The Simplicity of Auditions

September 2, 2015

It’s back to school time.  In addition to a new Trapper Keeper (yes!), that usually means auditions.  As someone auditioning, your job is simple.  You have exactly two things to do.

1)  Play your instrument well

To audition well, you must be fundamentally sound.  Think of this as your Music Delivery System.  Without great Sound, Articulation, Flexibility, and Facility, your best musical intent will go unheard.  This is why practicing your fundamentals is so important.  The better your fundamentals are, the easier it is to play (especially challenging material) musically.

2)  Make great music

This may seem obvious, but it needs reinforcement.  Too often I have heard from people that they “didn’t miss any notes.”  While that is certainly a good technical feat, it’s not a good answer to the question, “how did you play?”  Playing all of the right notes in the right order in good time is not the same as playing musically.  If you’re playing solos and/or excerpts, did you:

  • find great recordings?
  • listen to them over and over…and over?
  • play along with the recordings? (if you’re matching everything- sound, pitch, style, etc.- with one of your favorite players on a great recording…you’re on the right track)

With solos and excerpts, generally there are accepted ways to play.  In other words, “it goes like this.”  Learn “how it goes” and be able to do it fundamentally well and musically.

With etudes there may not be reference recordings, so you’re left to make sure your audition is musical.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • study and obey all markings on the page- tempo, dynamics, articulations, etc.
  • consider what it should sound like (majestic, somber, joyful, etc.)
  • commit to both the style you’re performing and to every marking on the page.

That’s it.  Don’t make it more complicated than this.  Here’s why:

You are not in charge of anyone else’s playing, or of judging the audition.

For some people, this is the hardest part.  You can play your absolute best and not get the result you want.  You can win an audition not playing your best.  The results and the other people involved are not your responsibility.  If you try and take that on, it will likely get in the way of the only two things you need to do:

1-Play well.  2-Play musically.


One comment

  1. One of your best, Joey. Outstanding. JPZ

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