We have auditions for concerts at our school. This is because we have a huge amount of children who wish to perform. I have just auditioned sixty-four children for thirty places and I thought I would write how we have done it, as it could be useful for other teachers in a similar situation. This is for our Key Stage 1 children.
First of all we have scheduled two concerts. One is a big concert in the hall where we have space for five performances. This is quite a big deal in my school and we select the best performers but on a variety of different instruments. We have some exceptional piano players at our school but the concert would be rather narrow if we only chose pianists. The other concert is a recital for twenty five children. Any more would make the recital go on for too long so we have to set a limit. I have selected only Year 2’s for the big concert but in the recital I have selected students from Year 2, Year 1 and from the Early Years so it reflects the whole of our infant school. We have students playing piano, violin, drums, guitar and singing in our recital.
The first thing I did was publicise that there will be auditions and I made a sign up sheet for parents to write down the name of their child, their class, and the instrument they were playing. These were all in five minute intervals after school. I printed these all out and displayed them so parents could sign up. I made two sheets, one for Tuesday and one for Thursday. However, there were not enough spaces and parents had started to write their names underneath so I made another for Friday.
The following week we did the auditions. To eliminate bias, I hosted the auditions with a colleague so we could make a collective decision. I put a table out, some water for us, two pens and ten blank sheets stapled together so we could make notes. Here is a template:
The children came and performed and we had a brief chat after each one and just jotted down some comments and which concert, if any we thought that child would be best to perform at.
After the auditions we got together to make a final list of the children who were performing. Luckily we agreed on all of the children that we chose. I then made a list of these children ready for the next step – to tell them collectively. I dread this moment, the children are so young and it is a harsh lesson to learn that not everyone can be successful all the time. Even though they are very young I think it is important to tell them first. The following day I gathered everyone who auditioned in the Music room and said how proud I was of everyone for auditioning. I gave them all five team points each. I said we only had spaces for thirty children but sixty-four auditioned. We did a bit of maths and the children agreed that not everyone could play so we had to make a choice. I said there will be plenty more opportunities to play in the future if you didn’t get chosen this time. I then told them who was going to play and what instrument they would be playing as some had auditioned on multiple instruments. I then gave everyone a sticker before they went back to class from registration. They all took it in their stride, there was no crying and they all seemed genuinely pleased for their friends who were going to be playing even if they hadn’t be chosen on this occasion.
The next step was to tell the parents. I printed out our decisions and put it on a stand outside the Music room. We thought about sending out a letter but we really don’t want to make too much of a meal of this auditioning process so we just left it at that.
Audition Decisions template
The next step is to create a program for the concert. I made a Google Form and sent it out with an accompanying letter electronically with the name of the child, class, instrument, name of piece, composer and their instrumental teacher name. In a week or so I will collate all the information and make the program for our recital.
I am not 100% happy with our auditioning process, I have asked advice off colleagues and the SLT and this is the best we can currently come up with. If anyone has any ideas how we can make the process fairer, less administratively burdensome or just better in general, please write in the comments below.