March 1 & 2, 2013 marked the last round of auditions for fall 2013 admittance to the Jacobs School of Music for both undergraduate and graduate students.
The Jacobs School receives over 1,600 undergrad and 1,200 graduate applications a year. Of those, only a quarter of undergrads and one third of graduate students are admitted. According to Epsen Jensen, the associate director of admissions, 620 student musicians traveled to IU this weekend for the third and final set of auditions.
These students spent the weekend touring the school, attending information sessions, trying to find a space to practice, and, most importantly, auditioning.
The lobby of the Musical Arts Center (MAC) served as home base for the prospective students and their families. Here, several student and faculty guides stood by information booths and helped visiting musicians navigate the music school’s annex of practice rooms and the campus at large. Student ambassadors who went through the audition process years ago were on hand to answer questions.
The musicians came from all over America and beyond, but all came with one common factor: an immense amount of pre-audition practicing. Cameron Prill, a future undergrad auditioning with his tuba for a music education major, says “the past two weeks especially I’ve had about three and a half hours a day going into playing, and before that usually about an hour and a half to two hours a day.”
Dana Wygmans came from Alma College in Missouri and was auditioning for a graduate program in double bass. She chose pieces she has been playing and practicing “for quite a while.” Like other musicians, she already visited several universities for auditions, which helped quell her nerves this weekend. Although, as she sat outside her audition room she admitted, “I’ll probably be really nervous once I get in there.”
Dayton Young, a senior from Austin, Texas, auditioned twice, playing his tuba for a performance major audition and interviewing for piano education. He laughs as he admits he’s “just a little bit” nervous.
His mom, Carla, “thought it would be nerve-wracking” to watch her child audition. However, like other parents waiting outside audition rooms or sitting in the MAC lobby, IU’s planning and execution of the weekend assuaged some of her worries. “It’s really been great,” she said. “Everyone is so nice, and everything is laid out really well. It’s been really easy to get around.”
In addition to IU’s reputation, students are attracted to professors and instructors from different disciplines. Wygmans wants to learn from Bruce Bransby, double bass professor. For Young, IU’s biggest draw is tuba instructor and Provost Professor of Music Daniel Perantoni.
Students will not find out if they are accepted for about another month, but it is clear why they all applied to IU. Young sums it up by saying, “It’s just a really, really good school.”