Every time I go on break from college, I make it my business to utilize my free time for professional development. As a music educator, I take every opportunity over breaks to assist choral programs in my hometown with events, volunteer to do office work or work in the music libraries, or even just sit in on rehearsals to observe rehearsal structure and conducting techniques. Over winter break between Fall and Spring semester, I spent a lot of time at Ross S. Sterling High school assisting with office work, chaperoning auditions, and observing rehearsals.
If you’re a fine arts teacher (especially at the high school level), you are in for a lot of paperwork. Paperwork could include subjects such as:
- Audition registration such as TMEA auditions, Solo and Ensemble, and much more
- Any kind of field trip, especially overnight, with permission forms, bus requests, etc.
- UIL Competition registration
- So, so… much.. more.
During my time volunteering at the high school, the directors were getting students registered for Solo and Ensemble. I sat with multiple spreadsheets on a screen in front of me, a list on the desk, and came to realize the desperate need for an admin for fine arts teachers.
All State Auditions
On January 12th, 2019 I chaperoned the Sterling students who had advanced to the area audition for area H. The All-State Audition process goes as follows:
- First Audition (Region)
- Students are given pieces of music assigned by the TMEA board and given several months to prepare. At the audition, certain measures or “cuts” are selected for students to sing from each song. Students and teachers are not aware of these cuts prior to the audition. Students who advance past the first audition go to the second audition.
- Second Audition
- This audition is held a month after the first audition, and is the same process as the first audition but with different music/cuts. Those who advance past this audition move onto third audition.
- Third Audition (Pre-Area)
- Students are required to repeat the process of performing the selected cuts from yet more music, but there is another element introduced in this audition: sight reading. Click here to view the rules and process for sight reading.
- Fourth Audition (Area)
- This is the final audition where the same process is implemented as the third audition, and the top students are selected from each audition room to participate in the Texas All State Choir. The top five females and males are placed into the Mixed Choir, and the remainder of qualifying students are placed into the Women’s or Men’s Choirs.
As you can see, this process is incredibly rigorous and cutthroat. I participated in this process throughout high school, participating in the TMEA convention as 9th chair my junior year and 1st chair my senior year. Despite the fact that this process is incredibly stressful, students across the board can agree that it is one of the most rewarding events they’ll ever experience.