Confidence goes a long way

Confidence goes a long way

Lance Merril and Ann Baltz at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. on March 16, 2023. Photo by Kyanna Hojati

Mock auditions allow students to showcase their talent and receive feedback

The auditioning process can be a difficult and nerve-wracking opportunity for new performers looking to make it in the arts and entertainment industry.

For Pierce College music students, Ann Baltz’s Masterclass allowed them to get first-hand feedback and practice with the professional musician. 

Baltz’s class was part of the LAPC Music’s free Thursday concert series held at the Performing Arts Building.

Baltz is also an  educator who has helped over 3,000 opera performers improve their confidence and stage presence. 

One student who had the opportunity to perform for Baltz was Choral Music Education major Hasti Almasi. She hopes  she can improve her confidence and performance capabilities outside of her singing skills with Baltz’s advice.

“The mock audition really is for those that want to go into any opportunity that requires an audition,” said Almasi. “This was specifically more for music students, yes, but this can also be applied to anybody.”

The main commentary that Baltz gave performers was based on improving posture and carefully keeping track of the student’s stage presence. 

Baltz put emphasis on remembering that every second of the audition process is witnessed by the casting director. Walking in with confident posture and hand placement will always be noticed by the viewer. Even before the audition actually begins, Baltz spent the majority of her introduction reminding the audience that every single second of your audition time truly counts.

Pianist Lance Merril, AMP major Stephanie Keledjian, jazz voice major Hasti Almasi and Masterclass instructor Ann Baltz at Pierce College PAB Mainstage in Woodland Hills, Calif. on March 16, 2023. Photo by Kyanna Hojati

Almasi was very grateful for Baltz’s feedback and commentary on her performance. She felt that her confidence using the stage space was better when Baltz gave her a second opportunity to perform the song “Lullaby of Birdlandby George Shearing.  

“All the tips that Ann Baltz gave were incredible,” said Almasi. “They proved to be useful for so many different areas.”

Music major Jonah Matos attended Thursday’s mock auditions. Matos said he was impressed with not only the singing skills from those that performed, but also with Baltz’s advice regarding confidence and stage space efficiency.

“I feel like they had such beautiful performances,” said Matos. “They really embodied the essence of what their songs are, and what they represent.”

Associate Professor of Music and Choir Garineh Avakian was hoping to sharpen the performance skills of her students by bringing in a professional like Baltz. 

“A lot of our students in music, theater and dance, at some point, have to audition,” said Avakian. “For vocalists, it’s nice to bring in people that actually listen and give feedback on how to audition–what to do, what not to do, what to listen for, how to prepare and how to deal with nerves.”

Avakian believes that the students who auditioned were a great representation for the Applied Music Program at Pierce.

Master Class instructor Ann Baltz plays the piano as music professor Gaga Avakian sings at Pierce College PAB Mainstage in Woodland Hills, Calif. on March 16, 2023. Photo by Kyanna Hojati

While the auditions held were only for practice, the students felt that the advice Baltz gave them was valuable for their music careers. The insight from an experienced musician like Baltz can show that Pierce College has beneficial programs for aspiring music students.