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Preparing For Your College Music Audition : What to Wear, How to Act, and General Pointers.

Updated on December 4, 2012
The University of Southern Maine Chorale and Concert Band Perform "Carmina Burana"
The University of Southern Maine Chorale and Concert Band Perform "Carmina Burana"

How To Dress For Collegiate Success

The season of college music auditions is upon us. Many potential students are unaware of the things that a panel will look for besides musical and academic skills. The first thing that you will be judged on will be the way you present yourself to the panel. It is always a good idea to introduce yourself with a "Hello, my name is (name) and I am here to audition for (program). If the judges introduce themselves, be sure to look them in the eyes and smile genuinely at them.

For female singers, judges will be looking for you to wear a dress or a skirt past the knee. For instrumentalists, dress pants are typically allowed in mute colors. Your audition day is not the day to show them that you belong in a fashion magazine. If your outfit is too fashion forward the judges will find it distracting from the music. You want your outfit to make you look good and feel good. Don't wear anything strapless or low cut, this is not appropriate for audition attire. It is also advisable to cover your arms at least to the elbow with a shrug. Wear comfortable shoes and nude hosiery.

For males, you should wear black dress pants, black socks, black shoes. You may wear a dress top in the color of your choosing with a tie (preferably solid). A sports coat or other type of jacket may be worn for additional professionalism. You should have a clean shaven face or if you must have a beard, be sure that it is well groomed.

While this dress code may seem very old fashion, it is important to remember that your audience is likely to be comprised of members of an earlier generation and these are the things that they consider to be appropriate.

When you walk into the room, begin your walk from the foot that will swing the front of your body towards the panel. You want your first second of presentation to show the front of your body, not your backside. Keep your head up and make eye contact. Smile graciously. Above all else treat your accompanist if you have one with respect, whether you provide the accompanist or the school provides the accompanist. The way you treat others in the audition room and outside the audition room reflects on your personality. Be supportive of other auditioning students and get to know them, because they may be your future classmates. Talking to others in the hallway can be a great way to alleviate stress as well.


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    • laurenmurphy1 profile image

      Lauren Murphy 5 years ago from Maine

      In my personal experience in talking to audition panel professors, they have said that it is only appropriate to wear dress pants if you are auditioning for a pants roll in an opera. Many teachers probably wouldn't care, but I think that it is important for those who are looking to make a good impression at their university audition to know any biases that panel members may have. Everything you say is very valid, I'm just sharing what I've been told.

    • profile image

      Sue 5 years ago

      black dress pants are perfectly acceptable for those of us ladies who are less fond of dresses and skirts! :D it's the distraction thing we want to be careful of - cleavage, bare arms, loud colors - they all distract from the music. I personally also am careful of what I wear shoe-wise, because if I'm not comfy, I can't do my best :D