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WAAPA Audition

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I'm freaking out maaan.

I have an audition to get into the WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) Diploma of Contemporary Music course in December. I'm not particularly worried about the drumming aspect of things, my rudiments are up to speed (mostly ) and I've learned the Wilcoxon solo and I just have to get that up to speed. Sight reading is still a bit of a worry, but I may still be decent enough to get through the audition with it as apparently it comprises a very small aspect of the whole thing.

The biggest problem is all the theory. I suck at it. It's not that I don't understand, it's just that before this year I never did any TEE music classes which usually gives a good grounding in basic music theory. Because I never did it it means that I have to learn all the hard stuff that my tutor (I signed up for an Audition prep course) teaches us, then go home and learn the easy stuff that pertains to it. It's all very confusing and it means that I'm always struggling to stay caught up and don't have as much time to practice all the drumming stuff that I should be doing.

Plus, as soon as November hits I know I'm going to be crying in the corner tearing my hair out with stress.
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  1. Yeargdribble's Avatar
    Theory can be rough, especially if you're not reading pitched music regularly. The problem is that you don't get to see it in action nearly often enough. When I was primarily playing trumpet, theory was a lot more difficult to understand. When I'm sitting behind a keyboard I see it in action more and that helps.

    That said, I have a bit of a beef with common practice period music theory since college spends so much time shoving that down your throat that they generally don't get around to contemporary stuff that's actually more practical. Being able to read jazz chord notation as well as understanding the music theory behind extended tertian harmony (9th, 11th, etc.) is not something that's focused on nearly enough (if at all), not to mention extended techniques used by composers of the 20th century. Sure, you could learn to fill in the inner parts of a hymn while avoiding parallel 5ths and adhering to the style of Bach... but can understand the harmonic relationships between any chords that are major, minor, seventh or +6s? You end up with horrible deficits in your musical knowledge. When I think of how often I use what I learned in 4 semesters of theory vs how much I've used my self-sought musical training in popular styles it makes me sick. Sure, when I needed it, it was there. It was a life saver (I was a given a trumpet part and a tuba part to a song and had to use only that to create a full piano version of the song with all of the chords filled out having never heard the song in my life), but it's just less practical.

    I get that understanding the basics of part-writing and stuff of common practice period helps you have a foundation for this stuff, but 4 semesters of classical music theory without touching on contemporary use? I hope things are better in Australia.

    If you need any help feel free to ask and I'll do my best.
  2. Pheesh's Avatar
    Yeah, see, I could barely even tell you how they teach it here because my actual class-room situation tuition is so limited. I know that in the current prep class I'm doing we're basically just learning everything from the ground up (intervals, then triads, seventh chords, modes so on and so forth) as it's made to give you the basic knowledge so that you know enough if you do make it into the course.

    I do know that WAAPA is a pretty prestigious school and it's supposed to be one of the better ones in Australia, so it is recommended that any aspiring musicians/song-writers from here try to attend. As far as their actual curriculum and methods though, I'm completely in the dark.

    The other big problem for me is that being a drummer, basically everything that I'm learning at the moment really bears so little relevance to my actual instrument. I do play guitar (but it's always been a fun instrument for me to write on and play when I want a break from drums) and luckily I have a piano, which I'm incredibly glad to have access to; seems like it'd be basically impossible to learn all of this stuff without a keyboard/piano.

    Thanks for offering to help, I probably will post more stuff asking for specific questions at some point, at the moment though my biggest problem really boils down to 'too much to learn, not enough time to learn it'.
  3. Yeargdribble's Avatar
    Something that will help you immensely, even if you can't play piano that well, is to learn to visualize intervals on the keyboard. Just get used to thinking in that way and it will make theory easier. You can kick it up a notch by learning a few basics and it will really make theory (once you get into it full) really click. Early theory is all about where pitches want to go and on paper, on the staff, it's too abstract. At the keyboard it suddenly makes sense.

    Don't get suckered by learning it too much in a mathematical, on the page way. Play exercises as best you can so you can hear where the music is going.

    I'd look into the following book: Scales, Chords & Arpeggios (9780849793516): James Bastien: Books

    If you can get a copy and have access to the piano, use it. You don't need to really know anything to use it other than where the notes fall on the staff. It has fingerings for everything. You will no doubt need to learn piano scales and arpeggios for basic piano classes, so this will give you a head start. Getting the scales in a few keys under your fingers will help you drastically, not to mention if you get comfortable with the arpeggios or the chord patterns, they will make your time in early theory a lot more comfortable.
  4. Jiro's Avatar
    Dude. DUDE. Holy yeah! That's awesome. I'm sure you'll kick ass
  5. Pheesh's Avatar
    Thanks Brospeh, I hope so.