Resume Tips for Fledgling Auditioners

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by robertwhite, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Hi folks,

    I recently perused about 160 resumes that have been submitted for our principal trumpet audition here in Charlotte. I'm happy to say that we figured out how we could concievably hear everyone, so we won't be eliminating people based on their resumes.

    However, there were a few things about how the resumes were put together that popped up often enough that I thought I'd post some pointers on the orchestral resume - mainly for the benefit of the newly aspiring pros out there.

    Let me say again that no one was eliminated based on any of these things. I offer these bits of advice purely in the spirit of lighthearted professional guidance (FWIW):

    1. It's spelled "principal" not "principle". Like the person who ran the school.

    2. If you've subbed with a big orchestra, know whether they are a "Symphony", "Philharmonic", or just "Orchestra". When someone says they've subbed with the "Cleveland Symphony", we sort of scratch our heads.

    3. When you list groups you've played with, include dates.

    4. Indicate if you played with a group as a sub/extra. If you just put "Chicago Symphony" you're not fooling anyone. :lol: (BTW: this includes Civic and New World).

    5. Orchestras usually ask for a 1-page resume. Please don't send a 7 page curriculum vita. Those are for teaching jobs. All we really need to know is your PROFESSIONAL orchestra experience.

    If that is really light, include other professional ensembles you've played with, where you went to school and with whom you've studied (on a regular basis) and possibly list auditions you've advanced in or made the finals for. Here in Charlotte, if I see someone's been a finalist for New York Phil, etc., I'm impressed. (It probably doesn't matter as much to the bigger orchestras - I don't know). I know my own resume still includes any big jobs I've made finals for in the past couple of years.

    The bottom line here is that if you don't have much experience, that will be clear regardless of what your resume says! Don't pad your resume with irrelevant stuff. If an orchestra is going to eliminate people based on resumes, it usually comes down to "do they have a job or not?". Listing all the masterclasses you've participated in won't increase your chances.

    6. That whole thing at the top of the resume with "objective: ...." doesn't make much sense to me on an orchestral resume. I know it's standard on resumes for other fields, but I think you could leave it off of your orchestral resume. We already presume that you would like to win the job!

    7. Keep it simple - no need for fancy colored paper or flamboyant fonts. Likewise any cover letter you include should be short and sweet. "I'm submitting my resume in application for your "......" position advertised in the recent International Musician (or wherever you saw the ad). Thank you for your consideration".

    8. Be honest. This is a small, small world after all.

    Hope this is helpful. Thanks - and good luck!

  2. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003

    In our community band we have several college students that will soon be graduating. A couple of them have mentioned their desire to aution for orchestras in the near future.

    May I print out your post and give it to them?
  3. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

    Mar 22, 2005

    Great post, thank you.

  4. BFlinch83

    BFlinch83 Pianissimo User

    Dec 12, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Hi Bob,

    Really great post. Greatly appreciate the advice!

  5. bftrumpet

    bftrumpet New Friend

    Sep 30, 2004
    Miami, Florida
  6. trumpjosh

    trumpjosh Pianissimo User

    Dec 13, 2003
    Great post, but the above quote begs the question: does this mean split committees for the first round? If so, how many will there be and will the auditions be played in small rooms?

    Thanks in advance. This would be pretty important inofrmation to know ahead of time. It makes a tough situation tougher when you find out the day of the audition, as I'm sure you know.

    - Josh
  7. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Josh, if you are an applicant there will be an email from the PM in the next day or so explaining how everything is going to work. If you didn't provide an email address, she'll call you.

    rdt1959, please feel free. The Doug Yeo website mentioned above is a great resource for aspiring professionals.
  8. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Thanks, Robert. That's very helpful.

    A question if I may: in instances where candidates are eliminated by resume first, if you've been turned down because of a thin resume, how favorable is it to ask for an audition anyway? Does that come off as being a whiner? Should one accept the resume-weeding comittee's decision as final?
  9. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    I've only ever heard of people being allowed to come play in such a case, never the opposite. If an applicant who's been rejected emails the PM and politely states that they really feel they are qualified for the job, I imagine at least some PM's would find an opening. I suppose, though, that if someone was a real jerk about it, then the PM would be less inclined to make room.

    That's not to say it's a sure thing. I'm sure there are some groups that won't budge. But in these days of Matt Muckeys and Carole Jantschs, you have to wonder how committed such a group would be to finding the best player if they are so exclusionary in their invitation practices.

    A lot of major orchestras are doing tapes these days, which allows younger players a chance to get in. It's usually only orchestras in the same tier mine is in that "weed out" based on resumes. However, I don't think it's from an inflated sense of place on their part. I think it has much more to do with available space and available time. I'm glad, though, that we'll be able to hear plenty of candidates.

    One myth I'd like to take this opportunity to dispel is the one that says "just show up. Then they have to let you play". Every orchestra makes its own rules for how auditions are run. The AF of M ("the union") has recommended procedures, but each orchestra details audition procedures in its own contract. The bottom line is that while they may let you play if you just show up, they probably don't have to. Better, I think, to make your case firmly but politely to the PM. They'll probably accomodate you.
  10. trumpjosh

    trumpjosh Pianissimo User

    Dec 13, 2003
    Fair enough. I got an email, but it didn't have any details on the questions I posed here. I will assume that another email will be on the way in the next feew days. I appreciate you posting here and please don't take my questions the wrong way. We all want to do our best, no?

    Thanks again,

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