The most important aspects of a good audition

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Mandera3
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The most important aspects of a good audition

Post by Mandera3 » Sat Jan 12, 2008 3:42 pm

What are some of the most important aspects of a good audition, assuming that the audition isn't perfect. Is it more important to have all the notes right, musicality, ryhthm. I knwo it is important to have all of these things down, but if you were examining an auditioner, what would be some of the most important qualiites you would like to see in someone, say auditioning for a college?
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fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:35 pm

I personally see all three of them as being almost entirely equal.

Based off of the experiance I have had [which isn't a whole lot, but it is still some] with students I have taught, and what I see among University student musicians who are my peers, I would expect that rythmical accuracy and note correctness is absolutely mandatory.

The auditionee must also have [at least] the beginnings of musicality. They must at least show that they are trying to be musical even if they are not neccessarily succeeding. Their lack of success at musicality could simply be the result of lack of training, or lack of understanding of exactly HOW to be musical. As we get older, and develop as musicians, many people find that their ear improves in discerning musicality from noise. Several world reknowned flutists have even stated that we can only improve as much as our ear can hear. You can't be musical if you can't discern what is good or bad in your own playing.

Also, because many students are taught in public school bands to make sure they have all of the right notes, rythms, and group dynamics, individual musicality is often left untrained. So, if you can at least show that you are trying to be musical [even if your success isn't extremely high], you can learn to be musical. I actually just had an experiance with that today. A flutist in my studio was preparing for her auditions in to our University Concert Band. She had all of the right notes, and all of the right rythms, but her expression seemed lacking. So, with a subtle nudge of advice here and there to help her efforts at musicality come across to the listener, her audition piece improved dramatically.

Just my .02

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:45 pm

All very good points. I have been the adjudicator for several competitions and honors band type auditions. What I have discovered through this is that the average high school flutist has very little grasp of musicality and the ones that do tend to have a poor concept of rhythm. These have to go together, along with a good sound. What you should be striving for is a complete package and not pinpointing one. If one is lacking, invest time in that area, but don't neglect the other two (and don't forget tone quality).

asoalin
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Post by asoalin » Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:53 pm

fluteguy18 wrote:So, with a subtle nudge of advice here and there to help her efforts at musicality come across to the listener, her audition piece improved dramatically.
What are some ways that a student could work to improve their individual musicality?
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." -Sergei Rachmaninoff

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:56 pm

Because no one here can give you direct coaching, my biggest piece of advice, is that if you do not already have a teacher, get one.

If you already have a teacher, not only should you take his/her advice, but I would also recommend recording yourself. Take a tape/digital recorder, your computer, or anything that will make a recording of fairly decent quality.

Listen to the recording while looking at the music, and make notes.

Ask yourself questions. Why is this articulation here? Why is this dynamic put here? What is the composer trying to say? Would a light and feathery tone suit this music better, or a very dark and rich tone color be more suitable? What about something in between? What sort of attacks am I using [ tah/too vs. dah/doo]. What about the shapes of the END of the notes? Am I cutting off the ends of the notes abruptly, am I lifting them, am I tapering them? Which seems to be the most appropriate? Vibrato? Light and shimmering, or wide and heavy? My breathing! Where do I breathe? Is it in a good place? Does it break the phrase? If so, where can I breathe without disrupting the phrase? Do I have to breathe in the phrase at all?! Should these repeated notes be bouncy? Chirpy? Legato? Staccato? How can I make this different? What sort of picture does this music paint in my head? Is a bird fluttering though the meadow, or are angels charging down the mountains to smite evil? Is the music romantic? Is it scary and spooky? What kind of music is this anyway? Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary? And what about PHRASING! Inner phrasing, phrasing to match the contour of the music...Where is the phrase leading to? Where should I put the weight or emphasis on the beat.... I could talk about phrasing for days.


JUST ASK QUESTIONS!!!!! If you can ask the question, chances are, are that it is a very valid question regardless of "stupidity" or how ever tiny the subtlety. Always ask the question: how can I make this unique, connect to the audience, but still make sense within the context of the [written] music?

I was once told by Colonel Arnold Gabriel [Conducted the Navy band I believe....] that music is NOT what is written sitting on the stand in front of you. That is merely paper and ink. Music is what we make together. It is what we fill the air with. It is what connects each of us. Music can reach in and connect directly into the soul of every human being.

One of my favorite quotes:

"An Artist paints on canvas. A musician paints on silence."

Claiken
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Post by Claiken » Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:55 pm

honestly, through the auditions. ive basically learned, you have to be perfect!! no breathing, technical, or tuning errors allowed!

sorry.... i may be exaggerating a tad... but only a tad!
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etgohomeok
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Post by etgohomeok » Sun Jan 13, 2008 8:23 am

I just got back from an audition. The advice I have to give is practice everything, don't focus only on your weakest aspect.

If sight reading is part of the audition, get the notes and rhythms right before you try adding musicality. That's what screwed me up yesterday.

stewyflute13
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Post by stewyflute13 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:38 am

I know this is an old thread, but I think it's a great subject.

I personally believe that no one is perfect, and that means that no one's audition will be perfect. I would say that making the music is more important than getting every single note perfect. Obviously if you are making lots of note errors, or if you have a bad habit coming across (such as making 'slurpies' or something else that is a bad habit) they will start to mark you down for that. But if you play a great program for a place like Curtis, it is only human to miss a few notes.

I believe the most important aspect of an audition is two-fold: Communicating the feelings you feel deep inside of you about the music to the listener's, and bringing the adjudicator's into the world of the composer: i.e. Debussy, Mozart, or whatever it is you may be playing.

Having been through some tough auditions in my life, I know what people mean when they say you have to be perfect. It feels like the only people who get into those Big name schools played perfect, but I bet somewhere along in their audition there was a human moment or two also :wink:

and, for the love of God, don't play Chant de Linos just to show off how fast your fingers can fly. =)

I would recommend learning the "Little Melodious Studies" of Moyse before that.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 12:06 pm

stewyflute13 wrote: and, for the love of God, don't play Chant de Linos just to show off how fast your fingers can fly. =)
:lol:

Lol that's funny. But I guess it's because it's on my program for my audition for grad schools. I do agree with this though. It shouldn't be played for the sole reason of showing off your technique. I used to think this piece was only about technique and being flashy (with little to no musicality/musical value), but as I have learned it, there's a lot more depth to it, and I find it incredibly fun to bring character to the musical moments in the piece. Even though it is a VERY contemporary piece, it is also a bit like a tone poem. It was based off of Grecian mourners, their screams and cries while mourning, and the dances they would do. So I have fun bringing that to life. But if you are playing it only to dazzle the judges with your technique, the performance will be lifeless and lack-luster.

To balance my audition out, I have pieces from every era chosen to showcase the other aspects of my playing. That way the judges can choose what they would like to hear (which is expected at the schools I am applying at).

stewyflute13
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Post by stewyflute13 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:13 pm

yeah i think you are going to be fine, Fluteguy You seem to get what's important in music and i think you're going to do great on your grad auditions! I'm excited to hear where you get in! =) Man, if you can think of the chant de linos as a tone poem, you've really got some good understanding of what music IS, (including where the lines of music flow from, through, and towards; if that makes any sense... just because there are so many notes in that dang piece ;)) I also really think you're on about bringing out the musical character/ historical meaning in the elements of music: I just started listening to Carol Wincenc and felt that she really brings out these elements as well (I don't know where I've been my entire flute life without hearing Carol Wincenc ;)) Anyways, ya, rock on! ;)

Stewyflute13

stewyflute13
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Post by stewyflute13 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:53 pm

and i just have to say this: in regards to how we can play more musically, a lot of that can be developed through life experience, such as falling in love, maturing our own selves, in a strong sense i think a lot of times a very good way to prepare for an audition is to live well, i.e. eat well, sleep well, have times for social fun + play, be a balanced, whole person who lives, loves, laughs, and cries, all these things will help us to play more musically because music is art, and art is life. We must breath, feel, express, and give through our music (we must also receive too!), we must learn that contrast is better than sameness in playing music, and that maybe in that large run when we hit the high note, it will be more musical to hold back a little bit on that note rather than to try to show the world how great we think we are by blasting that note as loud as we can.

In addition, overcoming a life trauma, or going through times of bad as well as good can teach us to be more musical. Cuz trust me, it's all in that music, the good and the bad, the sweet, and the sorrow.

Basically, I think that a lot of times, a player's musical maturity has developed to a very good level at the same time that that person's personal integrity and personal level of maturity have also reached a grown-up, complete, and whole level.

I think I've mentioned this quote on here before, but I love what M. Moyse said in: "I long ago observed that the real beauty of the sound comes from the generosity of the heart." What a great thing to say! =)
So don't forget to develop yourselves as well your precise exercises- I totally agree with Flutguy in how to prepare these through what he said in his post earlier on in this thread.. Just some food for thought! Ciao!,

Andrew

stewyflute13
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Post by stewyflute13 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:56 pm

*fluteguy

sorry, man, I know you're not a 'flut'guy! :)

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:23 pm

Absolutely! I love Carol Wincenc. She is a genuine artist. She, Christina Jennings, Marina Piccinini, and Jim Walker are among my favorites right now. And they ALL do the same thing! They try to understand what the composer intended and portray that image, but yet be true to themselves as individual artists with their own creative image.

And you're totally right on this one. You have to draw from life experiences to make your music captivating. I was speaking to a friend of mine once about how much I was practicing and this and that, and she said: Stop! You know, you have to feed your music. You need to have something to play about. She then proceeded to invite me to dinner at a Thai restaurant with her studio (she's the double reeds professor here at my university **we go to church together too**).

So yeah. Feed your music. If you don't live life, you're just starving your craft of true passion and meaning.

And on that note, I am leaving to go make a late night run to Dairy Queen with some friends. :D

Gotta feed my craft! ;)

lol

asoalin
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Re:

Post by asoalin » Sun May 15, 2011 12:51 am

fluteguy18 wrote:Even though it is a VERY contemporary piece, it is also a bit like a tone poem. It was based off of Grecian mourners, their screams and cries while mourning, and the dances they would do.
I just started listening to Chant de Linos. Totally makes sense! Where did you get this info?

I know this is an old thread, but it sure is a great one! Lots of fantastic advice. I should go back and read it again!
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." -Sergei Rachmaninoff

Mandera3
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Re: The most important aspects of a good audition

Post by Mandera3 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:14 pm

Hi everyone, sense writing this original post I not only made it into college but now have a degree in music education. I have learned SO much about my own question. Although passion is always important, I student must always know where the heights of the phrases are, where they are leading to and what type of mood they are trying to express. They need to be able to listen to professionals and have a good model from their teacher. For me, I have found that to improve musicality, creating my own story before researching the history really helps. I create a mental image and sometimes an actual hardcopy image that I put on the cover of the piece I am playing. I find that this works really well with students. They need to understand the point of the music and why it is meaningful to them.
Dream Big, set goals, follow your heart

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