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The Weekend Vote

Have you ever botched an audition?

June 5, 2009 at 9:40 PM

I have to say that my love of good stories. as well as all this talk about auditions, won out this week over my desire to be completely positive...

I suppose there is a theoretical chance that some of us have had a 100 percent positive experience with auditions, but most people who take risks and seek to better themselves run up against the occasional glitch, or challenge, or outright failure, in their quest. It can even happen quite early on, for example for me: the first time I tried out for the Young Artists Orchestra of Denver, when I was 12. Mr. Topilow, I'm so sorry that I threw up, nearly all over your lap...

Please take survey and do include your most vivid story below!


From Anne Horvath
Posted on June 5, 2009 at 9:42 PM

Not "totally" botched, but I have a  *cough*  few painful memories...

The first national audition I ever took (low-pay ICSOM) I was so freaked out after playing the 1st round that while leaving the hall, I burst into tears.  Really let them go!  The poor PM was so startled...I actually made it to the 2nd round, but didn't win the gig.


From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 5, 2009 at 11:30 PM

It was more than 25 years ago, and I'm still so embarrassed at what a goose I was, I don't want to talk about it.

From Christopher Liao
Posted on June 6, 2009 at 12:43 AM

Yes, definitely! Just two weeks ago, actually. I wanted to take a risk to play the first page of Bruch for my orchestra audition... I picked it up 3 days prior. Well needless to say, I didn't do so well primarily due to lack of preparation on my bad behalf. But apparently the guy liked it, so I may be off the hook. Hope all goes well for next year!

From Bev Saunders
Posted on June 6, 2009 at 6:13 AM

Ohhh...there have been a few. 

My first (that isn't a repressed memory yet) was when I was13 playing for the Washington State Music Educators competition.  I finished my piece and wanted to get out of there so fast that I just walked off the stage and started down the aisle. I totally forgot that the judges would have me play other music as well; one of the judges called out really loud and said, "wait, you're not done yet...come back here". So I turned around and walked back on stage. Not suprisingly I never did find my stride in the other music I had to play.

From Wiebke Nazareth
Posted on June 6, 2009 at 11:22 AM

I envy those who were able to answer with no.... Or did they never audition??? I have never met anybody who didn't have his or her bad audition story! I am terribly embarrassed by my own audition history, but wouldn't want to miss one of them, because I learned so much from my mistakes! 

From Kylie Svenson
Posted on June 6, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Seriously? A quarter of us have had exclusively positive audition experiences?

I think my worst was my first school orchestra audition. I was so nervous and flustered there was actually ringing in my ears as I walked into the room. The very first excerpt (a not terribly difficult one) was in A major. Three measures in I missed a shift and modulated into Ab...and stayed there. For about 8 very long measures....

From Eitan Silkoff
Posted on June 6, 2009 at 6:51 PM

ever started a scale on one note and ended it in a different key? yea

From Royce Faina
Posted on June 6, 2009 at 7:28 PM

It happens to all of us!!!!!

From Michael Avagliano
Posted on June 6, 2009 at 10:33 PM

It can't be possible to have never had a bad audition... it just can't! 


From Kevin Jang
Posted on June 7, 2009 at 12:28 AM

My undergraduate audition at CIM 10 years ago.  I studied with David Updegraff at Encore that summer and was considering coming to his studio.  So when I went to the audition and was nervously waiting like everyone else.  Right before my audition I went to the bathroom.  I later walked in the audition, played my rep and walked out.  During the audition, I noticed in the corner of my eye, Mr. Updegraff , Mr. and Mrs. Cerone were kind of smirking at something.  The first thing that went through my mind was, " is it that bad?!", as I finished and walked to the door, Mr. Updegraff walks over to me and I said, "really bad?" and he says, "no, that's not it, look down."  I looked down and realized my shirt was coming of the fly of my pants!



From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 7, 2009 at 12:08 PM

I wonder if there are so many "no" answers because it's possible to interpret this question in different ways. Maybe one can say that an audition wasn't "totally botched" if something was learned from it. 

I found myself wondering about the definition of "botched."  The Merriam-Webster online dictionary has two:1 : to foul up hopelessly —often used with up  2 : to put together in a makeshift way.   If you're talking about auditions, these can be quite different (although #2 can easily lead to #1). 

My own worst "botched" audition, in college, was a case of that.  I didn't understand, or at least couldn't put into practice, in some fundamental way, what was really wanted and needed in terms of preparation.  I'd been preparing for that audition for almost an entire year, and somehow, when I got there, I was still not adequately prepared.  Sure, I was nervous, but it wasn't just a case of nerves screwing up a well-prepared piece.  The whole thing was makeshift.  Afterwards, I felt like a naive country mouse, or a little kid who had been, mistakenly, trying to play with the big boys. In retrospect, I had had very little audition or recital experience, and didn't even know that, going in, that more probably would have helped.  The feeling that "I'm totally over my head and out my league" was hard to get over.

From Richard Hellinger
Posted on June 7, 2009 at 2:45 PM

I may have limited audition experience (about 10 of them so far, not including college ones) but I don't think I have ever botched an audition. I have made mistakes in auditions-everyone of us have, but I don't think they were great enough to "botch" the entire audition.


From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 7, 2009 at 9:13 PM

You think 10 auditions is "limited" experience?  I don't think I had done even that many when I started college.  I was just trying to count up how many I've had in my entire life and it's still not much more than 10.  I'm curious, what would be a number of auditions that would be considered "experienced"?  Number of years spent auditioning doesn't help much because I don't know how many auditions someone goes on in the course of a year.

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