|Auditions are really all about making an impression. It's important in auditions to project confidence onto the judges. Therefore it's important that *you* feel confident. It's probably a good idea *not* to listen to other people play before your audition, because by that time it usually doesn't help and might instead makes you more nervous.|
|Be sure to get plenty of rest the night before your audition. It might be wise to limit the amount of practicing of your audition piece on the night before, because it might make you nervous, and besides if there is anything you're not comfortable with in your audition piece, chances are it's too late to fix it at that point. Instead, it might be wiser to just practice some scales and play something that you're good at and enjoys.|
|Be sure to bring extra strings and the like with you to the audition. You never know what might happen, and being extra-prepared would certain cut down on your anxiety should something unexpected happen.|
|When you warm up for your audition, it is a good idea to first play some scales and related things that could warm up your fingers and bow arm a bit, and then go on to practicing the audition piece and other stuff. Once again don't obsess too much over trouble spots that you have, because chances are, there are not much you could do by that time. Try to start by play your audition piece once without stopping.|
|If scales are included in auditions, it's imperative that you don't neglect them over your audition piece during practice. The judges look mainly for intonation and evenness in scales. Regardless of the bowing, every note should be absolutely even, including notes that you have to shift up or down to. If you are slurring notes makes sure your bow changes are smooth. Extra effort should be placed on the scales going down, because it's often harder intonation wise to shift down then up. If they require arpeggios make sure your practice them well also. Finally, keep in mind that speed is not a vital issue here. Of course you have to comply with whatever minimum speed they require, but usually judges are not too big on speed. Practicing scales too fast often lead to neglect of proper intonation and evenness of notes because playing fast often decreases your concentration on those areas (and no, it doesn't decrease the judges' concentration. Bad intonation and uneven notes tend to stick out regardless of speed). Simply play at the pace you're most comfortable with.|
|As for the audition piece, and especially in orchestral auditions, rhythm is the vital issue here. You must make sure your rhythm is precise and your tempo is steady (except at where the music explicitly demands a change in tempo). Rhythm is important because for orchestra players to play together they often need a good feel for rhythm and steady tempo. Besides, rushing would only tend to make you more nervous and error-prone. And of course, after the rhythm and tempo stuff make sure you also get the intonation dynamics etc. right, especially for slow parts. Intonation is a great plus especially for passages in high positions or in high registers, because bad intonation is more noticeable in orchstral, ensemble-type playing than playing solo.|
|If your audition piece is a solo, you can, as in the scale, simply start off with the tempo you're most comfortable with (as long as it's reasonable). If you know there are fast passages ahead that you can't do too fast on, remind yourself to start the piece slower so you don't have to slow down when you get to that part (slowing down would definitely indicate to the judges that you have trouble on that part. You don't want them to know that.)|
|On the other hand, if it's an orchestral excerpt, you must be reasonable with the speed indicated. While you can still start off slower if necessary, don't slow it down so much just solely for getting every note right. Believe it or not, at orchestral excerpts it's ok to miss a few notes here and there, especially on fast passages, because sometimes the exact notes doesn't matter too much. (For example, a rapid chromatic scale doesn't have to be perfectly in tone, as long as the effects of it is there and you start and end on the right notes.) Just as long as you're not consistent in the notes you miss (another clear indication to the judges of what passages you have trouble with), don't get too upset over a few imperfect notes. In orchestral excerpts sometimes it's often more important to get the character of a fast passage rather than the exact notes.|
|This brings up another thing: is it OK to start over? Well, it's a double-edged sword. You certainly should never stop right at the very moment you made a mistake. If you stopped, that would definitely indicate to the judges that you make a mistake, whereas you might sometimes be able to get away with it if you don't stop. (That's the reason why when you warm up with your audition piece on the day of the audition you should start by playing it once without stopping.) If you feel that you're getting more and more nervous and less focused as a result of some mistakes you make and feel that going on might make things really worse, you could consider asking the judges for a second chance. However, it's a double-edge sword in that you have to make sure it sounds better the second time, because otherwise it would reinforce instead of do away the judge's impression that you're not prepared.|
|Don't play timidly or shyly; you must try to play strongly and with confidence. The confidence will show clearly in your playing and will be noted by the judges, whereas weak playing would make the judges think you're not prepared. Remember, judges are looking for strong players to be leaders of a section.|
| The dreaded sight reading. Don't obsess over getting every note right!!! This is even more
true in sight reading, because the judges understand that it's hard to get every note on first reading.
Instead, as in your audition piece, make sure the rhythm is precise. And don't forget to pay
attention to things like dynamics. Once again, the character of the sight reading excerpt often
matters more than getting every note right.
| As you're playing, try to keep yourself reading a few measures ahead of where you're
playing, if possible. (This could take some skills to get used to, so if you're not comfortable with
reading ahead on the day of the audition then don't do it much. It's something you should prepare at
home instead.) And if possible do some dynamics etc. too. It would make the passage sounds
better, and that would in turn make a better impression on the judges.
|Finally, if you're in an orchestra that re-auditions for seatings and rotates seatings etc. on a somewhat regular basis (instead of audition to get into an orchestra), don't look at such auditions as some life-or-death matter!!! Unless you're a sectional leader, moving back from your orginal seat really isn't that bad of a thing. You are still a part of your section and therefore you still count, even if you're seating in the last seat of your section. Just try to do better on the next audition!|