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Topic Options
#589699 - 03/06/08 10:25 AM Audition Question
Colin Thomson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/07
Posts: 101
Hello, I am thinking about auditioning at USF for piano performance, and here are their requirements:

"Audition Requirements Piano (Undergraduate)

B.M. Piano Performance Degree and Piano Pedagogy Degree

Please pick from three of the following list of four categories. All works should be performed from memory.

1. J. S. Bach Prelude and Fugue from the Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 or 2

-or- Two movements from a J. S. Bach French Suite, English Suite, or Partita
-or- Two contrasting D. Scarlatti Sonatas

2. One movement form a Classical Period Sonata
(Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, or Schubert)

3. A Major Romantic Period Work

4. A 20th Century work


Sightreading may also be requested at the audition.

B. A. degree Music Major, or a Minor in Music

Please be prepared to play two contrasting works, each from a different time period. One of the two works should be performed from memory. Sightreading may also be requested at the audition."


The pieces I know and have memorized are:

Beethoven "Moonlight Sonata" (all three movements)
Chopin "Military Polonaise"
Chopin "Minute Waltz"
Chopin "Waltz #7"
Rachmaninoff "Prelude in C#Minor"


What do you think of my chances, and what should I play?

Any and all help would be very appreciated.

Colin Thomson
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#589700 - 03/06/08 10:37 AM Re: Audition Question
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
Can't say what your chances are, because we have no idea how well you play the pieces you listed.

The pieces you've listed are all very common intermediate pieces - if you want to stand out in an audition, you'll either need to play the hell out of those pieces, or you'll need to pick some more substantial repertoire.

If you're going for the B.M., you're short some pieces, you need some Bach and a 20th century piece. Also, the Chopin waltzes wouldn't count as a "major" romantic work - they're too short to be seen as substantial. Even the polonaise is debatable as to whether it is substantial enough.
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#589701 - 03/06/08 07:57 PM Re: Audition Question
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13792
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Chopin and Rachmaninoff are both Romantic, so you'll probably need to add either a baroque or 20th century work.

That being said, the program you have might be acceptable, you'll just have to call the faculty and ask.

Also, if you go to USF for piano, you MUST study with Ivanov. He's completely brilliant in every way and you will thank me for years to come. (He's a friend of mine, and one my favorite people on the planet.)
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#589702 - 03/06/08 09:40 PM Re: Audition Question
Colin Thomson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/07
Posts: 101
Can't I please call Rachmaninoff 20th century? Please?

Also, I saw USF has a 'School Of Music" department. Does anybody know if that is like a conservatory, or does it still require the same amount of core studying? I will email them and ask, but I just wanted to see if anyone around here knew.

Thanks.


Colin Thomson
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#589703 - 03/06/08 10:08 PM Re: Audition Question
BDB Online   content
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I looked at the USF website, and the University of South Florida does not seem to offer any music at all. Neither does the University of San Francisco.
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#589704 - 03/06/08 10:27 PM Re: Audition Question
Colin Thomson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/07
Posts: 101
Yeah, it is weird. I didn't find a link to it through the USF (south Florida) site either, but found this through google:

http://music.arts.usf.edu/
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#589705 - 03/06/08 10:56 PM Re: Audition Question
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18075
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Colin Thomson:
Can't I please call Rachmaninoff 20th century? Please?

[/b]
Colin :

You[/b] may call Rachmaninoff whatever you like to call him. Most juries, however, consider his style as late Romantic, and would not consider his piano works as examples of 20th century literature, particularly where there is an expectation that the 20th century work be a contrast to a Romantic work.

Regards,
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#589706 - 03/06/08 11:01 PM Re: Audition Question
Music Major Offline
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Registered: 07/04/06
Posts: 301
Loc: Tampa, FL
I take classes at USF. They most definitely have a School of Music there.
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#589707 - 03/06/08 11:15 PM Re: Audition Question
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13792
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Like I said, my friend teaches at USF, they have a music school, and the piano program is fairly strong.

It's a pretty typical mid-sized music school. It's not based on a conservatory model, but fits nicely within NASM guidelines. The designation "School of Music" is mostly just a name thing. It's still a university department and standard undergraduate degree requirements still apply.
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#589708 - 03/07/08 02:05 PM Re: Audition Question
ChopinChamp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 113
Yeah thats kinda rough, a mean the moonlight 3rd movement is perfect. As for the romantic, waltz are definetely not major works. You might luck out with the polonaise, just make sure you call or email them and make sure, but you'd better play it exceptionally. Skip the 20th Century. Go with a Bach Prelude and Fugue. Bk 1 in C minor. its the 2nd one. Its really easy. You wont have a problem with it.
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#589709 - 03/07/08 04:20 PM Re: Audition Question
Colin Thomson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/07
Posts: 101
Are the 2 part inventions too easy? I ask because I am working on no. 4 right now, and it would be easier to get by the audition date (March 21). I e-mailed and asked them, but haven't gotten a responce yet.


Colin Thomson
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#589710 - 03/07/08 04:46 PM Re: Audition Question
ChopinChamp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 113
There not too bad.. There no harder than the fugues. But the list says you have to play 2 parts from a partita or a prelude/fugue? Usually inventions arent what there looking for with bach. Im telling you work on that Cm. I didnt know you were so pressed for time. You could try the first one in C maj. You'll learn and memorize the prelude in like an hour lol... The fugues a little tougher than the Cm though.. But if they accept inventions I love no.8 in F, and the one in A minor, I think its No.13. Its awesome because there all two pages. At least all the ones I like. I used to play the first one in C.
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#589711 - 03/07/08 09:17 PM Re: Audition Question
Colin Thomson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/07
Posts: 101
Yeah, I kind of am pressed for time. That is why I was hoping an invention would work. \:\)

So, someone at Piano Street just told me my pieces were WAY too easy to get accepted into any university with anything like standards (or something like that). Am I just fooling myself with this? I am 18, turning 19 in June. Music is my passion, and Piano and Composition are my strengths. I think I have more natural talant in composition, but next to no training, with just a bunch of my own research for that. I have been trained in Piano, so I thought that would probably be the way to go.

But please be real with me. I really am not sure why I am not further in piano. I practice quite a bit, and try real hard. It just comes harder for some than others.

Anyway, I might try recording myself, so I can get some better feedback on what my options are.


Colin Thomson
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#589712 - 03/07/08 09:48 PM Re: Audition Question
TerryL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/08
Posts: 27
Loc: Australia
I haven't read all the replies but here is my idea:
The requirement is not tough
Skip the 20th cent.

1. J. S. Bach Prelude and Fugue from the Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 or 2 3mins
B flat major of c minor of book 1 are the easiest.
Try B flat major if u are hurry.
if you are confident play the G major one in bk 1.
or sth longer doesnt matter if it is slow.

2. One movement form a Classical Period Sonata
(Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, or Schubert)
Do the 3rd mvt. 5-6 mins
it is a bit too short do u have Sth else?? the moonlight is actually a sonata-fantasia it's difficult to seperate it into 3 mvts.

3. A Major Romantic Period Work
Is the Chopin longer than 10 minutes? 10mins
then it will be fine

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#589713 - 03/07/08 10:33 PM Re: Audition Question
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2687
Loc: western Wisconsin
The level of difficulty between the 2-part inventions vs. what they're asking for the Baroque period (suites, WTC, etc) is pretty different. I wouldn't bring inventions without advance permission.

At the same time, I generally advise people not to focus on the "level of difficulty" of their audition repertoire, rather they should focus on playing it well, whether hard/easy/weird/traditional...

There's a good bit of lousy advice I've read on that other forum, though I haven't spent much time in their equivalent of the pianist corner. Some of the stuff I've read there with regard to piano makers is just laughable...

For the sake of reference, I spent about 7-9 months learning my undergrad audition program for conservatory auditions.
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#589714 - 03/07/08 10:41 PM Re: Audition Question
Colin Thomson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/07
Posts: 101
The polonaise is probably only like 5 or 6 minutes. But they told me that auditions usually last about 10 to 15 mins, so I should have more than enough material.
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#589715 - 03/07/08 11:45 PM Re: Audition Question
JBiegel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 850
Given the level you describe, I would steer clear of any fugues for an audition--you can learn those once you are in a school. I would advise my private students auditioning for my school, Brooklyn College, on your level, with two contrasting movements from a French Suite, say, a Courante or Allemande with a Saraabande, or a Gigue. Offer the entire Beethoven and let them choose what they want, atleast it's the one full piece you have of length. The Chopin group is a good idea, considering none of them are very long. 20th century--can you muster up the haunting Samuel Barber 'Nocturne'? It isn't terribly difficult and it creates a good mood and is 20th century.
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#589716 - 03/08/08 01:11 AM Re: Audition Question
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13792
Loc: Iowa City, IA
LISTEN TO BIEGEL.
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#589717 - 03/08/08 01:26 AM Re: Audition Question
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13792
Loc: Iowa City, IA
By the way, seriously consider taking the program you describe above "as is."

Even though the Rachmaninoff is basically romantic, I would much rather hear repertoire that you play well over repertoire that you threw together on short notice. My guess is the audition committee there would feel the same. Consider Beethoven, the Polonaise, and the Rachmaninoff. (Maybe ask first, but I would rather hear that than Beethoven, Polonaise, and something that's not well prepared.)

And if you play it well, I wouldn't take the invention off the table, either.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
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#589718 - 03/08/08 01:28 AM Re: Audition Question
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13792
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Oh, and ignore the Pianostreet people. They live mostly in a fantasy world where only conservatory grads have a chance at making a living doing music.

(As opposed to the real world, where people like you go on to have rewarding careers in music all the time...)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
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#589719 - 03/08/08 11:17 AM Re: Audition Question
JBiegel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 850
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
LISTEN TO BIEGEL. [/b]
Thanks, Kreisler. I hope my advice gets heeded. I should add, that anything written by Rachmaninov from 1900 forward, is indeed 20th century. Anything written 1900 forward, is 20th century. You should tell us when the audition is, and, how quickly you can assimilate a new piece. There are tons of shorter pieces by 20th and 21st century composers that would look good to have, and, they may hear. It doesn't have to be the entire Barber Sonata or Prokofiev 6th Sonata. There are the Visions Fugitives by Prokofiev, and a set of three or four of those would be nice to offer, as they aren't heard often.
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#589720 - 03/08/08 11:31 AM Re: Audition Question
arp Offline
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Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 64
Loc: Solihull, England
 Quote:
You should tell us when the audition is, and, how quickly you can assimilate a new piece.
Colin's earlier post said it was on 21 March (!!).

To be honest, it is a bit late in the day to be sorting this out (I speak as a mother with a son who always does his coursework/homework at the last possible moment - is this stereotypical masculine behaviour??). Surely finding out the requirements 6 months ago and discussing them with your teacher would have been a more appropriate way of tackling this audition.

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#589721 - 03/08/08 11:42 AM Re: Audition Question
BDB Online   content
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Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21587
Loc: Oakland
The Rachmaninoff is definitely 19th Century, having been written in the 1890s. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of good, short pieces written in the past 100 years that are not too difficult, yet would show off aspects of one's technique that would not be found in earlier music. I cannot speak to the quality of your playing, but your repertoire is plain vanilla. I would not call the Chopin collection a major romantic work. It is a stretch to say that it fulfills the school's requirements.

How much time do you have to prepare for this audition? How fast do you learn pieces?

Why are you interested in this school? Why are you interested in studying music? What does your teacher think of your playing and your chances? What are your fallback positions if it does not work out? Are there other schools that you are considering? What are their audition requirements?

I do not know why you would be asking a bunch of strangers about this. Not giving much background is a bad sign, including not spelling out explicitly what school you are considering. It shows that you did not anticipate that there might be at least one other USF, one that is much better known in some circles. There is some arrogance in that assumption, that your audience should do your work for you. The same is true of trying to force the Rachmaninoff to fulfill a requirement that it does not. If I were judging, it would make me think that you only want to do the work you want to do, and not the work that you need to do, and that is not a student I would want to teach.

These are a few examples of not-to-difficult pieces that I think would be more suitable for parts 3 and 4 of the requirements, parts 1 and 2 being pretty self-explanatory:

3: Schumann: Papillons, Borodin: Petite Suite, Dvorak: American Suite, Grieg: Ballade.

4: Poulenc: Presto, Ginastera: American Preludes, Milhaud; Saudades do Brazil, Toch: Capriccetti, Rzewski: Chain of Thought. You would only need one or two pieces from any of the collections mentioned.

These are a little off the beaten track, except perhaps for the Schumann, which would show that you are open to learning. The question is whether you are or not.
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#589722 - 03/08/08 02:58 PM Re: Audition Question
Colin Thomson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/07
Posts: 101
All right, thanks for all the advice. I know it is late, and honestly I was looking at this audition more as a way to find out how good I really am and what my chances are. Of course, I am very late for any fall entrances. The problem is that I have not had a clear direction of what it is that I think I should be doing, and what would be best for me. College should not really be looked at as mandatory for anyone finnishing high school, and I was seriously considering not doing it at all. Sometimes, time can be spent much better on other things. But I have pretty well made up my mind that I would like to attend, and, seeing as how it is so late, I am thinking I will try for fall after next. That way, I can apply everywhere that I am considering around this September, and be way early on that, instead of behind. So basically, I am planning right now on shifting everything forward a year, and be preparing for then throughout this year. I don't know if I will enter for piano or composition, but I hope to be beginning composition lessons very soon, and I will be able to get a better idea on that with a teacher to help me.

BDB, I really am sorry, I meant no arrogance by calling the University of South Florida USF. I suppose, since I live around the area, I never think of San Francisco when I hear USF, and it was my fault for assuming the same of others. My bad.

So I am planning on next year, and not necessarily South Florida. I have been looking very seriously at the Wheaton Conservatory in Chicago, also. We will see. I am sure I will be needing all your input more as I go through this never-ending task of learning to make music on the piano. Thank you for all your help. It helped me get a better idea of what will be expected of me and what to prepare for. Thanks!


Colin Thomson
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#589723 - 03/08/08 05:35 PM Re: Audition Question
thepianist2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 191
Loc: NY
Best of luck. And you should audition for Ithaca College (NY), though that's probably a pain the butt since you live in Florida. It's a nice school, though, and I got in for a BM in Music Education with Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C min, Bk 1; the first mvmt of Beethoven's "Pathetique", and Debussy's Reflets Dans L'Eau from Images Bk 1. I just wanted to recommend both the Prelude and Fugue in C min and the Prelude and Fugue in C# from Bach's WTC Bk 1. Both are a lot of fun. And, like I said, Debussy's Reflet's Dans L'Eau worked, and that counts as a twentieth century piece. I'd also like to tell you to get more backup schools than I did. I got lucky auditioning for only three schools (SUNY Fredonia, Ithaca, and Crane), but I can tell you I really felt on edge until I got that first acceptance letter. Also, you can go for Music Education and then later audition for the double Major in Performance, too. It'll make the audition easier, and you'll have more job opportunities when you leave school. That's what I'm doing. Anyway, best of luck, and consistent daily practice is the key! \:\)
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#589724 - 03/09/08 02:37 PM Re: Audition Question
BDB Online   content
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You may not be aware of the things that you do that are problems for other people. That awareness is something worth cultivating. I have consciously been avoiding contractions, and I also avoid abbreviations unless I have spelled them out completely somewhere. It is a courtesy to make sure that what you write is clear to the people you are writing to, and they are under no obligation to even read what you write unless you extend them that courtesy.

This extends to the current topic. When you want something from someone, such as to be admitted to their school, you should read and understand what they are asking for. If something is questionable, you should err towards certainty, rather than ask for an exception to be made in your case. After all, would you want the people making the decision to grant a greater exception to another applicant?
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#589725 - 03/09/08 02:54 PM Re: Audition Question
bukopaudan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 506
Loc: USA
This is a very good thread and I agree what you are saying. But for me, things like abbreviating and using contractions come naturally at times. I feel that it makes me more in touch with those around me who are using the same type of language. In formal writing and other writing and even e-mails, I do not use contractions or abbreviations, nor do I use "internet language" with friends on instant messenger. But, there must be some sort of line between when to use formal writing such as this and casual writing using abbreviations and contractions. In my personal opinion, when applying to schools and/or collegiate institutions of even summer programs, the use of formal writing is obvious and is expected. You should not be judged on whether or not you should be let in based on how you write and sound on paper. But in cases and in threads like this, on the internet, where people post to have fun and not for correct grammar, I believe that contractions and abbreviations are allowed and if clarification is needed, then those who need it can ask for it.

When posting on the internet, I agree it is hard to make your true intent come across in plain black and white text and emoticons, but we do our best and besides, it's just for fun.

Thanks for this thread!
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#589726 - 03/09/08 03:25 PM Re: Audition Question
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18075
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by vocis nova:
This is a very good thread and I agree what you are saying. But for me, things like abbreviating and using contractions come naturally at times. I feel that it makes me more in touch with those around me who are using the same type of language. In formal writing and other writing and even e-mails, I do not use contractions or abbreviations, nor do I use "internet language" with friends on instant messenger. But, there must be some sort of line between when to use formal writing such as this and casual writing using abbreviations and contractions. In my personal opinion, when applying to schools and/or collegiate institutions of even summer programs, the use of formal writing is obvious and is expected. You should not be judged on whether or not you should be let in based on how you write and sound on paper.
[/b]
I think that you will find in the "real world" of getting into colleges and programs, one is very much judged on one's ability to write clearly and succinctly. Why do you think that most colleges require an essay as part of the application process? It is to judge how clearly and succinctly a candidate expresses his/her thoughts on paper. Contrary to what you state, you are indeed judged by how you write and how you "sound" on paper.
 Quote:
But in cases and in threads like this, on the internet, where people post to have fun and not for correct grammar, I believe that contractions and abbreviations are allowed and if clarification is needed, then those who need it can ask for it.
[/b] It's a mistake to think that forums such as this are made up of only people of your age and your social and interest groups. There are some here who are adults, some who are academics, some who are business professionals. I think it's discourteous to everyone in this generally unknown audience to use "net-speak" and even more so to write in such a fashion that your writing might need clarification. If you take the time and make the effort to write clearly in the first place, then "those who need [clarification]" won't need to ask for it.

What, may I ask, is wrong with writing correctly? It takes no more effort to write correctly than it does to use emoticons and imprecise abbreviations.
 Quote:

When posting on the internet, I agree it is hard to make your true intent come across in plain black and white text and emoticons, but we do our best and besides, it's just for fun.
[/b] If you write clearly and correctly, there should be no doubt about your "true intent," otherwise language becomes meaningless.
While it's true that many people may post "just for fun," it's also true that many people post here to ask questions and to get information. If clarity of communication is sacrificed just to be considered "cool," that results in many wasting time needlessly.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#589727 - 03/09/08 03:29 PM Re: Audition Question
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21587
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
In my personal opinion, when applying to schools and/or collegiate institutions of even summer programs, the use of formal writing is obvious and is expected. You should not be judged on whether or not you should be let in based on how you write and sound on paper.
Those two sentences contradict each other. Besides, they are poorly written, and show unclear thinking. If I were on an evaluating committee, I would be leery.

When I was studying these things in college, we learned that it you do have to make assumptions about your audience. In a forum like this, one of the assumptions that you should be making is that people know very little about each other, and therefore you should be as careful as possible when communicating here.

My assumption in avoiding contractions is that there may be some people who will not know what they mean, but there will not be anyone who would not know how to contract them in pronunciation, which they will do in their mind's ear. What is more, they will do it according to the rules that they use. I am not forcing them to us my conventions.

There are similar ideas in the performance of music. Ignore them at the peril of alienating your audience! I do not like it when a performer fails to bring out some aspect of the music, such as the rhythm or inner voices. Things like that are the difference between a great musician and a failure. Being careful about such things is a habit worth cultivating, not just in music, but all the time.
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