Demo tapes for University positions

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by swissdude, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. swissdude

    swissdude Pianissimo User

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    Nov 29, 2003
    West Chester, PA
    Hi,

    I was wondering if you could give us your vue on how long and what to include in a good demo tape for university positions?
    Jobs getting harder and harder to get, wondering if what is the most important, the resume or the tape?

    JC
     
  2. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Hi J-C,

    If I've learned anything so far in this profession it's that every situation is unique. Furthermore, it's far better this way -- our own personal attributes can shine through.

    I was asked during my interview at CalArts what attracted me to their particular opening. My response was along the lines of "the job description was sufficiently vague to attract my attention" -- risky, perhaps, but it turned out to be the answer that they were looking for. CalArts was searching for someone to build a new brass department from scratch, more or less, and my CV was filled with programs that I had started. We are very happy together, by the way, and this is more important at the end of the day than actually getting the job!

    Personally, I feel that your resumé sings far more loudly than anything that you put can on tape. Your background, especially where you have performed/taught (and with whom), gives enough information for a decent search committee to decide if they want to move forward to the next step or not.

    Flexibility can also be important. What, other than good trumpet teaching, can you contribute to their program? Can you teach music theory? Ear training? Are you an improviser? Can you conduct? This might not matter as much at a large music school or conservatory but be of vital importance to a smaller music department. I like to cite Terry Everson as an example of the above. Terry is a marvelous player/teacher and also brings sensational skills as a pianist to his trumpet studio at Boston University. Who is more attractive to a search committee, someone who can accompany his students really well or, well, the rest of us? Your European background and recent publishing history with Dave might also attract attention (it should).

    Lastly, if it's necessary to make a tape, play pieces that you yourself love to play and that you play the daylights out of. This will make a far deeper impression on most listeners than a common "one from column A and one from column B" type of program. . . at least it would on me.

    I'll comment more after others have had their say. Thanks for opening a very interesting topic.

    Best,
    EC
     
  3. swissdude

    swissdude Pianissimo User

    195
    4
    Nov 29, 2003
    West Chester, PA
    Thank you very much for your input. always good to hear what the "Maitre" as I would call you in french :-) have to say. I completly agree that smaller school always look for someone that can do more than just trumpet.
    I have made quite a few phone interviews with jobs last year and always but I always seem to be a novice at it when a new one happens. Every job is different, every committee is different and treat you differently over the phone but one of the hardest thing for me at least is that I never know what I did good or bad when the conversation ends. Phone interviews are always uncomfortable.

    JC
     
  4. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    J-C,

    It's a process not unlike auditioning for an orchestra in some ways. You do the best you can, pat yourself on the back afterwards, and look forward to the next opportunity.

    Dave must be a good mentor. What does he say?

    I'm hoping that others weigh in on this topic here as well. As we agree, each experience/point of view is unique and interesting.

    Watching,
    EC
     
  5. PH

    PH Mezzo Piano User

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    Dec 2, 2003
    Bloomington, Indiana
    I've been on a bunch of search committees in my career. I would generally have to say that each is different. I would also qualify my experience by saying that all of my time in academia has been at large, relatively prestigious schools, so that colors my experience. We generally were not considering people straight out of grad school. To make the first cut for a gig at CCM or IU you had to be coming from success at another teaching position or transitioning into academia from a successful performing career. I have helped mentor a lot of students through the process of getting that first gig, however.

    I would have to say that it is the "resume" that gets you past the first cut. In saying that I don't necessarily mean the printed curriculam vita you submit (although that is certainly crucial). I mean the reputation one has developed as a player and teacher through previous experience. References and recommendations are also part of this. If you are a David Hickman student and he calls a friend who is on the search committee and says "J-C is the greatest thing since sliced bread" then you will get a more serious look than someone with a similar C-V. Of course, if someone passes along the word that you are a great player but no one in the orchestra gets along with you then the opposite effect will occur.

    As far as the recording, most people on a search committee will not listen to everything on your CD/tape. Lead with the best stuff. They might skip around to listen for certain things. How do you handle picc repertoire, for instance. Can you play jazz?

    If you have a commercial CD available that seems to have a bit more credibility for the committee. Send that. However, one caveat...if that CD is narrowly focused (it is all "new music", it is all chamber music on little horns, etc) then you should probably enhance that with other recordings from recitals, etc. that give a more balanced view of your playing.

    I would also try to sleuth out the scene at a given school. What is the school's focus and how do they perceive their mission? Are they looking for someone who can play jazz, commercial, as well as classical stuff or is it really a "legit" conservatory model they are seeking? Who is on the committee and what is their agenda?

    I would not necessarily send the same cover letter or recordings to every place I apply...or I might sequence the material differently according to who will be listening.

    Good luck!

    Pat
     
  6. swissdude

    swissdude Pianissimo User

    195
    4
    Nov 29, 2003
    West Chester, PA
    Hi Pat,

    thank you so much for your input.
    It is always great to hear different vues on a subject.

    jc
     
  7. PH

    PH Mezzo Piano User

    Age:
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    Dec 2, 2003
    Bloomington, Indiana
    One thing I forgot to add...

    On the last 2 trumpet searches I was on at IU we didn't even listen to anyone's recordings until we had made the 1st set of cuts. It would have taken dozens of hours to hear even the first piece off of each recording we were sent.
     
  8. trmptr

    trmptr Pianissimo User

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    May 10, 2005
    Bemidji, MN
    Hi JC,

    I've been on a bunch of search committees over the past 13 years - for just about every instrument and voice. I teach at a university of about 4500 students, so I think our searches might be typical of many of the jobs for which you are applying.

    Most of our searches are pretty similar to each other. We usually begin by weeding out the applicants to about 15 based upon the resume and reference letters. Then we'll listen to the CD and narrow our list from about 15 down to 7-8. Last we'll call references of our final 7-8 and use that to narrow the list to our final 4-5. We typically invite our top 3 to an on-campus interview. (We don't normally do phone interviews. They are difficult for both the applicant and the search committee. It's very hard to get a true feeling about a person over the phone.)

    In the on-campus interview we look for someone who will be a good fit. Obviously we want the person to play well, but that might not be the most important thing. We want someone who will be an excellent teacher, communicate ideas in a clear way, relate well to the students and faculty, and be a great colleague.

    One thing that I have found to be interesting: In by far the majority of searches, the person we have hired has been the last person to interview. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I do wonder if the last person has an advantage (assuming they are good) because they can leave the committee with a good, lasting impression immediately before the committee begins deliberations. Anyway, this is just speculation, but it is interesting food for thought...

    Del
     
  9. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

    2,212
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    Jul 13, 2005
    NY/CA
    Del,

    Nice to see you here, and thanks for your insight. We're starting to develop a theme here, and you and Pat have provided thoughtful variations.

    Best and still watching,
    EC
     
  10. swissdude

    swissdude Pianissimo User

    195
    4
    Nov 29, 2003
    West Chester, PA
    Hi Del,

    nice to see you here. How are things for you?

    It is nice to get input from people teaching at different type of schools. For young people looking for jobs it is not always easy to know what to expect.

    thanks

    jc
     

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