Academics

Preparing for the Audition

There are no secrets to being a fine, confident, focused, performer, or to doing your best at anything you may choose. In all things preparation is the key. This outline is full of simple, logical things that are easily overlooked in the race to be the best. When preparing for an audition, or a recital or a test or writing a paper, leave nothing to chance. Prepare completely and thoroughly and throughout the audition, always think about playing musically. There are plenty of people out there who can play fast and loud and with all the right notes and rhythms. To win the job you want, you have to do more.

  • Before you start learning the notes on the repertoire list
    • Own all complete parts
    • Own recordings
    • Check out complete scores from a library
  • Listen to the pieces
    • Know the correct tempo, style and context of each excerpt B. Know the entire part, not just the excerpt, and not just your notes C. Always think in an orchestral context, never playing just the notes on the page. Play with the knowledge of your part and how it fits into the larger whole
    • Know the instrumentation in your excerpt and who you're playing with E. Change the style/interpretation from excerpt to excerpt as necessary F. Know the composer, the style, the nationality, the period and the performance practice surrounding the piece you are preparing G. Use your process cue cards to invoke the imagery you want. Visualize
    • what are you depicting; colors? emotions?
  • Practicing at first
    • Get into strong overall shape
      • Do lots of basics besides just playing the list
      • Do methods/etudes/exercises that compliment the technical aspects of the excerpts you're preparing
      • Balance your practicing: be well rounded!
      • Cover all aspects of playing: loud/soft, fast/slow, articulations, phrasings
    • Have the standard excerpts ready all of the time
    • Practice slowly and meticulously
    • Reinforce good habits, not bad habits
    • Break down pieces and excerpts
      • Use the Metronome
      • Skeletalize
    • Get the feel of each piece, don't mow through them
    • Reinforce the differentiation of styles
    • Seek out your weaknesses and turn them into strength
  • Once excerpts are basically prepared
    • Record yourself for rhythm, evenness, and sound
    • Self-administered mock auditions
      • Choose excerpts randomly, give yourself one chance only, straight through keep your focus and concentration from one excerpt to the next build endurance by playing a large part of your list
    • Play for a few people, just a few, whose opinions you honestly respect.
      • Do this well enough before the audition date so that you have time to assimilate new idea
    • Practice your sight-reading be familiar with the standard literature, not just your list. Look for works the orchestra has recently performed or is scheduled to perform, especially those pieces related to the position you are auditioning for
    • Keep a regular routine
      • Don't fixate on audition, and audition rep
      • Keep things normal and easy
  • Closer to the audition
    • General maintenance
    • Taper your excerpt practicing
    • Mental preparation
    • Positive reinforcement
    • Do final instrument maintenance
  • At the Audition
    • Get there early
    • Be well rested
    • Do a good easy warm-up; maybe start a few things but don't overdo it.
    • Know your own schedule and prepare to peak for your audition time
    • Don't expend unnecessary energy on things other than your own playing
      • Don't get drawn into the show
      • Don't listen to those before you
      • Don't socialize
      • Do use a Walkman, or a book, whatever it takes to stay relaxed
    • Do think about your appearance.You will be judged on your entire presentation, staring with your playing but including your demeanor, and appearance
    • No extraneous playing during the audition: tuning, note checking, etc.

Preparation = focus and confidence.

Preparation = defeating the variables.

Look within yourself.

Think only about playing your best.

Let everything else fall where it may


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