A 14 year old violist's Pre-college Juilliard audition

October 28, 2007 at 01:31 AM · Hi,

I am going to audition for the Pre-college division of Juilliard. The audition seems incredibly... I mean it seems REALLY REALLY EASY this is stuff I did 2-3 years ago.

For students that want to audition and are 14 years old and younger:

1. Major and minor scales in three octaves.

2. An ├ętude on the level of Mazas or Wohlfahrt.

3. Two contrasting movements from a Baroque concerto or sonata by a composer such as Telemann or Vivaldi, or a work of comparable difficulty.

1.First of all I'm capable of playing all 3 octave major and minor scales with their arpeggios(the arpeggios aren't required).

2. Im already on Kreutzer's ├ętudes.

3. Ive memorized all four movements to the Telemann viola concerto.

Has any here ever auditioned for the Pre-college division of Juilliard and if so did you find it EXTREMELY EASY.




October 28, 2007 at 01:35 AM · They will judge your playing by HOW you play this music, have no worries about that. Or maybe you should!

Good Luck.

October 28, 2007 at 02:08 AM · Well I have won several competitions in my local Orchestra and in my HS chamber group playing either the Telemann viola concerto or the Hoffmeister viola conerto(depending on my mood).

It says that there will also be a solo part or the audition of which i am still trying to decide whether or whethe not I should do the Hoffmeister or maybe something else like Bach sonatas or the "viola" suites( i know no.1 by memory).

October 28, 2007 at 02:16 AM · well how long have you been playing? i heard they also expect you to play it really well so yeah maybe its easy but is it easy to play it almost completely correct? Dang youre lucky though that you are capable of auditioning in the first place. I would like to but im not close to near advanced enough plus my mom and my 2 other siblings cant live in NYC cuz its way to expensive to live in.

October 28, 2007 at 03:41 AM · the whole point of Juilliard is not CAN you play this music. That is assumed. They are actually looking for HOW you play the music. I.E, flawless intonation and rhythm, an exceptional tone, and original musicality. Having all four of these at once is very rare, and only those who have them will gain entrance into the school.

October 28, 2007 at 04:08 AM · That's interesting. I didn't know original musicality or even exceptional tone were prerequisites to juilliard pre-college.

October 28, 2007 at 11:37 AM · Maybe the audition requirements can be described as "easy" after you have been granted a spot.

October 28, 2007 at 11:40 AM · Your attitude to the viola and the school will surely show through. Your e-mail leaves me wondering if you are on the brash, "can't tell me anything" side that goes with teenage for a lot of American kids. This won't necessarily work in your favor. Sue

October 28, 2007 at 11:49 AM · My audition is in a like a month and a half, December 9th.

Wow, What is with all trying to somewhat discourage me.

First of all if I wasnt a capable violist I wouldnt be eligible for the audition anyway.


Second of all, Sue, you maybe right but if you could not tell me anything then i wouldn't be the violist I am now

October 28, 2007 at 12:12 PM · Blake,

Play your heart out and GO FOR IT!


October 28, 2007 at 12:17 PM · blake, i think it is great you are excited about the audition and confident about your ability. the concerns or suggestions by others are coming from one motive: to help you better prepared for it.

you must be pretty good winning those local competitions. however, as you can imagine, you just do not know what you do not know on what is out there in terms of standards and competition. so, it is wiser to be a little cautious...

i do not know the 14 yo julliard standard for an average viola player, but i have seen some 14 yr julliard violin players who have cds and given solo concerts.

and the funny thing is, one of them said, the ones sitting behind him in the orchestra have no clue on intonation! so i guess there is hope still for everyone. haha.

anyway, be prepared for the unexpected, have fun, and don't lose your enthusiasm no matter what others say. except that when your head gets too hot, you may lose it:)

best regards.

October 28, 2007 at 12:34 PM · No one's trying to discourage you, we're just trying to warn you against getting over-confident. (Once you get old and wise like me--18 haha--you start to realise that there isn't really ANY "easy" music.) :)

October 28, 2007 at 12:45 PM · The more one has to be arrogant about, the less attractive it appears to others. Although it's never particularly graceful an attitude.

October 28, 2007 at 01:16 PM · Im not arrogant! All I said was that everything seemed oddly easy for an audition for a school such as Juilliard.

I got my reasoning from the fact that Wohlfahrt and Mazas are like the first 3 etude books that most people start with when they begin to play a stringed insturment.

Scales are probally the 3 or 4th MOST IMPORTANT thing next to bowings, rhythym, and intonation in no particular order. So scale must be something that imo all violinist, violist, cellist, and bassist should know.

If any of you have ever acutally played the entire Telemann viola concerto; it is acutally realativly easy(after 8 years of playing).

October 28, 2007 at 02:23 PM · Blake, it's the easy stuff that can come back and bite you really hard. Can you play open strings really-really well? It's not as easy as it sounds. I'm not kidding.

Do you play etudes, easy ones included, with musicality and feeling or do you play them simply as written, ie. monotone and boring.

A major symphony I know asks their auditionees to play a Kreutzer etude and they judge how well the aspirant plays with feeling, among other givens.

A close friend on the pro golf tour has amateurs chuckling about his missing short putts off and on. He said take the amateur and give him/her a three foot putt and if the put misses the amateur loses ALL his money. Not so easy then, is it?

I'm not ranting at you at all, just giving you an idea what the real world is like. Trust me, what appears so-called easy is not.

October 28, 2007 at 02:55 PM · blake if it's so easy, go nail it and become a faculty member.

October 28, 2007 at 03:19 PM · Yes, I do apply musicality, emotion, and feeling into the peice of music even with the Kreutzer etudes I play. Im not a stiff player that just stands that and moves my left hand and my right arm. I use the 3 differnent types of vibrato to put effect into the music and not just one type of vibrato that gets boring. I was taught that playing an instrument should be an "extension of the player's soul" if you sit there and play note from a bleached complilation of cellulose; if you do that imo and my teachers opinion you are failure musician.

October 28, 2007 at 03:18 PM · Dear Readers,

When I was speaking of people trying to discourage me and make we not want to complete other peoples dreams that they couldnt fufil. I was speaking of such comment as the one made by Pieter two comments above this

October 28, 2007 at 03:30 PM · Just a suggestion: consider that some exceptionally talented students may be auditioning at the age of 8 or 10 after just a couple of years of playing. The repertoire list gives those students the same chances as a 14 year old who has been playing for three times as long, and who might otherwise try to dazzle the judges with a showier audition. The list levels the field, and exposes the same strengths, weaknesses, and general merits in every applicant.

October 28, 2007 at 03:33 PM · Pieter's always like that, don't take it personally. :)

You sound like you've had good teaching and are on the right path to becoming a very good musician as well as a good instrumentalist. Just beware of arrogance! I've seen pomposity and inflated egos ruin many things. It's easy to get arrogant especially when you're very talented--just guard against that, OK?

And just FYI, there are many more than three kinds of vibrato. :)

October 28, 2007 at 03:16 PM · oooops that was my mistake i personally think that there are 4 types of vibrato which i subdivide.

My 4 main vibrato goups:

Short slow

Short fast

Wide slow

Wide fast

October 28, 2007 at 03:59 PM · Blake, what I was saying was that if you think the rep is so easy, then you won't have any trouble going there an playing exceedingly well.

Also, don't make assumptions about what people's dreams are and what they are capable of, that's just stupid.

October 28, 2007 at 03:54 PM · It sounds like you are a talented violist, but I think it is wise to keep in mind that anything can happen in these auditions. Are you good at sightreading? They may throw that at you, so start sightreading a few pieces a day, just to get you in shape.

Whether or not you feel arrogant about your playing, sometimes being too blunt in writing can make you appear that way. There have been schools I have auditioned at and I thought, "Wait, these are easy requirements, I can do these." But you know what? Quite often these auditions are the hardest. By picking requirements that are relatively, technicaly speaking, low, they can really listen for the kinds of qualities that present themselves with exceptional musicians: musicality, a conceptual idea of tone (even if they can't do it perfectly yet), good rhythm, and beautiful intonation. Also, and I believe this was mentioned above, some children are auditioning for the pre-college audition with this same repertoire at the age of 6 or 7. They keep the requirements low so that everyone will have the same requirements (or so I believe, I never auditioned), but expect the 14 year olds to obviously sound more mature. So just work on refining what you are playing and making it as polished as you can. And be happy that you feel so confident on these pieces, but remember a little humility and you'll do great!

October 28, 2007 at 04:10 PM · A short story. My Father was a symphony conductor and concert organist and liked to tell this story about his jolt to reality as a brash teenager. He said he "was a prodegy but thankfully outgrew it."

At age 16 he already had a record out and was the organist of a church in Rhinebeck N.Y. where several U.S. Presidents, the Roosevelts, John Jacob Aster and dozens of multi-multi millionairs attended.

Juilliard used to be the Walter Damrosch Institite and my father figured, as a 16 year old prodegy and friend of Mr. Damrosch that studying with Gaston Duthier, (sp) the very famous organist of Notre Dame in Paris would help cement his career. Duthier was the Galamian, Leopold Auer, and Dorothy DeLay all rolled into one. If he accepted you your career was as good as gold.

Dad thought that as he was already well known and a "great" player, but maybe this guy could give him a few hints here and there. Yup, I bet you know what's coming, LOL. Dad said he played his audition for Mr. Duthier and played very very well. After he finished he sat back waiting for the accolades sure to come. He told me how Duthier sat back, rubbed his beard and said in very broken English, "well Mr. Randall, you play like a rhinosaurus." Then dad said it went downhill from there. He did say that thankfully Mr. Duthier accepted him as a student and he said he realized how much he really did not know and how much he needed to learn about playing and musicality. Dad said he also got away from the typical teenage idea that he knew it all.

Blake, this is not a critique of you at all, just be aware of how much you, all of us, don't know yet. Best of luck, we're rooting for you.

October 28, 2007 at 04:12 PM · Blake,

While the rep might seem quite easy, consider the following - Pinchas Zukerman once did a masterclass and the girl playing for him played the Dvorak concerto. After she was done playing, all he had her do was practice playing open strings. While that may seem like a very simple request, developing a great sound is essential before you can play a piece. So when you do your audition, it's probably a fair assumption that they're not going to just check that you play all the notes. They want to hear it with a really good sound, interesting musical ideas, and solid technique. Remember, sometimes the most basic ideas can be the most difficult to fully mater.

Best of luck!


October 28, 2007 at 04:42 PM · Ray - I know that I am do not know every thing, but sometimes I do get a bit cocky being Principal violist and being in a quartet that plays rather hard to play peices such as Ravel's String Quartet in F major. I will admit that I can be cocky in some instances but I am not a full-time pompous teenager.

If I don't make it, yes I will be disapointed, but Im not going to be devastated.

I dont call myself a prodigy becuase Im no Zukerman, Bashmet, Tertis, or Primrose

October 28, 2007 at 05:19 PM · Blake-as someone who got into a Masters' program at a conservatory-I can tell you from experience that these requirements are a BASELINE requirement. I remember when I auditioned here at Mannes, they said just a concerto...which could be taken as loosely as like, the Haydn. However, kids came in playing like, Paganini 1st concerto and stuff...I played Barber which was a HUGE stretch for me at the time, and people actually laughed that I would choose such an "easy" piece. Just food for thought.

More food for thought....have you ever heard, like, snooty conservatory kid X play Bazzini or Ysaye or something? Then listen to Oistrakh play some Mozart next to that...

October 28, 2007 at 06:21 PM · Hi, Blake,

In no way am I suggesting that. I'm just giving all you younger musicians an idea of the way it really is in the real world. I'm sure you will do fine.

After the mild bashing you're taking here you

should find the audition actually a bit easier.

When you do go there to play just forget everything around you and play only for yourself. Make your mind a blank and play like you normally do and you should be pleasantly surprised on how well you do.

Good luck.

October 28, 2007 at 06:51 PM · Im no violin virtuoso, heck i beleive im real bad at the violin (But im working real on it and I love it to death) but my teacher who just actually graduated from Indiana University's music program w/ the violin and viola, the teacher she studied with was one of the judges for auditions for the schools program. Her teacher said that conservetories and music program teachers are looking for students who have an absolute passion for music and play with an absolute passion. They are looking for people who can play hard pieces without having to worry about the technical music itself, and could actually rather focus on the passion and feeling and emotion in the music. Man u still lucky though, I would kill to go to Juilliard pre college.

October 28, 2007 at 07:12 PM · Good luck to ya, if your as good as you make yourself sound I'm sure you will do fine, haha I sure wish I was that advanced....

October 28, 2007 at 08:17 PM · Eventually,you may be ground into dust particles.

You will be competing with the very best in music.

Try to be humble,you may be suprised that tons of players,your age,are much better than you are.

In fact,it's a given.

Let us know,everyone loves a success episode !

October 28, 2007 at 08:31 PM · My teacher often tells me a quote that goes something like this:

"The easiest way to make the gods laugh is to tell them your plans".

Practice hard!

October 28, 2007 at 09:58 PM · You'll do fine. There's nothing wrong with having realistic confidence if you are taking-on tough tasks in life. Can you imagine being a heart surgeon and not having a strong ego? You would crumble into the fetal position after cracking open the chest!

Yet confidence is best when paired with humility, which is simply knowing your strengths and weaknesses with rigorous honesty. Don't let confidence blind you from seeing the areas that fall short, lest you those areas reveal themselves unexpectedly.

After you pass your audition because you can make your violin sing, try to learn "Moto Perpetuo" by Niccolo Paganini.

October 28, 2007 at 09:00 PM · Shannon, I like that saying and believe the gods laugh is a good motivator:)

Blake, all the others are genuinely trying to be help you to see things with more layers so that you are better prepared. That's what you want, right?

You sounded a bit defensive. No need to. Just work hard and show the world what you can. We are all here to support you and hope to see you do well. Let us know how it goes, okay?

October 28, 2007 at 09:28 PM · Greetings,

got to admit I felt a bit sorry for Blake after a few posts ;) I don`t find himas annoyingly arrognat as some mature players on this list can be , myself included , at times. If I was fourteen again and looking at this requirment I@d be pretty much the same I think...

What I would like to note, not just for Blake, but in generla is how damn hard these requirements are;) You can cover up an awful lot of sins playign a Paginin caprice or a romantic piece badly. You can`T cover them in a scale (which is why Heifetz prioritize dthem in his masterclass candiate interviews and his comments on reocrd) . If you think about it a basic scales shows up everything you need ot know about the hands and the maturity of your ear. Do yu have everynote ringing rather than just -in tune- and do you ahve a harmoic sense. One can tell the degre eof roundedness of a msucian bu the feeling of harmony or not that lies under a players simple scale.

Then think about what it takes to play -in a small room with a piano infront of one of the toughest jurors on the palnet- thes ehorribly exposed baroque works. Most people can play them okay but how many even adfvanced players actually ahve a beautiful detache that segues into martele, a tasteful spicatto (if you wnat it) and perfect coordination. Not to mention perfect intonation on eveyr note every time. yu can@T cover it with vibrato in these works.

If it was me I woudl have alrm bells ringing and be in thta pracitce room with a tape recorder going for more and more detaile slow pracitce without vibrato for hour upon hour. and that work would come even after I thought I`d given a dicent performance of the work on stage where everything is flowing for you and your soloistic mien carries you through things.

Its not the same period but the principle is similar in something Im doing right now. Leaidng a top amateur orchestra in Mozart three that has invested herat and soul into very difficult works and has simply not put aside the time until I finally got through to them that when they get out on stage it is -every single- glaring flaw in the way they play that Mozart that is going to make them crash. Its so damn hard and so exposed. That`s why the great Simon Rattle use dot insist on six times as much rehearsal time on early classicla stuff than on Tchiak and Brahms symphonies.



October 28, 2007 at 09:51 PM · aha, buri comes to the rescue. very fair and candid and,,,inspirational/educational in an effective, gentle way.

if blake does not get something out of that post, my conclusion is that blake is just too darn good:)

October 28, 2007 at 10:35 PM · OH MY GOSH Buri, I love you, that was like the most amazing advice that i have ver gotten from this post!

I am not really fond of baroque peices in general but the Telemann is different. I have seen a few master classes in which the violist plays the Telemann Viola concerto and the most common thing is that the teachers(4 different teachers) ask the student to use more vibrato; not on every note but use it more often and not just as a rare "decoration".One teacher descirbed it as 1/5 of the way between Baroque and Classical; with that being said I use that theory with my preformance(As I would guess this way is more effectice than the strictly baroque style).

Sorry, Yixi if I sound a big defensive.

Sorry, Ray I know you werent suggesting anything. I was just somewhat insuring that nobody in the future could use it as something to discourage me.

Thanks to Shannon, Ray, Brooke, Anthony, Joe,

T. Carlsen, Yixi Zhang, and Al ku


My downfalls would have to sightreading and bowings like Sautille.

I will post a bulitein if i do or do not get into the Pre-college program.

October 28, 2007 at 11:42 PM · Greetings,

not always tue but some teachers use sight readin a smuch as your pieces as the acid test. I strongly reocmmend you talk to your teacher about this and really work on this aspect. With your tehcnique the problerm is merely that you don`t do it enough. That`s normal but if you really wnat that palce then wake up and and smell the prunes,

Best of luck


October 28, 2007 at 11:57 PM · Thanks again Buri,

My teacher and I spend whole lessons on Sightreading on Tuesdays and then normal stuff on Thrusdays we work on Kreutzer etudes, sautille is this my worst bowing ever my spiccato is decent to is my legato and staccato atleast I think it is and alot of other things like composition, scales, peices of music(concertos sonatas, etc) and all other bowings

October 29, 2007 at 12:20 AM · Greetings,

that sounds good. I use dot have a sighreading orchestral lesson at Music University with a violnist form the LSO. It felt really silly at times when you suddenly get a chunk of really high Tchaikovsky out of context and had to just play it.... I don`t think that is what they will do tyo you at Julliard by the way. Most sight reading test Ive sene are very sensible.

Why are you having trouble with sautille?

I think this is actually one of the easier bowing, but I have noticed even some quite advance dpalyers struglging because they havenot clicked on a very simple truth about this stroke: the -bow hair- does not actually leave the stirng during this stroke- it is the stick that is bouncing above it. Sometimes it is conscious recognition of just this concpet that resolves the problem. After that just consider it a fast detache rubbing -its origin is detache. That is also a point of confusion because spicatto has differnet origins IE the martele stroke (small).

If the problem is stirng cross then it may be the angle of the bow hair you need to watch real carefully.

Look forward to heairng how you get on,


October 29, 2007 at 10:06 AM · Blake, according to the Juilliard website, the precollege auditions are in May, but you say you're going in December. Are you auditioning for the regular college?

October 29, 2007 at 01:05 PM · If you're a strong player, great! But how are you at auditioning? For many people that can be a whole 'nother ball-game.

October 29, 2007 at 01:08 PM · It says you live in Georgia...

You might want to consider Peabody or NEC prep programs. Don't know about Peabody but NEC is easily as good as Juilliard.

October 29, 2007 at 05:05 PM · Buri, your amazing with this whole helping my out with my stupid bowings.

E. Smith in regards to your question. The reason why I am auditioning on december 9th would be because I was "left" out of this years audition so they told me either i could wait until next years audition on I could do it in December. Althought I plan to audition in December I will not be put into the program until I next year.

We already have a house in NYC so I thought it woudl be easier to just to try to audidtion for Juilliard instead of Peabody

October 29, 2007 at 05:23 PM · Blake, that makes sense. Try MSM as well, they have some really great violists and teachers there.

October 29, 2007 at 07:12 PM · As a conductor who annually judges a young artist competition (out in the boonies, so "artist" out here means very good student), I can tell you one of the things I look for. "Can the student learn and grow from this experience?"

Let me give you an example. There was one competition a number of years ago in which a very gifted pianist wanted to play a VERY difficult concerto. I told her/him that the work was too difficult for her/his current ability, and suggested that s/he play "X" which s/he could play VERY musically and walk away with the competition. S/He insisted that s/he play her/his choice and butchered her/his way through the piece (after two stops to restart). Obviously, s/he lost that year. Next year S/He auditioned again with the same piece, better than the previous year--notes in place, but all ff, and with the pedal on most of the time, blurring the whole piece. Several months before this second competition, I had asked her/him to audition with X instead, as I knew s/he could walk away with the competition, but s/he INSISTED that the work I suggested was "too easy".

Another student at the competition played a much easier piece, and, frankly, did not play quite as well as the gifted student; HOWEVER, the other student was willing to listen to suggestions, and to work on those suggestions, and THAT student was our "young artist" that year. THAT student, listened to criticism and worked upon the recommendations given, and by the time of the actual performance gave a fine performance. Our "genius" pianist always felt that s/he knew better than anyone else, and refused to listen to any suggestions.

Postscript, the "gifted" student went through a dozen teachers in a year, went to a major conservatory, and was kicked out in about a year because s/he wouldn't do what her/his teachers asked. S/He always "knew better" than the teachers.

S/He just sits at home now polishing the exterior of her/his piano and vacuuming the interior, and playing for her/himself.

Students need to listen to their teachers.

This is NOT putting you in that same category. It is just suggesting that they are also looking for students who can reap the maximum benefit from the school (those who are willing to listen to advice and to act upon it).

October 29, 2007 at 10:13 PM · WOW. My teacher and I have been together for 3 years, we get along very well and I listen to all of her suggestions and then using her suggestions I build my version of her suggestions.

I don't really know if I will continue to go to Juilliard, that is if I make it in. I would really like to go to Curtis, Juilliard, Peabody, Cincinatti Conservatory, and the school that I believe Lionel Tertis taught at( The name of the school fades my mind at the moment) in Ohio, Montana, Utah, something like that.

October 29, 2007 at 11:58 PM · Greetings,

just keep an open mind. There are some fantastic player sand teahcers in Europe too. Who knows what the future will bring?



October 30, 2007 at 07:34 PM · Shannon Merlino "More food for thought....have you ever heard, like, snooty conservatory kid X play Bazzini or Ysaye or something? Then listen to Oistrakh play some Mozart next to that..."

As I've never heard both of them happen before, what is supposed to be the reaction?

October 30, 2007 at 08:51 PM · Blake, some people here are ruminating on their own pet theories without really thinking about you as a person or a musician. Take that with a grain of salt-- it's what comes with posting on a public board. For your audition you can play something above the level suggested; just make sure you play it well. Surely, your teacher is advising you about all of this, so you really don't need to take any of the advice you read here. Your teacher understands your present level and how you can best demonstrate your skills to the jury. Let us know how it goes, and good luck!

October 30, 2007 at 09:25 PM · Greetings,

I agree but how can we think about Blake as a person? Never met him.

He is of course, welcome to come and stay with me, my cat and highly unstable girlfriend for as long as he can stand it.....



October 30, 2007 at 09:55 PM · Blake, Good Luck with your audition! My mom went to Juilliard pre-college when she was 8 years old, through high school, and then went back after her master's degree for an Artist's Diploma. She always said (and I think she was only partially joking) that "anyone can get into Juilliard--the hard part is getting out!" :-)

As far as the repertoire goes, yes, it's a given that the pieces are on the "easy" side. They'll be listening for how *well* you play everything. Hope it goes well!

October 31, 2007 at 01:10 AM · Chris--my point is, it's easy to play something extremely flashy and get by on sheer technique. However, the level of musicianship required to play something like a Mozart concerto (or in this case, a Wolfahrt etude, or Telemann concerto) is extraordinarily high.

Buri--unstable significant others give you life experience from which to draw musical ideas! Blake should take you up on that offer ;)

October 31, 2007 at 06:09 PM · Buri -- Sorry, but Im severly allergic to cats.

and I can compltely relate to you with

your unstable girlfriend my mom is the

SAME way!

Woah no negative comments. AMAZING!

Oh and Happy Halloween!

November 1, 2007 at 10:36 PM · Well, I think you've gotten lots of good advice. I have less experience than you do (I'm already 19 but have only been playing for 6 years) so I can't really give you advice. However, I read somewhere in the thread that you've played the Ravel string quartet. My quartet (the honors quartet of the university I attend) is currently playing that piece. I completely love it! We are playing it at a competition next week. We are also playing the Borodin in D (I think it's No. 2) which I also love because of all the gorgeous viola solos.

Anyways, I would just love to hear a little bit about your experience with the Ravel. And best wishes on your audition!

November 2, 2007 at 02:30 AM · Greetings

>your unstable girlfriend my mom is the

SAME way!

Blake, you gotta get the difference sorted before you go to Julliard. Otehrwise you will miss out on a lot...



Okay I finsihed being silly. Why don@t you put yourslef up on youtube or this site ? `m sur e e`d all emjoy your palyign and those who just listen with a vew to nitpicking are just dumb anyway. Can`t get any pleasure out of life....

November 2, 2007 at 06:53 PM · Manuel i know omgz i love that quartet(Ravel) I know its my favorite quartet.

Buri ill try to get a few recordings or vids up in a while kk

November 5, 2007 at 10:57 PM · Just because it's THE amazing school, doesn't mean it's hard. It could be that they are looking for artistic way you play the "easy" stuff. The way you express it, or the way you should be expressing. And perhaps even your style. FYI, you sound really arrogant and so full of yourself... >.<

November 5, 2007 at 11:04 PM · You do relize that you are like the sixth or seventh person that has tod me that. After the 1st or 2nd person I sorta found out that. Yes, I can be a bit arrogant.

November 7, 2007 at 05:43 AM · Come on, it's a viola audition; how hard can it possibly be? Just try to sound like a violinist and you'll be fine...

November 7, 2007 at 06:02 AM · Totally un- related topic, Igor, I have an old audio tape that a Polish friend gave me, years ago' of a guy "Pikazen" (not sure of spelling) playing the Paganini caprices .... I saw you studied with a Viktor Pikazen .... any chance it could be the same guy (I thought it might have been you at first..) could never find anything on internet concerning the recording ... can you help throw light on this .... on LOVE the recording

November 7, 2007 at 06:26 AM · Igor... I kind of agree... I don't know if you've noticed, but the level of viola is very very low compared to violin until you reach conservatory level (over 18 years). Even in really good festivals, a great violist at a young age is so rare. Most kids trained as violists have mediocre technique, and their sound is dull. The best young violists I know are great violinists. For some reason, people who always trained as violists, have this really ploddy, "violist" sound (which is nothing like the great violists - Golani, Kashkashian, Diaz, Bashmet etc...). I know they're all dedicated violists, but I just don't think there's much competition on viola at this age. Mostly it's because not many kids want to be a violist when they're young, so it really cuts down on the talent pool. There is little to no competition, so the result is a fairly mediocre talent pool. I think a lot of great violists change before or during college, then become really great at their instrument. If there was more, and better repertoire, I'd certainly consider the viola full time.

The level of viola at Encore, presumably one of the best summer string programs in the USA, was really low and according to people who have been there for a while, it has always been like this (since Encore is mostly teenage kids and not too many college people).

November 7, 2007 at 06:52 PM · Looking at these last few posts, is it any wonder that Blake comes off as someone with a chip on his/her shoulder? As a violist, one lives with the suspicion that every violinist is looking down their nose at you. Is it any wonder that a skilled, young player would overcompensate and come off as having an attitude of arrogance?

Reminds me of a good friend from high school who went on to attend a community college. When he came to visit me at my University, this normally mild mannered, charismatic guy became a total egotistical jerk when I took him to parties. When I asked him why he behaved this way, his answer was "Why not? All these snobs are looking down on me and judging me anyway, what's the point of trying to be nice?"

It seems to me that Blake's apparent "arrogance" is nothing more than a pre-emptive strike against exactly the kind of attitudes about violists that have been expressed here-- an attempt on Blake's part to, at every possible moment, show that he/she is a serious, skilled player with a depth of knowledge about their instrument that rivals any young violinist's.

November 7, 2007 at 08:53 PM · Randy... you have some serious baggage, and your friend sounds like quite a loser. Arrogant and community college? Why even bother getting out of bed?

I know many violists who don't live with any suspicion of violinists... mainly because they're good at what they do and are not crippled by insecurity. Viola jokes are nothing but jokes, and no one takes them seriously. Go to any good conservatory and violinists and violists are friends... no one looks down at any instrument.

Also, I doubt that Blake was being pre-emptively arrogant. I think he thought he's just a bit better than he really is. If any violinist came here and said that they're going to take Juilliard by storm and that the requirements are easy, don't care how brilliant they are, they'd probably get shot down.

He has atoned for that and I think he'll be fine, we're just saying that he'll an easier than of it than a young violinist, especially one with the same attitude he exhibited.

I wish you the best of luck with your internal struggles.

November 7, 2007 at 09:18 PM · One clear exception to the so-called violist bad rap:

Yuri Bashmet.

As far as my own opinion, I think anyone who sits in the strings section has made a good choice. Some people play in band.

November 7, 2007 at 09:16 PM · Pieter,

Don't even worry about a career playing a violin.

Your comments are 'on the mark'.

If you do not succeed as a player,then you will attain the profession of a music critic.

You have the gift and you know how to utilize that gift !

Never heard you play,but you sure can write !

November 7, 2007 at 09:21 PM · Ouch...

Getting a little ad hominem are we Pieter?

I wouldn't dare to suggest that we violinist can be a little judgemental of others, but. . .

I didn't claim that violinists actually do look down their noses at violists, but perception is a powerful thing.

Have you ever suggested to a thirteen year old violinist that they should try out the viola? Their first response is likely to be, "Why, what's wrong with my playing?"

I love viola jokes, but can't deny that they do add to this perception of the violist as the eternal underdog of the string section.

As far as my assessment of Blake's attitude, you're probably right-- I am probably doing a little projecting from my own experiences as a teenage violinist turned violist turned violinist. On the other hand, what has been termed "arrogance" on this thread has mainly been a youthfully blunt listing of Blake's repertoire, skill level, practice technique etc. all of which, as you have pointed out, Pieter, is unusually advanced for a young violist.

Thanks for the advice, though.

Good thing you're here to "straighten us out"

November 7, 2007 at 10:11 PM · Randy, none of that skill has been verified, and I don't suspect he has much competition in the fine state of Georgia.

And yes, you are totally right. I think most WOULD say that at that age. That doesn't mean that any respectable person actually looks down on violinists. If a violinist is going to look down on someone because of their instrument, well then, I don't think their life could get much sadder than that.

The only time a violist should be suspicious of anyone is if they're in a setting where there's a certain expectation (in terms of playing ability), and they don't measure up. So in that sense, I don't feel like violists are any different from any other instrument in terms of how they're treated.

November 8, 2007 at 02:08 AM · Pieter, you might be surprised at the level of young string players around the Atlanta area. Not everyone is a moron in Georgia.

To Blake, have you tried auditioning for GMEA All-State or maybe ASYO? You would be able to see where you rank with other students through the auditions.

Good luck in your endeavors,


November 8, 2007 at 02:26 AM · Charlie, I'm well aware, but I wouldn't compare Atlanta to NYC.

November 8, 2007 at 05:42 AM · Ok, I guess my constant sarcasm doesn't really come through in written messages for people who don't know me. I was trying to lighten up the mood of this thread but alas...

Yes, Teresa it is that same Viktor Pikaizen you are thinking of; I am very glad that you like his recordings (I am also his grandson so I might be somewhat subjective :)

November 8, 2007 at 06:14 AM · IGOR .... that is really exciting! I'm so glad to find out who this guy is .... I just have this old poor quality copied cassette with nothing written on it, so the whole thing was a mystery, until now! I just sort of remembered the name so it could have been anyone! So is your grandfather Polish?? or Russian? My friend (who gave me the cassette)was POlish but studied in Lenningrad, (in the Iron-Curtain days)so I guessed it was a recording of someone from that area of the world??? Has he recorded anything else?(Are the caprices originally on audio cassette and can they be bought somewhere?) What struck me was his musicality, phrasing etc... not just the playing of all the notes and in tune!

Thanks Terri

November 8, 2007 at 12:37 PM · Igor, I took your message in the light vein it was intended and it cracked me up. As for Pieter, well, you're just being vintage Pieter today, aren't you? (Dude, what side of the bed did you get up on this morning, tho?)

Good luck in your audition, Blake, and congratulations on passing the test in posting your honest comments/thoughts here. You got some good answers, and then a lot more.

November 8, 2007 at 12:48 PM · Come on, vintage Pieter is awesome. He reminds me of Heinrich Heine or Eduard Hanslick. :)

November 8, 2007 at 01:04 PM · >Come on, vintage Pieter is awesome.

You and I may think so, but I'm thinking maybe Blake isn't thinking the same. But, hey, Mara, how are YOU? How's Oberlin? Have you blogged about it recently? I'm out of touch - off I go to the blogs.

November 8, 2007 at 12:46 PM · Terez, which side of the bed is the side to get out? I forgot. I am glad someone is taking things light. It seems sparks are flying everywhere these days. It must be the drought or the global warming.


November 8, 2007 at 04:16 PM · >Terez, which side of the bed is the side to get out?

The side he didn't. : )

November 8, 2007 at 05:43 PM · .

November 8, 2007 at 05:34 PM · Will someone please tell me what happened with Emil?

November 8, 2007 at 08:18 PM · Charliee ~~ I have made the GMEA All-State orchestra every year since I was ten. I have made the AYSO since I was was 12. This year I didnt try out becuase I was aware that I would be trying out for Juilliard this year.

November 11, 2007 at 04:34 PM · If you don't mind me asking, what chair were you last year in ASYO?

December 9, 2007 at 03:23 PM · So today's the day! Let us know how it goes, OK? Good luck!

December 9, 2007 at 10:55 PM · Ok ill make another post so this one doesn't overload!!!!

Well. . . Ill just go ahead and say that I am now a violist in the Juilliard Pre-College division. All that doubted me you should now feel humble. jk


December 9, 2007 at 11:03 PM · CONGRATULATIONS, Blake! That's wonderful news. Some of us didn't doubt you...

When do you go? Next fall?

December 9, 2007 at 11:09 PM · Congratulations on your audition success!

December 9, 2007 at 11:15 PM · Next Summer I will move to our apartment in New York so I can start the school year there and such.

Thanks to all the thought I could do it!!!


December 9, 2007 at 11:27 PM · Congratulations Blake.

December 10, 2007 at 12:31 AM · wonderful. The power of prunes.

December 10, 2007 at 02:32 AM · Congratulations, Blake! Well done. Of course, now the work really begins. Just curious, will you be attending school while you're in NYC? Or home schooling, perhaps?

December 10, 2007 at 04:31 AM · Congratulations. Now the fun really starts.

December 10, 2007 at 10:16 PM · My mother will be homeschooling me!!!

Do you people think I will have time to be in a youth orchestra or something? Or will Juilliard consume my life. hahaha.

December 10, 2007 at 10:38 PM · That's wonderful news Blake, great job. There's definitely enough time to play in a youth orchestra. The most well known one in NYC is NY Youth Symphony. They are probably one of the better youth orchestras in the country: http://www.nyyouthsymphony.org/home2.html

I of course am in no position to tell you how you should go about your education (if you choose to do the homeschooling route that's fine). If you do decide to go to school in NYC you might want to look into Laguardia High School (also on 65th St.) or Professional Children's School. Lots of J pre-college students go to these schools. Here are the urls:



December 10, 2007 at 11:17 PM · Blake, you should check out Laguardia. It's literally right next to Juilliard (and PCS is really close too, but quite expensive). You'll get to make a lot of friends who study music like you, which will be important after the long hours of practicing.

It's just pre-college. It's not like going to university. I think how busy you are will depend on you.

I think quite a few kids do school in the mornings, then practice the rest of the day. That's what some people here in Cleveland (CIM) do.

December 10, 2007 at 11:16 PM · When my mom was at Juilliard Pre-College she was half home-schooled and half public-schooled. I'm sure the school she attended is long closed...she was there about a hundred years ago! ;-) It worked well for her, though, to have at least part of a public school experience and she still had plenty of hours at the piano.

December 11, 2007 at 02:17 AM · Congrats Blake!!!! Enjoy this new experience.

December 11, 2007 at 02:25 AM · Whoaaa, wait, Pieter--you're at CIM now? Good Lord, you're just up the road from me...

Blake, congrats! I don't know anything about high schools in the area, but last time I was in NY my friend and I DID find this absolutely terrific Chinese restaurant about half a block from Lincoln Center...

December 11, 2007 at 04:11 AM · I think the restaurant you're talking about Mara is Ollies.

December 11, 2007 at 04:23 AM · Shun Lee, actually, but I remember hearing talk of Ollies as well. (OMG, I'm so sick of college food...)

December 11, 2007 at 05:55 AM · Shun Lee is out of business now (ah, competition everywhere) but there is still Ollies and Empire Szechuan, so there is always a way to spend your money.

December 11, 2007 at 10:19 PM · Greetings,

just don`t go to the wong place,



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