All State Orchestra Audition Advice?
I will be auditioning for the SC All State Orchestra in January and would really like some advice for the audition. I have attached the excerpts below. Are there any suggestions anyone can give me on the music I've attached or trying to keep calm during an audition? Anything would be greatly appreciated.
Well I'm an amateur and that doesn't look like virtuoso stuff to me. So, if it's playable, then it needs to be played really really well, cleanly, with very precise rhythm and in the correct style, and exactly in tune. Make a plan for breaking down each section and isolating the hardest bits.
I can only marvel at the stark difference in difficulty between this and Texas.
I recommend all my students read "The Inner Game of Music" and put its suggestions into practice. Best book I have ever seen on performance anxiety and the psychology of successful performance.
"I can only marvel at the stark difference in difficulty between this and Texas."
What are you struggling with, specifically?
@Mary Ellen- congratulations... good job!
Yes it's wonderful that your students did so well. Congratulations.
I'm just intrigued by the selection. I'd never heard of either of the first two pieces, let alone played them (and the first one didn't even come up in a Google search so I'm assuming either very new composition–or else a movement from a suite or something.)
Thanks, Jim and Paul, and yes, population and demographics make a big difference. I was mainly marveling on how much more pleasant my life would be in South Carolina.
DeBeriot and Mazas I can understand, but Strauss and Hindemith?
Recent years have included excerpts from Concerto for Orchestra (Bartok) and Don Juan--the highest of the three All-State orchestras plays some ridiculously ambitious stuff. They sound wonderful, but the hidden cost is all the repertoire the students *aren't* learning while they drill such inappropriate music.
There is a downside to being not-all-that-good and still making all-state because of where you happen to live. Not saying that applies to you, Louis, but the downside is that you might become convinced that you're conservatory material when, in reality, the kids making all-state in the most competitive places find conservatory auditions tough.
The upside of being a high school student from a smaller state is that you may have a better chance of getting into a top school ( say Harvard ) that likes to have students from all fifty states. So, it is fair. : )
David the same might also apply to military academies. And it also goes for some awards, perhaps including National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.
When I was in Texas they used Paganini #16 as the etude.
Paul, Agreed! many of my colleagues get NSF/NIH grants for projects that would not otherwise be funded if they wereb in schools located in the Northeast.
Marty, I remember that year well as does anyone else who was preparing students that year. Thankfully it has not been repeated. The études are never repeated while one cohort is in high school, btw.
I would be interested in hearing how folks here would deal with the D-G and G-D in measures 2 and 3 of excerpt #2.
Begin excerpt #2 in third position; small shift from 3rd position (D) to 2nd position (G) in bar 2; rest of bar 2 in 2nd position; small shift from 2nd position (G) to 3rd position (D) in bar 3.
To be clear, these passages appear to be for 9-10 grades? (as the file's name) and after I looked around there are other excerpts for 11-12 which appears to be the audition pieces for the senior all state orchestra in SC.
Kan is right, you just substitute 11-12 in for 9-10 in the URL, and you get excerpts that are definitely a few notches more serious.
So if you're in 9th or 10th grade, you have to audition for the 9th/10th grade orchestra? What about the more advanced younger students? Both of my students who made Texas All-State this year are 10th graders and would definitely be able to master the 11th-12th grade excerpts, without breaking too much of a sweat.
Yes, unfortunately, you can only audition for the orchestra corresponding to your grade level.
The purpose of that scheme is just to spread the opportunity around a little more. Is it better for the 9th-grader who is ready for the upper-level orchestra to do that for four years, or is it better to let another child have that spot for two of those years? If the young prodigy feels the "lower" orchestra would be a waste of time (s)he needn't audition.
The fact that All-State was by grade level was the EXACT reason I never even considered auditioning. By the time the idea of it crossed my mind, I had already been to a summer music program where seating and orchestra placement were by grade. It was by far the lowest level program I had taken part in, since they were using age as a proxy for ability in their admissions process. I had also looked at some all-state videos on YouTube for my location ( California ) and wasn't impressed. I even turned down an offer to do the German version of all-state by one of my chamber coaches who had conducted for them.
M.E. thanks for the fingering!
Oddly enough in the UK I never heard of a youth orchestra that tied admissions to academic year. Whether it was your school, the local music centre, the county orchestras, or the national ones - you were moved up in line with your ability.
Jacob--never heard of it, sorry.
I think age based policy is ok in that more kids get to participate in music. It is really not that of a new concept--there are jr divisions and age limit in major competitions.
Lieschen, let's say there is a kid of some talent in a "fly-over" region who is really hard working and is playing the Tchaikovsky at the age of 10. If there is no age policy, she is going to the CM in the best youth orchestra until she gets to college. The second best would have no chance.
David, in that case I would recommend rotating the concert master position, at least amongst the top few. I have been involved in student orchestras who operate with a principal pool, which rotates by concert. Programs such as the Perlman Music Program rotate principals by movement, and everyone gets the chance to lead in a non-competitive environment. Rotation is good for students, because they are supposed to be learning in youth orchestra, and that includes learning how to be a leader. I wouldn't mind sacrificing a sliver of quality in that setting if it meant a good learning opportunity for the students involved. I could imagine it motivating the students to practice extra hard knowing that they would have to lead the section at some point during the season.
That only works if you have a number of students who are relatively close in ability. The problem is exactly as David noted -- when you have a player who, at a young age, already significantly surpasses all of the other students in the orchestra. Yes, sometimes students get encouraged to move onto another group, but in many areas that's not actually an option.
Lieschen, meritocracy within an age group is a sensible compromise. It is also in the best interest of the kids. Imagine how a ten-year old with a very polished Tchaikovsky would fit in a group of sixteen-year olds, all with respectable but shaky Mendelssohn/Bruch but are denied the CM position.
Lieschen, your points are well made. When I was a teenager, youth orchestra was my comfort zone. The friends I made in the orchestra were very important part of growing up. I stayed with the violin for as long as I did mainly because of them! That should count for something.
I think the reason for rotation using the 10-year-old CM example above would be because a 10 year old who plays really well will usually not have the same leadership chops as a 16 year old. Now, if he has both, then no reason to rotate.
I became the concertmaster of a middle-school-age youth symphony as a 10-year-old. The next year, at 11, I moved up to that organization's high-school-age orchestra, as the principal 2nd. And the year after that, I was displaced as principal 2nd by a 10-year-old Jennifer Koh (and I was promoted forward to sit 3rd chair first violin instead; a conservatory-bound pair of high schoolers occupied the first stand). Kids will cope with younger principals if the playing ability delta is large enough.
Lydia makes a good point. Often, in a youth symphony, the conductor or someone else does the bowings and leads the sectionals. In some youth orchestras, the only real difference between a section leader and the rest is getting to play the solos, and even then, a lot of times, the string principals aren't getting to play the meatier orchestral solos.
In a youth symphony it often is. :-)