Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicJazz · 9 years ago

What piece should i play for my Berklee audition (guitar)?

My abilities technical abilities range from many different styles such as classical(bach/lobos), contemp. acoustic (andy/dufour), jazz (standards), fusion (howe, govan), metal and rock stuff as well of course. I'm freaking out here. give me some ideas!

1 Answer

  • 9 years ago
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    My advice is not specific to Berklee; hopefully some recent grads can weigh in.

    Your audition is a performance and it should be a good one, so pick a piece that you play well. And I don't just mean fast. MUSICALITY is the key concept. You are better to play Blue Bossa beautifully than to struggle through Giant Steps or shred through some metal piece that covers simplistic harmonic territory with no dynamics.

    That said, be true to your own direction as well. If you really are all about playing like Steve Howe, then by all means play something like that.

    Berklee is not a classical school and you probably don't play classical pieces in the way that a true classical player would, so that's less important. It wouldn't hurt to have a little classical reperetoire in your back pocket if they say "Anything else?" but I would not emphasize it that much.

    There are a couple other aspects to consider: you may be asked to read, and you will very likely be asked to improvise. Probably both. They'll likely hand you a chart and ask you to read the head. Then they'll ask you to improvise over the chord changes. Again, the key here is to play musical ideas with good tone, phrasing, and dynamics NOT to show off your metal skills.

    Now... if you don't have a Real Book, get one and start getting familiar with those tunes. (Sounds like you already have standards under your belt, so you may have this covered.) I say this because that chart they hand you is probably not going to be obscure, but likely something from standard reperetoire. If you can play it well because you already know it, they don't have to know that you aren't sight reading.

    Mainly, just do what you do, prepare in advance, don't cram, stay calm, and play something nice.

    Source(s): I didn't attend Berklee but did get my jazz degree from a top four-year university that had many national act players on faculty. What I've just described is representative of many auditions at several schools I attended in pursuit of my jazz performance degree. Post-grad, I studied for several years with a national act player that occasionally adjudicates auditions at Berklee. People like him will hear your mistakes before you even are aware of them. This is not meant to intimidate but to set realistic expectations that the adjudicators will have you sized up within the first thirty seconds as to your tone, time, conceptualization, and mechanical technique. You may already have this level of skill yourself from having played in lots of different situations. So look at it as an introduction not the be-all-end-all, and try to find ways to make it enjoyable for you and for them.
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