ETSU’s Music Days offered incoming students an opportunity to experience different performing venues and explore musical genres on Tuesday.
“I think we do a really good job at allowing them to experience different things,” said Alan Stevens, associate director of choral activities. “We have pop concerts, classical concerts, some students who cross over to bluegrass and classical music. There’s always a lot of stuff going on.”
As a part of the accreditation for the department of music by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, students are required to complete a one-time audition in order to be accepted into the program.
Whether a vocalist or instrumentalist, Music Days offer students experience needed for their future.
“Everybody — regardless of what they’re singing or playing — everybody prepares an audition piece,” Stevens said. “They prepare something either with their high school teacher or their private teacher, so they place that piece for us.”
According to Stevens, there is an extensive repertoire of different performance pieces students can choose from, depending on the major the student is applying for.
The vocalists tend to perform a skill set, where they work on tone and sing it back, while the instrumentalists perform etudes and scales.
“There’s all sorts of components, and we also do some things like basic interview questions,” Stevens said.
Along with the audition, students are able to attend classes, observe rehearsal and take a tour of the campus and Mathes building to get a sense of the music on campus.
“We try to make sure they have a broad understanding of what ETSU has to offer because most of the students will audition at more than one place,” Stevens said.
When choosing students to become part of the program, Stevens said he pays attention to talent and work ethic.
“People who can exceed, even if you’re not where you need to be as far as talent, music theory or music background, if we see that someone who really wants to learn — someone who really wants to work hard — that’s the most important thing,” he said.
By practicing frequently and being prepared for auditions, Stevens said he hopes students will grow and learn from each experience.
“I think it’s a starting point, really. Musician careers are based off of auditions,” Stevens said. “Any job that we do, we can’t just send in a resume. We always have to prove we have the musical talent. Auditioning for a college is a good starting point.”
This starting point enables students to develop their musical skills in an academic environment.
“We have classes built into the program about how to improve audition skills, how to walk in and impress, really show them that you know what you’re doing,” Stevens said.
A musician’s career is filled with a variety of auditions from performing one night gigs to touring all over the country or world.
“We give our students a lot of performance opportunities,” Stevens said. “We try to let them experience as much as the real world as possible.”