So you are preparing for a school chair audition or youth symphony audition. Knowing how to practice is the key to winning the audition! Are you making these mistakes or are you on the right track to a great audition? Read below:
Smart Music Audition Preparation
If you are a teacher-please share this with your students.
Start preparing for the audition early!
There is no better feeling of walking into a music audition well prepared and confident. The level of preparation will affect your performance greatly. Start months before the audition. Do not leave preparation for the last days when you are already getting nervous and pressed for time. During the last weeks before the final day, you must have the piece ready and just polish them, not try to learn the notes at that time.
Don’t underestimate the scales when preparing for audition
Most audition requirements will ask you to play a scale to start with. In some cases you choose your own scale. If you are more advanced, you may have specific sets of scales you have to learn. It is a misconception that they are not important. This is where the judges will look for your sound! They will get a feeling of who you are as a player. They will use listening to the scale to get informations about your techniques, your ability to shift to higher positions, and general level of advancement.
Also, starting the audition with a piece that is well prepared and you play well will make you comfortable playing the rest of your pieces the best you can.
This is the very first impression you will make – make it count.
When practicing scales for your audition be careful about:
- Practice beautiful sound. Often students want to play very fat and underestimate the importance of good sound.
- Focus on even sound. Watch that going up on the scale you don’t loose the sound. Watch that you connect he notes. Practice making a crescendo to the top of the scale.
- Practice the shifts of the scale a lot. This will make or break your audition.
Prepare for sight reading
Sight reading is often an audition requirement. The trick is practicing sight reading often so you are comfortable with the process.
I wrote this detailed post talking about the importance of sight reading and how to practice it effectively. You can read more details about how to go about it.Sight reading is often an audition requirement. The trick is practicing sight reading often so you are comfortable with the process.
Play your audition repertoire for as many people as possible
We all have experienced situations where everything sounds great in the practice room, then it all falls apart when playing in front of others. Don’t make that mistake as you prepare for this audition. Schedule times to play for your friends, teachers, family members. This experience will help you know where exactly to focus your attention. You will be closer to preparing for a successful audition.
Don’t just practice the notes
Regardless of your playing level or whether you are a beginner or a very advanced student, all music directors will be watching for good tone, intonation, rhythm, style and dynamics.
When auditioning for orchestra or band – rhythm and tone are most important! These are the aspects affecting the whole music group. Make any effort to be consistent with these two aspects of your playing. Again, play for others to check if what you are doing is correct. See if you can find a friend hear you play and act as a judge. If you are auditioning outside your school, then your school music director will be of great help to you.
Don’t just practice for your audition – know how you will be judged!
Most music directors and judges will have a rubric, or a scoring sheet with specific aspects they are looking at. Having a scoring sheet helps them especially when hearing many musicians on the same day. It is very wise to practice with this in mind. See if the organization you are auditioning for has the scoring sheet posted on their website. If not, you can shoot me an email-I will be happy to send one your way. Practice scoring yourself. Record or videotape your performance and score it using that scoring sheet. This way your preparation will be more accurate.