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.)