Live Auditions

Live Auditions

Live auditions will be held in New York City and San Fransisco from March 18-24, 2018 (dates and locations subject to change). American Music Abroad will offer logistical assistance to those bands selected for the live auditions. Bands must keep the live audition date free for the city located closest to their home base.

In all, approximately 45 ensembles will be chosen for the live auditions from the qualifying applications. Of these ensembles, approximately 15 plus 2 alternates will be selected to tour in a two week international tour. As part of the tour, ensembles will hold a kick-off event in their hometown, as well as a community or educational concert in Washington, D.C., either pre-or post-international tour.

The ensembles selected for the live auditions will be provided with a reimbursement based on the least expensive air, rail, bus or car (mileage reimbursement) available at the time of the invitation to the live auditions. One night of hotel will be provided to bands traveling distances requiring overnight stay. Special travel supplements will be provided to any ensembles selected from Alaska or Hawaii or U.S. territories. Bands or band members residing outside the U.S. Do not receive a travel supplement for international travel.

Live Audition Requirements

  1. Two contrasting 3-5 minute pieces from your ensembles’s standard repertoire.
  2. An arrangement of an international folk song in your ensemble’s own style. You must choose from one of three traditional songs that will be provided to the group along with notification of acceptance into the live audition round.
  3. Two three-minute demonstrations from both your educational program and music business workshop. The education demonstration should be interactive with the panel of judges and include information about your instruments, your genre and its origins and representation of American culture and history. The demonstration music business workshop should cover key points addressing your ensembles’s experience with one primary area of the music business (online sales, radio promotions, working with agents, public relations, social media, etc.)
  4. The audition will include a question-and-answer session of three minutes to determine your ensemble’s skills as cultural diplomats and ability to adapt to difficult touring or performing circumstances. Sample questions for this section of the audition could include:
    • You are given one hour to collaborate with high school students on a remote Micronesian island. The goal is to compose a new song and lyrics about solutions to environmental issues on the student’s island. How would you plan that hour with the students, who do not read music but do speak English as well as their local language fluently, to culminate in a new 32-bar song with a bridge? The song should involve your band and the students as vocalists and percussionists. What role would the band play in developing the song? What role with the student vocalists and instrumentalists (guitarists) play?
    • How would you plan and prepare for a series of rehearsals with Cambodian pop musicians playing 1970s Khmer Rock leading towards developing a joint performance of a closing number for your concert in Phnom Penh?
    • Your band is headed to a workshop in a high school in Cameroon. You have been promised backline sound system (amps and microphones) to perform for an audience of 50. When you get there, 500 students are excitedly awaiting a performance. There is no working equipment, other than traditional drums, as there is no electricity. How would you engage and interact with the students over the next 45 minutes? Please outline some sample activities and strategies.

Final Selection Criteria

  • Artistic excellence
  • Demonstrated ability in conducting engaging educational and community programs and Music Business workshops
  • Communication skills
  • Potential to thrive as a cultural diplomat through highly engaging performances and educational programming
  • Demonstrated flexibility and creativity in challenging situations
  • Skills and ease with fusing ensemble’s genre with traditional music from other nations
  • Demonstrated enthusiasm and high energy level