Preparing to Study Music at UPEI
Each student comes to UPEI with a unique background and set of experiences. You may find that, in certain areas, your knowledge and skills are already quite advanced, while in others, you have only just begun to learn the fundamentals. At UPEI, we want to help you develop not only professional-level performance skills, but also skills and knowledge essential to becoming a well-rounded musician.
You can help yourself get a good start by investing some time now, by preparing to study before you come to UPEI. By working systematically toward strengthening all of your musical skills, you will establish a pattern that will significantly improve your chances of success in your chosen program.
Below you will find some suggestions to help you prepare:
Strong performance skills are essential to the success of any musician. If you are planing to register for the BMus program, your applied study (that is, your instrument or voice) will form one of the most important components of your degree program. In order to ensure that your audition is the best possible, consider commiting to a regular daily practice schedule. Work carefully, not only at the repertoire you intend to perform, but also at the technical aspects of the audition (for example, scales and arpeggios) and developing a good sound with your instrument.
If you are not currently studying with a private teacher, and you are concerned about your ability to perform adequately for the audition, you might wish to consider taking some private lessons. In addition to helping you focus better on your preparations, a private instructor can help you troublshoot specific problem areas, such as technique or musical interpretation.
Sight-reading forms an additional element of the audition. You can prepare for this by setting aside regular times for reading through unfamiliar repertoire. The music could be actual compositions or simply technical studies; it doesn't matter as long as you are practising reading. As you develop greater proficiency and confidence in sight-reading, you will find it easier to learn new repertoire, since the first step—reading unfamiliar music—will be less daunting.
Music Theory Skills
Since the theory skills assessment tests knowledge and skills at the Advanced Rudiments level of the Royal Conservatory of Music, one of the best ways to prepare for success in this area is to prepare for and write the Royal Conservatory of Music's Advanced Rudiments examination. Published collections of RCM examination papers from previous years are available from Frederick Harris Music.
If your high school does not provide formal instruction in music theory, your school music or band teacher might still be able to assist you in your preparations by providing some initial study materials. You may also want to look for a private tutor to help you acquire proficiency with basic theoretical concepts and common musical terminology. Short preparatory courses in music theory rudiments are occasionally offered by members of the music faculty. Contact the Music Department for details.
The process of applying to study music at UPEI involves an audition. This gives us an opportunity to hear your current performing abilities on your instrument, appraise your overall musicianship, and gauge your potential for growth and development as a music student in the program. Unlike a normal performance, you will be asked to play/sing for just the music faculty. They might ask you to stop before you finish a piece, and they typically won't applaud when you are done--not because they won't like your playing, but because they will be busy writing notes on your performance). The audition will also involve technique (scales, arpeggios, etc.), sight reading, and a brief interview.
Most applicants feel pretty nervous about the audition. That is entirely normal. Know that we want you to do well and we will do everything we can to make you feel welcome and comfortable during the process. Sometimes it takes longer than expected for nerves to settle, so if your first piece doesn't go as perfectly as you had hoped, don't beat yourself up over it. You don't want that to distract you from doing well on your other audition pieces. Obviously you want to do your best for every piece, but if you dwell on errors in a previous piece, you won't be able to focus completely on your current piece. Think FIDO: Forget It and Drive On! That way, you'll begin to relax a bit more and then you'll shine. That's the musician we want to hear!
Be sure to read more information on Applying and Auditioning so that you understand the process, requirements, and deadlines.