Given the Region audition season for many band, orchestra and choir students is at hand. Below is advice I offer to auditioning students. Feel free to share these tips with your students:
1. Use Good Posture
Those who look like they know what they are doing seem to do better than those don't.
2. Never Repeat Any Section of What You Are Playing in an Audition
Keep going all the way through the music or scales without stopping, even if you make a mistake. Playing it over can reduce your score.
3. Don't Ask, "Can I do that over?" or "Can I Start Over?"
These types of questions can hurt your score. Starting over is not recommended.
4. Check Your Tempos
Be sure to use a metronome at home when practicing the audition music. If you are unsure how fast or slow something should go then ask your teacher.
5. Practice Examples Slowly
Practice the sections you find difficult slowly until they become easier. Don't just practice the sections you can play. Try to select sections of the music that you know you have trouble with and try to work them out. Work with a private teacher on the music.
6. Don't Be in a Rush
Why play scale as a quarter note=10,000 when its just effective to play the scales slowly. Play the scales at a tempo that you sound the best on, not the fastest that you can play it.
7. Add Dynamics
Don't leave out all those pianos, fortes, crescendos, diminuendos and so forth. Expressive playing helps you to get high scores!
8. Play the Articulations
Carefully identify the staccatos, accents, tenuto marks, slurs and ties. Make sure you are playing each articulation differently and correctly. If you don't understand how to perform an articulation ask your teacher for help.
9. Don't Skip the Rests
One of the most common mistakes students make in auditions is to not count the rests out fully. Always count out all rests unless the person auditioning you says that you don't have to. If you have 2 measures of rests between notes, then wait the 2 measures! Remember the person auditioning you is counting along with you!
10. Count Yourself Off Before You Start
Just as your music teacher would count you off or start you in band, orchestra or chorus., make sure you do the same when playing by yourself. Think about the tempo before you start, the count yourself off in your head. "One, two, ready, go!" and off you go.
11. Calm Your Nerves
Try taking a deep breath, stretching or meditating. Being extremely nervous can cause you to make unecessary mistakes!