For Musicians

Audition Help & Hints

  1. Prepared piece or study: "A piece that best demonstrates your current ability level..." does not mean the most difficult work that you can "sort of" play right now. The conductor wants to hear you play your best, demonstrating a strong proficiency in the technical and musical demands of the music that you choose to present for him/her.
  2. Beyond the minimum level requirements, your choice of piece will not affect which ensemble you are placed (or not placed) in. Do not come in with a very challenging piece or excerpts for the most advanced group unless you can actually play them. There is no reward in presenting poorly played renditions of difficult works. The goal of the audition is not to demonstrate that you can play any specific piece or excerpt well, but to demonstrate that you can play your instrument at a high level. It does no good to spend three months trying to learn a work that is beyond your ability level, as it will be apparent to the conductor in seconds if your technique is not where it needs to be to play a particular work of music.
  3. The most important elements that we are looking for are rhythm, notes, intonation, articulation, dynamics, tone quality, proficiency in the basic instrumental technique, and an understanding of the music in context of its history, composer, and performance practices. You are not being evaluated on how nice your instrument is, who you study with, or minor elements of interpretation. At this level, making small, accidental, mistakes while playing isn't a big deal...coming in not knowing anything about your music is a big deal (i.e., who wrote the piece you are playing?). While we do not test you on music history, knowing something about the music you are playing is always for your benefit. If you have not listened to a professional recording of the excerpts, it is highly recommended that you do so!
  4. Please dress comfortably, but professionally. This is a good time to figure out what the term "business casual" means. You want the conductor to listen to your playing, not gawk at some crazy outfit.
  5. Please be sure you know the full name of your school's music teacher (if you have a program at your school), as well as your private teacher! It is quite shocking to a conductor when a student comes in, having studied an instrument for several years, and the student has absolutely no idea whatsoever who their teacher is!
  6. When you receive your audition results, please know that we do not make decisions about placement without thoroughly considering every aspect of your skills and the number of openings we have or may offer. Based on what you have presented, we will recommend that you join the ensemble where you will have the best opportunity to succeed. In the event that you disagree with our assessment, we will be happy to share feedback whenever possible, so that you may improve your future experiences as you pursue higher levels of music-making. Please, however, do not ask for a re-audition. Understand that it is impossible for our conductors to re-audition students. If we did that for one student, we would have over 600 parents on the phone asking for re-auditions for THEIR kids as well.
  7. If you have been placed on the waiting list, please understand we still need to wait several weeks before we can figure out the true disposition of the ensembles (i.e. who is not returning, who accepts positions, etc.) before we can review or discuss any possible advancements.
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