Au­di­tion day

Stu­dents com­pete for limited spots at Shang­hai art, mu­sic and film schools

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE -

The be­gin­ning of March usu­ally marks the ad­vent of spring in Shang­hai. Bu it is also a time when he city’s var­i­ous art schools be­gin their an­nual au­di­tions. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of as­pir­ing stu­dents from all over China flock to Shang­hai to show off their artis­tic or mu­si­cal skills in at­tempt to win a spot at pres­ti­gious art schools such as Shang­hai Theatre Academy, Shang­hai Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic and the School of Film and TV Art & Tech­nol­ogy at Shang­hai Univer­sity.

Be­hind the pop­u­lar­ity of these schools, how­ever, is fierce com­pe­ti­tion. The num­ber of young­sters ap­ply­ing to Shang­hai Theatre Academy has been ris­ing rapidly over the past few years.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures, the academy’s ap­pli­cants grew from 11,448 in 2012 to 20,996 in 2016 – al­most twice the num­ber from five years ago. This year saw a record-break­ing 21,782 ap­pli­cants. For the school’s most sought-af­ter per­form­ing arts ma­jor, only one out of 245 ap­pli­cants will be ac­cepted.

Shang­hai Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic at­tracted 1,559 stu­dents from ev­ery cor­ner of the coun­try to com­pete for 366 places avail­able this year, set­ting a new record for the school. The two most cov­eted ma­jors, vo­cal mu­sic/opera and mu­si­cals, drew more than 300 and 150 stu­dents to vie for a to­tal of 40 places re­spec­tively.

To se­cure a spot at these schools, young ap­pli­cants must go through at least two rounds, in­clud­ing a writ­ten test and a live au­di­tion.

While China’s gaokao (na­tional col­lege en­trance ex­am­i­na­tions) places paramount em­pha­sis on stu­dents’ aca­demic per­for­mance, art schools at­tach far greater at­ten­tion to artis­tic abil­i­ties, drive, cre­ativ­ity and originality and, of course, one’s phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance.

Ac­cord­ingly, there have been many news sto­ries about ea­ger par­ents spend­ing tens of thou­sands of yuan to trans­form their young child into would-be stars by un­der­go­ing plas­tic surgery or spend­ing all their free time at cram schools.

Photo: Yang Hui/GT

Ap­pli­cants wait out­side the School of Film and TV Art & Tech­nol­ogy at Shang­hai Univer­sity.

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