I was wondering if you guys had any practice tips to get pieces to that final level of perfection! I have been working on my audition pieces for about 6 months now and I am wondering how to practice each piece... it feels as if I have plateaued but I know I can get them near to perfection and it seems like I am just not getting anywhere. It's quite discouraging actually.
Any specific practicing tips for Sibelius/Bach Chaconne/Mozart 5? I am struggling on how to manage my practice time on each piece.
All tips are greatly appreciated since I am doing live auditions next month!
What specifically are you struggling with? Could you ask your teacher?
Is your issue consistency -- i.e., you make little slips, maybe concentration lapses or the like, on bits that don't seem all that hard? Or is your issue that you haven't technically mastered some bits and they are more often wrong than not?
I can share with you, how we prepare our kids for dance competitions. After they know well all the composition, and in general master the techniques, we film them and sit with them and discuss what can be improved and how. We list all the comments, and then work on one by one. To do so, we work out on the item from the list, then take the problem place with 8bars from each side, then take 16 bars from each side, then 32 bars from each side etc. Then we repeat the whole piece from the start to the next item from the improvement list etc. For 1,5 h of dance class, about 4-5 items can be solved. Sometimes, we rank the list first: we put major issues first in the list. But it has negative effect of wrong practice smaller issues, which then more difficult to solve.
Without hearing and seeing specifics, I will, nevertheless, offer one item I found especially helpful. Once you've mastered the pieces and, let us hope, performed them in public prior to the audition, then put them away for an interval to let them ripen. After the interval, take them out again and review them.
You can’t improve unless you know what needs improvement. It could be intonation, phrasing, tempo, string crossings, bow distribution etc. I think you reach a point where you do not hear yourself and keep repeating the same thing in the same ways. Perhaps you need to record yourself, listen to your performance, note down for each sections what isn’t right, figure out what correct should sound like, and go back and rework each section focusing on correcting the things that need correction. This is easier said than done though, you may need the help of your teacher or another experienced player to point out what needs improving and what it should sound like. You can compare your performance to a professional recording of the same and work what you hear is working in the pro recording that isn’t in your own. Once you have a clear picture of the desired end result, it should be much easier to focus your practice. Don’t waste practice time playing the good parts. If your technique is limiting you, step back and work on études and exercises to develop the technique that is the limiting factor.
If it's an audition for an orchestra, I can say from experience that they're looking a lot for how impressive you look. Last year a person who moved their body around a lot but wasn't actually good got pretty high in 1st violin for an orchestra I was participating in. Try recording yourself, turning off the volume, and ask yourself "do you look like you know what you're doing?". Also, experiment with different vibrato frequencies at different parts, especially for pieces like the Chaconne that are almost all vibrato, and the opening of the Sibelius.
Andrew wrote: “
Thank you all so much!
It is inevitable that you will get stale and run out of ways to practice as you approach an audition, especially if you have been working on the literature for an extended amount of time.