What do audition judges look for?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by craigph, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. craigph

    craigph Piano User

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    I am about to go back to school as a VERY mature student (mid-40's) and have been hoping to audition to play in some kind of ensemble on campus. I am wondering about audition material. The large university I will be attending has an orchestra, symphonic band, and jazz ensemble that is available for non-music majors. (There are are other ensembles which are only for music majors.) Although it is open to non-music students, faculty, staff and alumni I am worried I will be competing against some far younger, much better trumpeters (who are probably music majors anyway). One of the groups said to prepare a piece/excerpt preferably with contrasting sections (about 5 min). What does contrasting mean in this case? I figure one up-tempo section, one slower, more lyrical section. Would that be the kind of thing they mean?

    More importantly - what do audition judges look for? Should I try to stretch myself (range, technique etc) or just chose something easier and focus on tone and timing?

    Another group says for their audition to prepare an excerpt of about 60 seconds which highlights my technical strengths. (I am not sure I HAVE any strengths.) Would it be appropriate to play an etude for this kind of thing? Again - what do judges look for in 'technical strengths'?

    I am a comeback player (for the past 3 or 4 years?) and have had a very busy professional life. I am, make that was, a university lecturer and work obligations would make for little or no time to practice during part of the year. I'm wondering if I will just make a fool of myself auditioning next to younger guys who have been studying/practicing/playing far more regularly. Any audition insights would be welcome. (By the way, I have A LOT of experience doing things in front of large and small groups of people (teaching, conferences, drama performances ... ) - stage fright or performance anxiety isn't a concern at all.)
     
  2. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

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    Well, my dear colleague, your post seems to tell me that even though you discount stage fright on an intellectual level, it seems to have got you on an emotional level. I know many university music groups that include students, senior students and lecturers irrespective of their musical prowess. I've been there myself.
    As to auditions: In my experience, anything that can go wrong in an audition will go wrong. So make sure there is no chance of anything wobbly. Don't stretch yourself - you might get hurt. Prepare something that is dear to you and that you know well and where you can not only shine with your mechanical perfection, but where you can depart from the artisan approach to trumpet playing and get into real music making. Get them to realize that superior life experience does count in music.
    And the main thing: Focus on BEING YOURSELF. Do not try to imitate anyone. Just be the person you are.

    If you are looking for a nice audition piece that will showcase a lot of playing variety, try Leonard Bernstein's Rondo for Lifey or Clare Grundman's Conversation for Cornet.
     
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Audition committees listen for sound, rhythm, intonation and style (not in any order). The contrasting pieces should be of a couple different styles, one fast, one slow. Something like the 2nd mvmt. of Haydn along with something loud and fast and twentieth century (Carmina Burana comes to mind).

    Don't worry about being embarrassed in the audition. You are, after all, in a different culture with different likes and dislikes. I'd approach it as something interesting and fun to do.
     
  4. craigph

    craigph Piano User

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    Thanks for the input Barliman and VB. I hadn't heard Rondo for Lifey or Conversation for Cornet before. I really like the latter and will buy the sheet music for it. I've also never heard of Carmina Burana before but a bit of googling indicates it is very popular.

    How about some excerpts from the Bach cello suites? Would that be suitable for an audition? I've been working on parts of suite I and suite IV for ages.
     
  5. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

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    Well, anything that you've "worked on for ages" sounds as if you are still struggling with it. Nice music for certain; but for an audition, you do not need anything that can trip you up. And it's always better to play something that was originally written for trumpet/cornet than a transcription. Even Malcolmb McNab did not play his versions of the Mozart violin concertos during auditions, even though he si doing them perfectly.
     
  6. MAZ

    MAZ Pianissimo User

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    If there are no requirements for a particular audition piece, make it something you enjoy playing and play well. Better to play something you already know confidently that may not be a big stretch than to aim high and fall short.

    You've definitely heard the "O Fortuna" section, maybe just didn't know the title. It is often used in movies, TV, commercials, etc.:
    Carl Orff's O Fortuna in popular culture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  7. craigph

    craigph Piano User

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    Umm.... actually I meant to imply that I know the music quite well, as opposed to something like Conversation for Cornet, which I enjoyed listening to but have never played. But point taken.
     
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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  9. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

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