Welcome to the flute studio! There’s an open chair waiting just for you. Prospective students are welcome to contact me to arrange a visit to Wheaton College’s Conservatory of Music or to Elmhurst College’s Music Department respectively. I’m always happy to meet with you, and I invite you to take a lesson, attend a studio class, music class, or ensemble rehearsal. You can also contact the admissions office at Music@Wheaton.edu to attend a Wheaton Connection event or contact Gayle Bisesi at BisesiG@net.elmhurst.edu to arrange a campus visit.
I’m often asked about preparing for college level auditions. The absolute top priority for the serious high school student is to find a highly respected flute teacher who has experience guiding students through the college application and audition process. Equally important is academic success, since all colleges will be looking at both GPA’s and standardized test scores in addition to your audition results. Also, try your best to be experienced in all aspects of music, for example:
1. Practice diligently. If you are not a fan of practicing, a music major may not be the right thing for you. Our typical performance major practices about 3 hours a day, and non-performers practice anywhere from 1 – 3 hours a day.
2. Perform as much as possible. Organize a recital (or multiple recitals!) for friends and family at a local church, a school gymnasium or auditorium, or even in your living room. This is especially useful to practice performing your audition repertoire and to practice managing nerves. To prepare for auditions in January or February, you might consider performing a recital in December. Participate in as many competitions as you can, and perform in masterclasses if guest artists come to town.
3. Participate in large ensembles like your school band and orchestra. Stronger performers will benefit from performing in local youth or community orchestras.
4. Take piano lessons to learn the fundamentals to prepare for “class piano”. Take high school AP theory classes, enroll in a high school level music school (like the Merit School or the Fellows Program at the New Music School in Chicago), or work with a tutor to help you prepare for theory proficiency exams and rigorous theory coursework in college.
Competition to enter any high level collegiate music program is very intense and is mostly contingent upon a short 15 minute audition. It is important to be very well-prepared and to make a strong impression. A preliminary lesson with me or any other college teacher during your junior year is a good idea to make sure that you are on track and to see if the program will be a good fit for you. Although the list below is not required, it is an example of a good program to prepare. You should always practice the pieces in their entirety, and you should never prepare for an audition with only an excerpt of a movement. Choose repertoire that is a good fit for your strengths as a player and your level of playing. It is not advisable to prepare repertoire that is too difficult, even if it seems like it would be impressive.
Complete Solos: JS Bach Sonata in E Major, Mozart Concerto in G Major, any piece from the book Music by French Composers, edited by Louis Moyse
A movement of a standard concerto, for more advanced students: Nielsen, Ibert, Quantz
One etude, fully up to tempo, from any of the following: Karg-Elert 30 Caprices, Berbiguier 18 Etudes, Andersen Etudes
Orchestral excerpts are optional, but useful to prepare: Bizet Carmen, Entr’acte, Beethoven Leonore No. 3, or Brahms 4th Symphony
Scales and Arpeggios: Taffanel-Gaubert, 17 Daily Exercises (Ej. #4) or Reichert
Plan to travel into town the day before your scheduled audition. Make sure that you are eating and sleeping well for several days beforehand. A good guideline for dress would be “business casual”. Also, remember that professional courtesy goes a long way in all interactions, especially when you are trying to make a great first impression with more than just your playing. On the day of your audition, practice for a short time before you leave for the audition, and plan to arrive on campus around an hour before your first commitment. This will allow you time if you have problems with traffic or parking. Prior to your audition, warm up as you prefer, and be ready to perform approximately 10 – 15 minutes before your scheduled time. Finally, and most importantly, enjoy this wonderful opportunity to share your joy for music and have confidence in the skills you’ve worked so hard to master.