Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Atlanta Audition thoughts

When you don't see any posts, it means either it is summer and my brain has gone soft or it has been a crazy busy time and I need my sleep.

So, after 10 years, I finally went and took a real professional audition...Atlanta Symphony.
This was a good experience for me although the quality of my preparation left a lot to be desired. Still, all this got me to thinking about the whole audition thing.

Some random thoughts for those of you who fancy winning one of these things:

  • Build that collection of recordings. Know the whole piece, not just the excerpt.
  • As you play the excerpt, can you "hear" the orchestra around you?
  • Can you sing the excerpt in tune?
  • Are you taping yourself regularly? Before you buy a plane ticket, can you play a "recorder audition" well enough to advance?
  • An audition tests two skills: your playing skills, and your pressure-handling skills. If you work on one and not the other, you'd better get pretty lucky on audition day.
  • Can you write out the excerpt from memory? Did you get all the details right?
  • On section excerpts, can you play the other parts? From memory?
  • Have you looked at the score for the piece? Can you translate all the terms? Do you know what instruments outside the trombone section come into play?
  • When you practice the excerpt, are you forcing yourself to play it with only shot? The third try may sound great but you won't get three takes on stage (although they gave me two on Mozart Requiem).
  • What are your dynamic extremes? Try the loudest and softest excerpts at their extremes and then be able to gauge where you want to place things, dynamically.
  • Are you absolutely, completely and totally sure you are playing things in tune? How do you know?
  • Are you totally, completely and absolutely sure you are playing things exactly in time? How do you know?
  • Tone, time and tuning are the stage. You need a solid stage but you also need to put something musically interesting on that stage.
I suppose there's lots more but that's enough for now.

Oh yes, about the BoneWeek Fanfare. Well, I started one and ran into a wall. It doesn't help that I've been so busy. I'll try to either finish this week or let them know that I'll have to skip this year.

Ahh, spring break.