Audition/test question.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Zalu617, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. Zalu617

    Zalu617 New Friend

    Jul 28, 2009
    Puyallup, WA
    Once again, this is mainly aimed at band directors, but feel free to post. I just want opinions on how everyone does things.

    This year, my band director decided to go with a chair test, that shall take place this friday, or monday, not completely sure as he didn't say exactly when it'd be. Anyways, the test is comprised of 3 parts:

    1. A chromatic scale (starting at G below and ending G above the staff) - eighth notes at 60BPM (would doing this all in one breath impress? I usually run out around E)

    2. A slower etude at 96BPM in 3/4. Nothing too challenging.

    3. A march tempo (120BPM) etude in 4/4. Nothing really outstanding either in this except a beat of ascending sixteenth notes and the highest note being an A above the staff.

    The main thing i'm wondering about this though is: do dynamics, accents, and crescendo/decrescendo's really matter in an audition/chair test? Because I know there are some people that will stick with forte and blast their way through, and there's a pretty drastic change in the third etude which goes from forte to pianissimo.

    The piece is the WMEA All-State Wind Symphony Audition. Not sure if it's their current one or not, but if you can find it then check it out.

    Any advice, tips, etc. are welcome.
  2. tptCarl

    tptCarl Pianissimo User

    Jan 17, 2006
    Cottonwood, Arizona
    do dynamics, accents, and crescendo/decrescendo's really matter

    DUH !!!!
  3. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    That would be a resounding "yes" (sort of corroborating tptcarl's "duh") but I would go further -- the dynamics as marked on the page are just the beginning of the interpretation. Just as actors don't simply read their lines in a monosyllable, adding emphasis only when the script calls for it, so too musicians shouldn't just play at a steady volume until the dynamics call for a change. The actors breathe life into the words they say, they make them sound like natural conversation, just as if they were actually thinking those thoughts at those moments when they're spoken. Musicians have to internalize the music, too, and breathe life into the phrasing, the notes, the *music* which is so much more than just the notation on the page.

    So spend some time with those etudes and don't just master the rhythms, pitches and the dynamics and articulations. Especially the dynamics -- look on the printed dynamics as what you absolutely have to do, and add some of your own to help shape the music. Make it come alive. That's what band directors are really looking for -- that would indicate creative thinking, leadership, willingness to do more than the apparent minimums.

    Same holds true for the scales -- don't just throw the notes out there as if they don't matter. Make each note a solo, make those scales the prettiest scales your director has ever heard.
  4. bigdanv

    bigdanv Pianissimo User

    Jan 13, 2009
    When playing the scale, make your most beautiful sound on every note. It's probably ok if you need a breath. Dynamics, accents. etc. are extremely important. Put it this way - if the other kids just blast their brains out the whole time and you play musically, who do you think will do better? Be sure to play every note with your best sound, incorporating the accents, dynamics, etc and you will do well.
  5. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    I most certainly agree with DHBailey and bigdanv, they have told you exactly right. I was a band director for many years and they are absolutely right.
  6. Zalu617

    Zalu617 New Friend

    Jul 28, 2009
    Puyallup, WA
    Thanks for the advice so far. I'll be sure to work on all of that & let you guys know how I do.. if you care that is, lol. Hoping for at least top 3 out of 12.
  7. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Don't underestimate the difficulty of these etudes you're calling "not challenging" and "nothing...outstanding." The simplest lyrical etude, played poorly, says much more about someone's playing than nailing the one technical passage and highish note. "Simple" doesn't mean "easy!"

    In grad school I was helping with school of music auditions. I overheard one of the audition candidates (a high school senior) say about the Haydn Concerto, "They just ask for that because it's so easy, they want to see if you make any mistakes." I'll let you guess if they were accepted.

    My point is, when you're performing something not terribly complicated, you MUST play with excellent time, intonation, articulation, phrasing and appropriate dynamics. Sloppy playing can be more obvious there than playing a crazy, complicated cornet solo.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    In an audition EVERYTHING counts. Most players fall through on things like half notes not being in time (the Haydn Concerto entry for instance). Once that bad habit is obvious, there is nothing that can "save" the audition

    What impresses is the lack of things that do NOT belong. Showing off demonstrates exactly what is NOT characteristic of a leader.

    Practice SLOWLY, get ALL of the notes down with a metronome. Lack of timing and groove are what separates the immature player, not technique and range.

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