I screwed up by offering some controversial comments in a post that should have only been congratulating the winner of the Atlanta audition. I apologise here for that. The content of my posts is another matter. My point (from the armchair) is that there is little excuse for bad rhythm. That is something that doesn't just happen on a not so good day. I feel that players auditioning for one of the better positions available shouldn't be "dismissed" for that reason. It is too easy to have checked and corrected BEFORE the audition. I assume that players applying for those positions a) want the job and b) know what is required beforehand. When in doubt, they have organized mock auditions before critical listeners - not to hear how wonderful they are, but to get an unbiased opinion good and bad! As much as the idea that perfect rhythm=mechanical, in real life less than perfect rhythm means that the orchestra is not together. Perfect rhythm is not a metronome, but an underlying pulse in ones (or an ensembles)playing. Accents in the right place, a flow to the musical line. This is something that many need to practice for YEARS before it becomes natural. This is not something that you "discover" at your first audition! It is a trait that I EXPECT from the best players! I mentioned in another thread that the first couple of bars of the Haydn concerto tells me where the rest is going to go. It is amazing how much "poetic license" is taken with that intro of a couple of half, eighth and 16th notes. No pulse means sloppy preparation. Knowing your horn is another "prerequisite". Uncontrolled loud (blaring) is also not dependent on a good or bad day. It is also an experience that one has to have tucked away BEFORE getting a job with a top orchestra. Maybe I am off track, but I do not see Atlanta as a training ground for a player not ready. Tom said that they tried to make the audition "player friendly". That does not mean that there is no stress. That comes with the territory. Besides the guy that got the job, the other winners are the ones that realize their strengths and weaknesses and correct them for the next time. Writing off bad rhythm as the orchestra wanting a "mechanical player" or blaring as "over-sensitivity" is not helpful or realistic. Without help, that person will fail next time too! A politically correct approach to teaching generally does not result in "hungry" players. There is only a handful of jobs out there and plenty of players. The competitive edge goes to those that have their act together. After 4 years of study, one should have a realistic view of their own strengths and weaknesses. Optimally, the prof helped the player prepare for auditions in general. If that is the case, there should be no surprises. You can lead a horse to water but can't make him drink may be true. The difference between humans and animals is that you can condition animals. If your student refuses to drink, you clearly state the problem. Then there are also no surprises at the audition. The auditionee got what they deserved. Of course we can drag this out. Plain and simple, if you want a job playing for a living, the odds are not good. Lots of competition better and worse. You need every edge that you can get. That means facing the problems head on! Those of you that didn't make it HAVE opportunities to do something about that. A metronome may not be that bad of a start. Not EVERY player that didn't get the job had a "defect" in their playing. I am sure that personal preferences (light/dark tone, leadership qualities, team qualities, reaction to suggestions/criticism......) also come into play. This is also not necessarily BAD as you have to musically live with your choice and social + playing qualities make the section work or fail.