10. Master Your Scales - Major and Minor Scales in two octaves and the Chromatic Scale in the range of the instrument are standard on most auditions. If you don't own it already, purchase the Taffanel and Gaubert 17 Daily Exercises and master No. 4. Add to it The Flute Scale Book by Patricia George and Phyllis Avidan Louke. Spend at least 1/3 of your total practice time mastering all of the scales at a variety of tempos. Getting bored? Look up Michel Debost's Gamme Game and check out video tips from Leone Buyse and Sir James Galway.
9. Learn Mozart's Concerto in G Major and Concerto in D Major - Learn them slowly, focus on quality, and listen to some pros knock it out of the park here, here, and here. (Be sure to work small sections up to tempo before running the movements up to tempo.)
8. Make a List of Your Top Five Schools and Print Out their Audition Requirements - Here are links to take you to the 2015 Audition Materials from a sampling of locally and nationally respected music programs: Juilliard, University of Texas at Austin, University of Kansas, Oklahoma State University, Wichita State University, University of North Texas, UMKC Music Conservatory, DePaul, Cincinnati Conservatory, Eastman, Carnegie Mellon, Florida State University, etc... Many programs require that recordings be received as early as November 1st or December 1st. In addition, you may also have to submit an application to the university on or before those dates. Make sure to write down all dates and requirements for each audition you take in a calendar. It's easy to miss deadlines. Let your teacher know what your goals are so you can make the most out of your preparation. They may have tips on which solo editions to purchase, especially for music from the baroque and classical eras. (Not all editions have good articulation and dynamic edits.)
7. Take Summer Lessons - Flutists and teachers often take time off during the summer to travel. This is great! We all need some down time, but if three or more days go by once you've returned home from your trip, contact your teacher ASAP. If they're not available have them recommend someone for summer lessons. Motivation is a tricky thing. Don't lose yours.
6. Fill Out a FAFSA in the Spring - I've seen students overlook free money because they're not sure how or when to apply for financial aid. Filling out a FAFSA is essential so you can qualify for grants and loans. Get familiar with this website and mark your calendar for next Spring when it's time to fill it out. If you miss the deadlines you may be giving up thousands. (Your college, your state, and the US federal deadlines are at different times. Make sure you write them all down.) For Wichita flutists, check out this grant opportunity from the Koch Cultural Trust as well. They often help fund Juilliard auditions and the like for deserving HS Seniors.
5. Invest in a Great Flute - If you have the means, now is a great time to step up into a professional instrument. If you don't know where to start, try attending a flute fair or the National Flute Convention. Exhibitors will display instruments of all kinds but they often focus on professional flutes at these events, and you can try them all! Always get input from your flute teacher before making a final purchase, but expect that a professional flute will cost $5,000 or more. It's a lot of money, but it's a standard piece of equipment if you are a music major. Great brands to consider include: Haynes, Powell, Burkart, Brannen, Altus, Nagahara, Emanuel, Miyazawa, Muramatsu, and Sankyo.
4. Attend a Masterclass that Specializes in How to Prepare for Auditions - There are many out there but here is my top recommendation: The Consummate Flutist
3. Make an Audition Recording - Even if you don't plan to audition for a school that pre-screens applicants with a recorded round, it's a great motivational tool. If the thought of recording yourself is overwhelming, all the more reason to do it. Facing your fears about your playing now means better preparation down the road. Be kind to yourself, but firm in your approach to setting this goal. If you're taking a November or December audition, now is the time to get comfortable using recording equipment. Zoom recording devices work well. Check out this review. (I prefer using two ribbon mics, but that gets expensive. Talk to your teacher and see if they have audio/video equipment if you're not ready to make an investment in recording devices.)
2. Mark Audition Dates on a Master Calendar and Take the Earliest Available - Whenever possible, take the early auditions for schools on your list. Sometimes (but not always), scholarship money is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so you may have a better shot at a scholarship if you take the Fall audition instead of the Spring audition if your playing is in top shape.
1. Believe in Yourself - Every step you take towards your goals as a flutist is a step towards believing that you can grow and perform at a new level of skill. No matter who you are or where you're from, take that next step forward.
Ellen Johnson Mosley is a flutist & fan of fine television.