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Audition Preparation

McNally Smith Summer Vocal Workshop

In order to help each student get the most from their summer workshop experience, each student is given a brief 10-minute audition. During this audition, the student will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their vocal abilities, in order that they may be placed into an ensemble which will be both challenging and nurturing.

Each student will be asked to demonstrate his or her ability in the following areas:

  • Vocal Range and Registers
  • Reading (students are not required to know how to read music)
  • Rhythmic Coordination:  students will be asked to listen to a variety of rhythms and clap them back.
  • Pitch matching and chord tone recognition:  students will listen to a series of 3-4 notes and sing them back as well as identify notes they hear when a triad is played on the piano.

Students must also prepare a song of their choosing in any style.  Students are welcome to sing this acapella, they can provide music for an accompanist, or use a  karaoke track on a CD, phone, or iPod.


McNally Smith Summer Guitar Workshop

In order to help each student get the most from their summer workshop experience, each student is given a brief 10-minute audition. During this audition, the student will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities on the guitar, in order that they may be placed into an ensemble which will be both challenging and nurturing.

Each student will be asked to demonstrate his or her ability in the following areas:

  • Playing open position chords
  • Power chords or barre chords
  • Perform a rhythm guitar part with a backing track. One example will be in a blues and a second example will be in a rock feel.
  • Playing any scales or riffs that the student knows.

McNally Smith Summer Hip-Hop Workshop

In order to help each student get the most from their summer workshop experience, each student is given a brief 10-minute audition. During this audition, the student will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiencies within different hip-hop disciplines. A microphone, a set of CDJs, an MPC, and a computer will all be available to demonstrate your talents. Instrumentalists are also welcome to perform a piece solo on their chosen instrument. Amps, drumsets, and keyboards will all be supplied for the auditions.

Please prepare a piece that is under one minute long to demonstrate your hip-hop proficiencies. This could be a spoken word piece, a one-verse song, a scratch routine, or a drum solo. From this information we will organize our ensembles around skill set and ability level.


McNally Smith Summer Jazz Workshop

We have a fairly involved audition process that allows us to place students within groups where we feel they will benefit the most from the workshop. There are three levels of improv theory and techniques as well as several different combos. Moving at an appropriate pace will ensure maximum learning and enjoyment for the week. The three audition categories are Theory, Group Performance, and Solo Performance.

Theory Placement Exam: Students will be given an allotted amount of time to take a written exam. The results will help us place students in an appropriate Theory and Techniques course.

Group Performance Audition: Students will be asked to perform in a group setting with their peers. The ability to interpret charts as well as communicate with band members will be evaluated. This will help us place students in an appropriate level of combo.

Solo Performance Audition: Students will be evaluated based on the criteria listed below. The auditions will be one-on-one with an adjudicator. This information will also help us place students in an appropriate level of combo.

  • Vocal Performance Auditions:
    • Range and tone production – sing several scales by sight
    • Theory – arpeggiate several chords as asked by your adjudicator
    • Sight reading – interpret a melody from a lead sheet with accompaniment
  • Brass, Woodwind, and String Performance Auditions:
    • Range and tone production – perform a chromatic scale through your personal range. Two octaves is a good example of an expectation for a more advanced player
    • Technique – perform several major scales through a comfortable range
    • Theory – arpeggiate several chords as asked by your instructor
    • Sight reading – interpret a melody from a lead sheet with accompaniment
    • Improvisation – improvise over a blues
  • Guitar Performance Auditions:
    • Range and tone production – perform a chromatic scale over two octaves
    • Technique – perform several majors scales over one or two octaves
    • Theory – arpeggiate several chords as asked by your adjudicator
    • Sight reading – interpret a melody from a lead sheet with accompaniment
    • Comping/improvisation – comp and then improvise from several lead sheets in different styles
  • Bass Performance Auditions:
    • Range and tone production – perform a chromatic scale two octaves from low E
    • Technique – perform several major scales over one or two octaves
    • Theory – arpeggiate several chords as asked by your adjudicator
    • Sight reading – interpret a melody from a lead sheet with accompaniment
    • Walking bass line/improvisation – walk a bass line and then improvise from a lead sheet
  • Drum Performance Auditions:
    • Grooves – perform 16 bars of groove in the following styles: Medium swing, Up-tempo swing, rock, and Latin
    • Sight reading – interpret several drum charts