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Professional Audition Recordings | FSU

Updated: Jan 20

As many of your students are preparing diligently for graduate school auditions, competition submissions, and job application deadlines, the importance of quality recording methods is often overlooked... With music schools becoming increasingly competitive, professional recordings are a great way to ensure that the student's hard work is captured and represented at the highest possible level.


Why Hire a Recording Engineer?


Credibility - Professionally recorded materials demonstrate a student's willingness to invest in their appearance, their sound, and their future. This is an attractive quality for college applications.


High Quality Equipment – Smartphones and Zoom recorders are good for quick reference in the practice room, YES! However, these devices cannot compare to full-frame mirrorless cameras or high-end audio-recording gear. Just like you (the musician) invest in a quality instrument, a recording engineer has all of the necessary gear, skills, and experience to produce a top-notch, competitive product.

Sure, most agree that Zoom recorders and iPhones do "just fine," but think about it... If your instructor labeled your playing as "just fine," would you be okay with submitting that for an audition tape? Probably not. It's important that EVERY aspect of your submission look and sound professional.


Stress-Free - Hiring someone else to record means that YOU (the performer) get to focus solely on your playing. Everything is set up & ready to go when you arrive. All you have to do is show up & play...


Efficiency - While live performances only offer a single take, professional recording allows the musician as many takes as they like. This also allows students to sit down and listen on quality headphones, identify mistakes, and correct them on the next attempt. The engineer tracks all of the takes throughout the session, creating an organized flow of takes that can be sorted through quickly in post.


Gain a Competitive Edge – In competitive situations, recordings are the very first barrier to entry. Looking to score an interview for your first university teaching gig, make it to the live round of a professional orchestra audition, or be invited to the live round of a prestigious competition? Chances are that many (if not most) of your other competitors will have their submissions recorded professionally. In the final stages of preparation, the only thing that could possibly make your submission any better is by having it recorded by a professional.



How does it work?

Scheduling

Once I receive an email expressing interest in recording together, I’ll send a few questions regarding the upcoming submission:

- List of schools you intend to apply

- Links to the pre-screening requirements for each school

- Instrumentation (this helps me decide which space you will sound best in)

- Deadlines

- List of 5-10 potential recording dates


After comparing schedules, I will take care of reserving the space for your recording session(s). You will then receive a follow up email from me confirming the dates/times of the room reservation. Pre-screening recording sessions are booked in 2-hour blocks. Leading up to each session, I will communicate with the student to confirm exactly which pieces they will be recording in each session.


How Many Sessions Will I Need?

Upon reviewing the repertoire lists, I will help you determine how many sessions are needed to record all of your materials comfortably. Depending on the pre-screening requirements, a student auditioning for 5 graduate schools may be required to record 16-32 separate video recordings, which can be done in 3 to 4 two-hour sessions. Many of the excerpts can be used to fulfill the requirements for more than 1 school, but this is not always the case. This is why it is important that the student have a clear understanding of the requirements before reaching out about recording.



The Recording Process

Show Up

I will be on location at least 30 minutes early to ensure that the session starts on time. Students are encouraged to show up 10-15 minutes early to get accustomed to the acoustics of the space.


Sound Check

The recording session will begin with short soundcheck, during which the student will have an option to hear how they sound (with quality headphones) before the session begins. Once sound check is complete, the student will decide which piece or excerpt they’d like to start with, and the recording process begins.


Tracking

After each piece, I’ll ask the student to rate their performance on a scale of 1/10. This helps me decide which takes to send them for review.

After the session is complete, students will receive a frame.io link to review their takes from the session.


All of the takes for each piece are combined into a single video for the students to quickly and easily determine which one is best. Once they’ve made their decision, all they need to do is pause the video, type “Use Take X,” hit Enter, and move onto the next piece.

Once, I’ve received notification from the student that they’ve entered all of their comments, I’ll re-upload final versions of each for them to review. Once the final drafts have been approved, payment will be processed and the student will receive a private Google Drive Link to download their submission materials.


Recap & Rates

Price: $75/hr + $50 post-production per session ($200 per 2-hour session)

  • 2 hour recording session (minimum)

  • Stereo Audio (DPA 4006 TL Stereo Pair)

  • 1 camera angle (shot in 4K on the a7SIII)

  • Location of your choice

  • Guaranteed delivery within 24 hours


Set Up Your Audition Recording Session

Send me an email at justinballrecording@gmail.com and take the first steps to sounding your best!

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I Record Audio Only?

Yes, audio-only recordings are still somewhat common, especially for orchestral and military auditions. The price for audio-only recordings is the same.


What Locations Can I Record In?

Any large rehearsal hall, such as HMU114 or 105, DRH, or LRH.


Can I Record Off-Campus?

Yes, for an additional $50 off-campus fee. You will also be responsible for reserving the space.


What Forms of Payment Do You Accept?

Forms of payment accepted include Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, Cash App, Cash or Check.


Will I have access to the downloads after my auditions are over?

Yes, I keep the RAW footage from all projects for at least one year, and the final videos remain in physical and digital storage indefinitely. If you ask me for them 10 years down the road, I’ll still have them : )


Can I schedule a session for less than 2 hours?

I do not book recording sessions for any less than 2 hours unless it is a live performance, isn’t on a weekend/after 5pm, or if the setup only takes 1-2 min (for example, video only).

As a professional, it's not financially beneficial for me to do anything less than a 2-hour session. As a result, the cost of a 1-hour session is a flat rate of $150.


Do You Offer Any Discounts?

Yes. For students committing to 4 or more recording sessions, I lower the rate to $150 per session.


Do You Offer any other Recording Services?

Yes. Head over to the Recording Sessions page to see a detailed list of offerings.


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