It’s that time of year again! We are excited to have opened applications for our 2024-25 student cohort, with an application deadline of February 5, 2024. In honor of CMPI’s fifth anniversary year, we have switched to a new, more streamlined application system, and done away with application fees.
Not only is it now completely free to apply for CMPI, but CMPI has begun to explore ways to provide support for students who audition for CMPI but are not accepted. This year, in addition to students who will be selected to join CMPI as fellows in the 2024-25 school year, there will be a select number of students who will be offered supports (e.g. funding for private lessons or audition support) to prepare for next year’s audition cycle. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining CMPI, there has never been a better time to audition!
In this article, we’ll describe the application process in detail and provide you with some tips on how to put your best foot forward as an applicant.
Step One: The Application
CMPI’s online application opened at the beginning of October, 2023 and can be found at our website: http://chicagopathways.org/audition.
This year, CMPI moved from the Acceptd platform to a simpler JotForm application. JotForm does not require users to create an account or pay an application fee; however, the trade-off is that it is not possible to save an application in process. For that reason, we suggest that before applying, you review the list of questions that appear on the CMPI application, type your responses in a separate document, and then copy and paste your answers into the application form.
Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation email and will be eligible to attend an online information session in February (see step two).
Step Two: The Information Session
Upon submitting your application, you will be eligible to attend an online information session on one of the following dates:
- Friday, February 9, 6:00-7:30pm CST
- Saturday, February 10, 10:00-11:30am CST
- Monday, February 12, 6:00-7:30pm CST
You only need to attend one information session, not all three. Each applying student is required to attend an information session, and they must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver. This information session is an opportunity for you to learn more about CMPI, meet our team, and for us to begin to learn a bit about you. Come prepared with any questions you may have about CMPI!
Step Three: The Pre-Screening Audition
After you have attended an information session, you will receive a link along with instructions for submitting your pre-screening audition video. Your pre-screening video will be due by Monday, February 26 at 11:59pm CST. Along with your prescreening video, you will also need to submit scans or photographs of your audition sheet music for the judging panel.
The basic requirements for your pre-screening audition are:
- One scale (and arpeggio, if you have one) that demonstrates your sound production and range on your instrument. It is highly recommended that you consult your private teacher or band/orchestra teacher for a scale suggestion.
- One solo piece (piano accompaniment is not required) that demonstrates your technical ability on your instrument.
- One solo piece, ideally contrasting in style with your first solo piece, that you love to play.
- Students in grades 11 or 12 who have learned orchestral excerpts are recommended but not required to also include a standard orchestral excerpt written for their instrument in their audition video.
- Please see our audition website for more details and more specific repertoire suggestions. Note that the repertoire listed on our website is suggested, not required, and we will hear whichever repertoire you have prepared that best demonstrates your level of playing. In general, we do not encourage students to learn new or unfamiliar repertoire solely for the CMPI audition.
- Your total prescreening audition video must be no longer than 10 minutes. If your repertoire is longer than 10 minutes in length, it is recommended that you consult with your private teacher or with CMPI staff at [email protected] about cuts that can be made.
Your pre-screening audition video will be reviewed by a panel of up to three judges who play an instrument from the same instrument family as you. You will be notified by early March about whether you have been selected to advance beyond the pre-screening round.
A few notes about your pre-screening audition video:
- You do not need to use expensive or professional-grade video recording equipment. Your smartphone, tablet, or computer camera and microphone will suffice, as long as it is capable of recording clear video and audio.
- It is important that your instrument, hands, and embouchure (for winds/brass players) are visible in the video. Please ensure that your music stand is not blocking the view.
- We recommend that before you submit your video, you share it with your private teacher (if you have one) or a band or orchestra teacher who can review it and give you suggestions.
Step Four: The Home Visit
If you have been selected to advance beyond the prescreening round, you will be invited to sign up for a home visit with CMPI staff. The visit will be scheduled based on your schedule and availability. In the event that there are no available time slots that work with your schedule, please reach out to CMPI staff, and every effort will be made to accommodate your availability.
During the home visit, CMPI staff will visit each applicant at their homes and speak individually with each fellow and their caregivers. This is not an interview, but an opportunity for us to get to know each other better. The nature of CMPI’s work is very focused on each fellows’ individual musical development, so it is very helpful for us as staff to understand what motivates you as a musician, what your goals are, and what interests you have outside of music. It is very helpful for us to meet with every member of the household, as raising a musician is a team effort that requires the support and investment of everyone.
Step Five: The Final Audition and Supplemental Materials
After you have participated in your CMPI home visit, you will receive a sign up link for a live audition. Live auditions will take place between March 19 and 23, 2024.
The process and repertoire requirements will be exactly the same as the prescreening audition, the only difference being the panel of judges. Your final audition will be reviewed by a full panel of judges who represent every instrument family, 10-13 judges in total. Most usually, students will play the same repertoire that they presented in the pre-screening audition; it is not recommended to learn new repertoire solely for the final audition.
Additionally, you must submit the following information in order to be considered for admission into CMPI:
- Letters of recommendation: Ideally, one letter from your private teacher (if you have one) and one from a band or orchestra teacher. Please reach out to CMPI staff if you have any questions about who in your network can supply your recommendation letters.
- Income verification: We require proof of income from all applicants in our program to determine scholarship eligibility. You can submit your most recent tax return (showing your household adjusted gross income), or tax returns from the previous year if your returns from the most recent tax year are not yet available. Please reach out to CMPI staff if you have any questions about acceptable documentation.
These documents must be submitted by Monday, March 25, 2024.
Decisions about the 2024-25 CMPI auditions will be announced in early April, 2024.
A Few Final Words About Your Audition
Year after year, we receive more applications from interested students than we have available spots in our program. To that end, we have begun to identify opportunities to support students who audition for CMPI but are not accepted. Even if you are not accepted into CMPI, you may be eligible to receive support from CMPI to prepare for auditions the following year.
We encourage you, even if you are not accepted into CMPI, to re-audition. We have had students audition as many as three times for CMPI before finally being accepted. Being a classical musician requires persistence and dedication!
Please feel free to reach out to CMPI staff with any questions you may have about applying for CMPI.