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audition tips

Obtain audition requirements far in advance. Decide on an opening piece that shows off your strengths. A difficult section played well can show off your skills. Use a tuner and metronome during the early stages of practice. This will help you correct pitch and rhythm problems as you learn the piece. Prepare expressive parts as carefully as technical parts. Identify the mood and message of these sections. Be aware that the audition committee may only ask for part of a piece. Be able to start your piece from various points (not always at the beginning). Be familiar enough with your material so that you can perform it no matter what happens. Yes, you can practice sight-reading. Take an étude book, flip to a new page, take a few minutes to study the music, and then sightread it. Know your scales from memory. Rehearse in your performance or audition clothes. Are you comfortable? Practice walking in your shoes. Record your program on an audio or video recorder to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Build up your strengths and work on weak areas. Practice playing in front of an audience and let them critique your performance.

Dress appropriately and treat the audition as you would a job interview. Let the audition committee know that this is important to you. Arrive early and warm up. Bring music and anything else you might need (extra strings, reeds, etc.). Smile! Make eye contact with the audition committee. It’ll help you relax. Be courteous. Be professional. Take plenty of time at the audition—don’t rush! Speak confidently. Think positively. Use good posture. Relax and breathe! You can’t audition if you faint. Keep going even if you make mistakes—don’t quit. Don’t make excuses—the audition committee has heard them all. Know that if the audition committee asks you to play something with a change it doesn’t mean you played it wrong. They may want to see how you take and make a correction. Enjoy yourself! After the audition, don’t freak out. People like to beat themselves up after an audition. Be realistic and look at the overall impression that you left.

(Taken from the August 2003 edition of Teaching Music, Vol 11, No. 1, the publication of the National Association for Music Education.)

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