#1
Ok, so imma be real here, i'm applying for a couple music colleges (uk) and I've gotten interviews for all of them in the next couple of weeks. These colleges all need me to do a performance piece to demonstrate my skill and the requirement is to play pieces of at least a grade 5 level. Problem is, I have no idea what to play.

I looked at all my favorite guitarists, but im not really up to standard to play them yet (Jason Becker, guthrie trapp and derek trucks) so I wanted to ask for some advice on pieces to do.

Basically just pieces of a decent skill level of any genre on electric.

I mean any genre, blues, rock, metal, grunge, punk, indie, im all ears.


btw if im in the wrong thread then sorry.
#2
a couple that are very pleasing and fairly easy.."blackbird" and "all blues" by miles davis you don't even have to do "chord melody" style ..just with the basic rhythm and inversions of both you can create some nice melodic chord riffs - also youTube has some tasty examples of both
play well

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#5
^This is a big deal.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#6
Based on this

I mean any genre, blues, rock, metal, grunge, punk, indie, im all ears.


I'd assume pop.
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you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#7
If the guitar you're using has a whammy bar you can do Beat It by Michael Jackson. Eddie's solo is short with a good dose of finger tapping and it's an easily recognizable song.

If you want to go with an acoustic, and you're good at finger picking, you can do the acoustic version of Neon by John Mayer, nice and percussive and harder to play than it sounds but still not "super hard" to learn.

For metal, The Trooper by Iron Maiden is a good route since it's mostly just one riff after another, very easy to break down the song piece by piece and then put it all together and the solos aren't overly hard.

Another metal song that's worth looking at is Bark at the Moon by Ozzy.

For rock, I'd go with Rush's YYZ. Considering that you're interviewing for a music college, they'd probably appreciate your ability to change time signatures multiple times in one song.
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#8
The college I went to weren't looking for amazing players, they were looking for someone who is decent enough to put a song together but more importantly had the capacity to learn. I played 'never going back again' by Fleetwood Mac and 'Angelina' by Tommy Emmanuel first, then the guy asked me to play a couple of scales and chords. I didn't know all of the stuff he asked me to play but he took the time to explain it to me and I showed I understood him. I got an unconditional offer.

Quite a few other guys on my course played some Bon Jovi, not sure what songs but you don't need to be the best player around to get in. Good luck!
#10
i recommend a song in which you can show them a lot of techniques,(dream theater's ones,One-Metallica,Eruption,tornado of souls,etc)
#11
Cheers for the replies.

The college is access to music in brighton, it is vocational, and based almost solely around advancing to a career as a working musician or session musician. They don't state anything specific, but the vibe I get from being there is that jazz would be largely out of place, and I am not looking to play acoustic as I don't plan to continue on a career on acoustic.

Im liking the idea of doing the trooper, now I have to see if I can play it.

And I am not sure about the idea that you don't need to be the best player. The college is small, it has 140 students all in all, 80 of which are in the performance course I am going for. The performance course receives around 350 applications yearly. I have less than a 1 in 4 chance of getting in, and as much as I like fleetwood mác, I feel like they would tell me to "go my own way" if I used it for an audition piece.

Thank you for the hel, if anyone has anymore suggestions I am all ears.
#12
You should probably just look up any specific requirements and just what skills are in the grade you need to prove, rather than relying on your impression. It's a simple enough thing that makes a big difference.

Session musicians have pretty intense skills, too. Jazz is often the foundation for that kind of musicianship in the pop world, at least for guitarists. Being able to read a chart quickly and accurately, strong aural skills... Such a course of study may not include as much stuff like Music Theory and other general education, but I wouldn't assume it means you're expected to have a narrower skill set on the instrument itself.
#13
Quote by cdgraves
You should probably just look up any specific requirements and just what skills are in the grade you need to prove, rather than relying on your impression. It's a simple enough thing that makes a big difference.

Session musicians have pretty intense skills, too. Jazz is often the foundation for that kind of musicianship in the pop world, at least for guitarists. Being able to read a chart quickly and accurately, strong aural skills... Such a course of study may not include as much stuff like Music Theory and other general education, but I wouldn't assume it means you're expected to have a narrower skill set on the instrument itself.


I wish it was that easy, but its not. They don't state any specific requirements. They literally just say "come play a grade 5 or higher piece". Thanks for the advice though, although I saw little jazz while I was there or talking to students, it all seemed to be rock, metal, indie, etc
#14
Play a song that you know well and that represents you as a musician.
Quote by AlanHB
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#15
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Play a song that you know well and that represents you as a musician.

I have no idea what it means to have a song that represents me as a musician.

My favourite artists are Stevie Ray Vaughn, Avenged Sevenfold and Take That.

I honestly have no preference, I just enjoy playing and listening.
#16
Look at hog stomp bitch.
It's a short country thing. It will show off your skills and it will be different than what all the other students will be doing and make you stand out.
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#17
Quote by Guitar137335
Look at hog stomp bitch.
It's a short country thing. It will show off your skills and it will be different than what all the other students will be doing and make you stand out.


I can't use it for my audition because the piece has gotta be 2 and a half minutes minimum, but I think I might learn it for myself anyone, cheers man.
#18
Quote by slater2221
I have no idea what it means to have a song that represents me as a musician.

My favourite artists are Stevie Ray Vaughn, Avenged Sevenfold and Take That.

I honestly have no preference, I just enjoy playing and listening.

Then play something from one of those bands. By "represents you as a musician" I meant something like, something you feel comfortable playing, a song that fits your own playing style well. Do you see yourself more as a metal player, a blues rock player or a pop player? Choose the song based on that.

If I had to pick a song that represented me as a musician, I would not pick a country song because that's really not my style - I don't listen to country and I don't play it. I would most likely play something from Led Zeppelin or Van Halen or something like that because those are bands that I like and are a lot closer to my playing style.


Something from SRV would be a good idea. (But if you think metal is closer to your playing style, play something from Avenged Sevenfold.)


Is it just one song or do you need to play many songs?
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Oct 25, 2015,
#19
1 song.

And I am not sure what defines me best as a player. I am in 4 bands, 3 of which practice twice a week, 1 once a week. Those are Metal, blues, funk and jazz being the once a week band.

I think i'll have to think about this for a while, because I am really not sure what type of music defines me as player.
#20
Sounds like you play a lot of different kind of stuff. Well, just play something from SRV.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#21
I'd say you should look up what skills qualify as Grade 5 and do some thinking about what songs might demonstrate that level of proficiency. To the person judging your audition, it matters that you understand why your piece is appropriate and what skills it demonstrates.
#22
+1 to GG.

IMO, most of the things people have suggested here are too "guitar, not music-y". Grade 5 for piano is equivalent to stuff like this, if I recall:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FCHDht6h4Y

You need to remember that you more than likely will NOT be auditioning for guitar players, and you DEFINITELY won't be auditioning for people who are impressed by what I jokingly refer to as "Dad band" chops.

I'm not saying to go play things that you aren't comfortable with. Don't do that. But you definitely need to think of a musical piece that shows you can work across different ideas (scales, arps, chords with numbers on them etc) instead of just "power chord power chord bendy classic rock thing etc".

The Trooper is WAY too easy. You can maybe do some jazzier SRV, but don't do like Cold Shot or anything generic.

Anything solo guitar (not 'guitar solo') is golden. A good rule of thumb is this:

If it isn't going to sound fantastic without a backing track or other musicians, don't play it.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#23
Quote by Jet Penguin


The Trooper is WAY too easy. You can maybe do some jazzier SRV, but don't do like Cold Shot or anything generic.

Anything solo guitar (not 'guitar solo') is golden. A good rule of thumb is this:

If it isn't going to sound fantastic without a backing track or other musicians, don't play it.



I agree wholeheartedly.

I'd definitely play an acoustic solo piece or something along those lines. Classical guitar or jazz are genres I'd recommend, but I understand if you're not into that kind of thing. You just need to have a good balance between different rhythm and lead techniques, and play something that's a bit difficult (not something that's uncomfortable though, you don't want to play over your abilities) and a bit more interesting than your everyday rock song.

Make sure that your phrasing, dynamics, timing and the like are in order, playing an easy song cleanly and accurately is a lot more impressive than playing a difficult song sloppily. Even better if you play a difficult song cleanly of course.

Keep in mind that since this is a proper audition, you're going to be judged pretty objectively. No one cares if you play a popular song or if you can play the guitar behind your back etc. You need to impress with your raw ability, so pick as tricky a song as you can handle and practice it to perfection.
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#24
Quote by slater2221


I looked at all my favorite guitarists, but im not really up to standard to play them yet


Thanks for the suggestions, but my auditions 2 weeks, and I am not at a level to learn any of SRV's mildly impressive pieces in time.

Honestly, im not really good enough for music college yet, but I have no other option, I just gotta go for music and make it work.

Also I realised im wrong, I have gotta play two pieces, so im gonna do under the bridge by the chili peppers and the trooper unless anyone wants to suggest anything else.
#25
What about Dani California instead of under the bridge, it's still got that funk type strumming but at the end theirs a long solo which you could improvise or something.
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#26
Are you allowed to use backing tracks? If not, many rock and pop songs are going to sound pretty boring if you are playing the guitar part only. As Jet said, you want it to sound good on its own.

Yeah, if you have not that much time, just play some songs that you can already play well. Pick ones that sound good on their own (if backing tracks are not allowed). You don't really have to get in right now. It's also an experience to go to an audition (even if you don't get in). That way you'll know what it's like and (if you don't get in) know what you have to do to get in the next time.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#27
Quote by slater2221
Honestly, im not really good enough for music college yet, but I have no other option, I just gotta go for music and make it work.


While your life is your life and you need to make your choices yourself, I think this is the wrong attitude. You don't get anywhere by simply wanting really hard. If you think you have no other option, you're not thinking hard enough. I'm going to study physics. A friend of mine who's an amazing keyboard player is in med school. Another friend of mine who's a guitarist as well is going to be an architect, and an another guitarist friend of mine is studying business and marketing. If you really don't think that you're ready for a music college, I really think you should look into other options. Since it's kind of nice to have a profession and a way to keep eating, you know.

Quote by slater2221
Also I realised im wrong, I have gotta play two pieces, so im gonna do under the bridge by the chili peppers and the trooper unless anyone wants to suggest anything else.


Are you really unable to decide for yourself? They might ask you why you picked these particular songs, and if you answer "some guy on the internet recommended them for me" they won't be impressed.

Just think. Are those songs really the best you can do? I mean, you have to know a lot of songs by now if you're thinking about an education in music, so if you think that those two songs are the best you can do, they're the songs you should play. But you need to have the ability to decide these things yourself if you think you're ready for a music college.

But I still think that a clean performance is always better than a sloppy one, so just play songs you know well.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
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#28
Yea, we're allowed to use backing tracks.

And I only want to be a musician. That's it. Its not my only option, it's just the only option that I want to do. I could make a career in computer programming if I was that way inclined, but I am not, I simply wish to do music.

And when I say I don't have any other options its truly because I don't have any other way to go about music. In the UK you must be in some form of education till you are 18. I have to go to college, or do an apprenticeship, or something, and music's all I want to do, and you don't get apprenticeships in music. It truly is a sink or swim situation, so I just gotta play as well as I can and get into college.

Im not gonna go into detail, but basically I have found out in the last 3 months that I have a severe medical condition that means that finding myself a lifelong career is not much of a big concern, and is potentially completely unnecessary. So I am just doing what I enjoy, which happens to be music.

Problem is I have been playing for slightly less than 3 years, so I am not really that good.

And I picked under the bridge for myself, so I dunno what the problem is with that song.
#29
Sure, just be prepared for the fact that you wont get accepted at that skill level. One of the reasons it's silly to limit yourself to only one career path (even in your situation) is that if you don't get into that college, it's going to feel pretty bad and you'll be left with no other options.

And I don't listen to RHCP so I don't know how Under the Bridge goes. But as far as I know, RHCP isn't really the pinnacle of impressive guitar playing, at least on college standards. But if you can use a backing track, that'll help a lot, sure.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#30
Don't get me wrong, im applying to multiple music colleges, this is simply the one I want to be in most.

And "in my situation" there is no career path. I'll be pretty frank but whatever I do I probably won't be kicking in 10 years.
#31
Quote by slater2221
Yea, we're allowed to use backing tracks.

And I only want to be a musician. That's it. Its not my only option, it's just the only option that I want to do. I could make a career in computer programming if I was that way inclined, but I am not, I simply wish to do music.

And when I say I don't have any other options its truly because I don't have any other way to go about music. In the UK you must be in some form of education till you are 18. I have to go to college, or do an apprenticeship, or something, and music's all I want to do, and you don't get apprenticeships in music. It truly is a sink or swim situation, so I just gotta play as well as I can and get into college.

Im not gonna go into detail, but basically I have found out in the last 3 months that I have a severe medical condition that means that finding myself a lifelong career is not much of a big concern, and is potentially completely unnecessary. So I am just doing what I enjoy, which happens to be music.

Problem is I have been playing for slightly less than 3 years, so I am not really that good.

And I picked under the bridge for myself, so I dunno what the problem is with that song.


Sorry to hear about your medical condition. I think it is a good idea to see what lvl 5 requirements are, but first and foremost, find the songs that are the most difficult that you can play easily, and more importantly, really like.

I might checkout audio production options also as an alternate plan, and something I have grown to find pretty cool, maybe because am really mainly an acoustic guitarist, is lutherie. What I really love about stuff like that, is that you put effort into something, and then a couple of months later of hard work, and you have this beautiful finished product which is the fruit of your labour. And in this case, you can play it also. I find things like that provide a great sense of satisfaction and I think that is good for feeling fulfilled.

Other jobs where you sit in and office and just do your thing with nothing to show for it, don't really have that. So, guitar production apprenticeship might be something cool as well.

Now whenever I see wood, I just think about the guitar it could become. What else is kind of cool, is that with access to those sorts of tools, you might be able to do your own kind of side project, which is a dream of mine, really. Not necessarily to work it myself, which would still be cool, but more time consuming, but to really be involved in the process and speak to the luthier, and know my woods, and body shapes, and know what neck profile I want, and all that, and really build myself a custom guitar that really suits me. I don't know if I will ever get that opportunity, but it is a dream of mine.

Under the bridge can be a cool song, but I think it's less important what song you choose, and more what you do with it. For some, the song might be important, like if they choose some classical piece which is physically demanding, and they show good technique, that would be impressive. But there is another side of music, and that is musicianship. So, I think just do your thing, what you love, go for something that's difficult, but something that you can still do easily. The most difficult that you can do effortlessly. And that's important. If you bite off more than you can chew, then you don't look like a good guitarist at all, and for all the judges know, it's not that you took something that's a bit tough, but you just are generally not that good.

I think another thing that would be a good idea is to play live in front of people, strangers, and sort of stressful situations if you don't already. Otherwise you might be more likely to choke in your audition.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Oct 26, 2015,
#32
Quote by fingrpikingood
Sorry to hear about your medical condition. I think it is a good idea to see what lvl 5 requirements are, but first and foremost, find the songs that are the most difficult that you can play easily, and more importantly, really like.

I might checkout audio production options also as an alternate plan, and something I have grown to find pretty cool, maybe because am really mainly an acoustic guitarist, is lutherie. What I really love about stuff like that, is that you put effort into something, and then a couple of months later of hard work, and you have this beautiful finished product which is the fruit of your labour. And in this case, you can play it also. I find things like that provide a great sense of satisfaction and I think that is good for feeling fulfilled.

Other jobs where you sit in and office and just do your thing with nothing to show for it, don't really have that. So, guitar production apprenticeship might be something cool as well.

Now whenever I see wood, I just think about the guitar it could become. What else is kind of cool, is that with access to those sorts of tools, you might be able to do your own kind of side project, which is a dream of mine, really. Not necessarily to work it myself, which would still be cool, but more time consuming, but to really be involved in the process and speak to the luthier, and know my woods, and body shapes, and know what neck profile I want, and all that, and really build myself a custom guitar that really suits me. I don't know if I will ever get that opportunity, but it is a dream of mine.

Under the bridge can be a cool song, but I think it's less important what song you choose, and more what you do with it. For some, the song might be important, like if they choose some classical piece which is physically demanding, and they show good technique, that would be impressive. But there is another side of music, and that is musicianship. So, I think just do your thing, what you love, go for something that's difficult, but something that you can still do easily. The most difficult that you can do effortlessly. And that's important. If you bite off more than you can chew, then you don't look like a good guitarist at all, and for all the judges know, it's not that you took something that's a bit tough, but you just are generally not that good.

I think another thing that would be a good idea is to play live in front of people, strangers, and sort of stressful situations if you don't already. Otherwise you might be more likely to choke in your audition.


Cheers man. I actually do enjoy working on building guitars, and I think that's a really cool idea. I am halfway through a cigar box guitar project right now.

I'll think about what you said.

And I am not worried about the nerves thing, I have played live alot of times, in both open mics and my old cover band, so that's not really an issue.
#33
I mean, you just gotta do whatever your thing is and hope for the best on that timeframe.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#34
Yo. Been a bit of time, but thanks for all the help you guys offered.

I am auditioning tomorrow and will update you on how it goes.

I'm playing the trooper but improvising the solo myself and playing SRV's version of little wing.
#35
Hello again. Did my audition earlier today.

I have been offered a place and it is my choice on whether to accept it or not, I will be applying to a few other colleges and then taking my pick.

Thanks for all the help offered to me throughout the course of this thread, I appreciate all of it.
#36
Nice!

Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Nov 11, 2015,
#39
Quote by slater2221
I have no idea what it means to have a song that represents me as a musician.

My favourite artists are Stevie Ray Vaughn, Avenged Sevenfold and Take That.

I honestly have no preference, I just enjoy playing and listening.


SRV - play the intro sections of Little Wing or Lenny and do not play metal. Playing metal without a band sounds like ass and is piercing on the ears. Play something clean with a mix of rythm and lead. If you need to show off play Rude Mood.