We know audition day can already be stressful enough, but we’re here to help! With everything going on with Covid-19 Audition Days around the country are looking a little different than normal, and Memphis is no different. The School of Music has worked hard to develop a virtual audition process that is accessible, easy, and effective, and keeps everyone safe and healthy. Here is what to expect on your virtual Audition Day for the University of Memphis.
By now you know what day you are auditioning, but you may still have some questions about what your day will look like. Hopefully, this article will help answer some of those questions for you.
Pre-Covid times our audition days would start with you being greeted by students and faculty as you entered the School of Music before we held our General Welcome Meeting. This has been slightly altered for our virtual format. The University of Memphis is holding their auditions through the Accepted portal Audition Room; this is the same portal that is used for our applications to the school. Students will log on to their Accepted account and will be brought into a virtual lobby room. Once in the lobby, students will see a welcome message and a check list, reminding them to make sure that they have everything they need, such as their camera set up and their microphone settings on the proper setting.
Once it is time for the Virtual Welcome meeting a button will pop up for the students to click on. This will take them to the live-streamed welcome meeting where they will hear from Dr. Kevin Sanders, the Director of the School of Music, Heather Hampton, the Recruitment and Enrollment Officer, and several others. The meeting is actively live streamed from Harris Hall and is a great opportunity for our potential students to get to know a little more about our program and faculty.
After the Welcome Meeting has concluded the students will have a little break before they begin the next part of their day, which is the program meetings. In these program meetings the students will divide into smaller groups based on the program that they are auditioning for, such as music education, music performance, music industry, etc. During these program meetings students will get the chance to meet professors from their specific program and have some time to ask some questions. The parents will also be able to have some Q&A time as well during this time slot.
Now, after the program meetings this is where each student’s individual schedule really comes into play. This is when the audition time slots begin. The students will return to the virtual lobby and wait for a button to appear welcoming them into the audition room, which is hosted via Zoom. While they wait in the lobby, they will have the chance to talk with current music students, known as Music Ambassadors. The Music Ambassadors are there to be of any help that they can to the auditioning students, whether its answering questions about the program or where to go and what link to click, or even just to be a friendly face as they await their audition time.
It is important for students to know that there will be a lot of downtime during this period, but don’t worry, the Music Ambassadors are there to help is you feel like anything is wrong. As is common with all audition days, there is the possibility of them running slightly behind, but the Music Ambassadors will do their best to keep you informed if its running behind and the button for your audition room will not light up until they are ready to welcome you into the room.
There are several factors that go into an audition, as many students are aware, but our students and faculty have a few words of advice to ease any concerns that auditioning students might have.
“Get comfortable with Zoom and do your research,” suggests Tahja Belin, sophomore Piano Performance major. “Actually have someone listen to you ahead of time. Set up your own Zoom meeting and have them listen to you.”
Our faculty is aware that technology is not perfect and there may be bumps on audition day, but that’s ok. “We will handle it with laughter and grace,” said Professor Mary Wilson, Professor of Voice and Undergraduate Scholarship Coordinator.
When asked how students can best prepare for their audition day Professor Wilson had this to say, “We are not looking for perfection. We are looking for enthusiasm and who wants to be there. We really try and make everyone feel as welcome and relaxed as we can. We want people to do their best.”
So, take a deep breath and remember the words of Professor Wilson, “We want people to do their best.”