Schuring, Oboe Professor, Arizona State University

Preparing to be a Music Major in College

So you love music and you want to study music in college.  Perhaps it was the special choir performance you had in High School that draws you to music.  Maybe your band director was so inspiring you want to have a teaching career and be just like her.  Or it could be that holding a guitar in your hands for hours and writing your own songs inspires you to be a composer.  Whatever the magic moment you have had with music you now want to study it more.

Majoring in music is like no other degree in College.  Just consider the skills you will acquire as a music major:

  • Performance on an instrument or with your voice;
  • Piano playing (regardless of your major you will play piano)
  • Singing (regardless of your major you will be singing music)
  • Knowledge of music fundamentals including writing music, key signatures, meter signatures, major and minor scales, and intervals and triads in treble and bass clef;
  • Knowledge of music performed in many locations and different times in the world.

Mastering all of this can seem very daunting.  Don’t worry, there are hundreds of university professors whose life calling is dedicated to helping you master these new skills and gain knowledge about music.

There are, however, some things you can do right now that will better prepare you for your major in music:

  • Join a choir.
  • Take a music theory course at your high school.
  • Take piano lessons.
  • Listen to music in different styles and from different cultures.  For instance, in the next month listen to a symphony, a sonata, an opera, and a jazz performance.  Listen to some music from Africa, Latin America, or Asia .
  • Form a music ensemble.  Get together with some friends and read some music. (Check out the 
  • Compose some music for an ensemble.

Above all, enjoy all that music has to offer!

Orchestral Auditions


Oboe and English Horn
  • Selected U.S. Audition Requirements for Oboe and English Horn: Brent Register. The Double Reed, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Fall 1986)



  • Orchestral MIDI files for Double Reeds by Terry B. Ewell The mastery of a difficult orchestral passage is dependent not only upon technical mastery, but also upon an understanding of how the solo part fits with the accompaniment. The MIDI files for orchestral accompaniments for select excerpts are included on the IDRS website to further the student's understanding of each passage and to provide the student with the feel of performing the excerpt with an orchestra. Go to for further information. 

Competition and Comparison

Competition is a fact of life for musicians. Some emerge from competition with dissapointment and bitterness. Others, if successful, see winning a competition as confirmation of their superiority over other people. Both attitudes are unhealthy. A healthier solution is to look at competition as opportunities for improvement and development as a musicians and a peoople. Whether one wins or loses, the true victor will be the one who sees the competition as part of the process of improvement.

video on competition

Here is what the Bible has to say about competition and comparing yourself to others:

For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. (Galatians 6:3-5, New King James Version).