Symphony acknowledges they held stressful audition.

May 28, 2011 at 01:49 AM ·


Thank you so much for participating in the --------Symphony audition process. We know that, for many of the musicians, it was the first time auditioning in many years, and we acknowledge how stressful this was. Tour contribution to the growth of the ------Symphony by being willing to audition has been appreciated by everyone; the music director,the board, and your fellow musicians. We hope the process was positive for you, and we wll eventually seek your input as to how we can improve.

  We had many violins audition, so at this time we do not feel we will need your services in the orchestra, although we would encourage you to keep practicing and hopefully audirion in the future. There were many positive aspects to your playing, and we encourage you to keep playing.

 Again, thank you for your willingness to audition for the ------Symphony Orchestra.


xxxxxxxx;xxxxxxx;xxxxxxxx; (audition committee members)

                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - -  - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


I replied by telling them that I did not find their audition stressful at all. I then told them that I understsnd that they are trying to be as gentle and gracious with us as possible and I appreciated that, but  I don't need carefully worded excuses about stress at the audition or any words about how I should continue to practice the violin and stay with it (after playing in a few fully professional orchestras for 35 years and my cruise ship performance experience) I asked them what led them to believe it was the first audition for many of us?. I then asked them of what relevance was the number of auditionees to my rejection?. Finally, I suggested that it would be helpful to all of us who participated, since we all went to some time and expense to audition, and for our own improvement in the future, a critique of each of our playing was in order, rather than hearing about some unknown"positive aspects" to our playing.

Finally, I told them that I was sorry to hear them acknowledge that their audition was so stressful for all or most of us. although I did not experience any stress during the audition. I told them that I can not believe that they would actually enjoy auditioning a bunch of stressed out viollinists and wondered how they could possibly make the best selection at such an audition. I told them that I hope they will indeed contact me for my input as to how they might improve to reduce audition stress, since I believe I have a drug-free method to achieve that..

Michael Corman


Replies (22)

May 28, 2011 at 03:10 AM ·


The title of your post suggests that the orchestra is apologizing for something, like creating an unusually stressful environment. The letter doesn't bear that out--just seems like they're saying thanks for auditioning, we know it's not easy, better luck next time.

May 28, 2011 at 04:19 AM ·

frequently in life formulaic statements are given in an attempt to smooth over the unpleasantries of life- they're not to be taken literally or analyzed, beyond, "oh, they're trying to be nice and give people who have a hard time dealing with rejection a rationalization; how sweet of them."     Maybe they've heard "I normally play so much better, it's just so stressful..." a thousand times from others.

Anyone who wrote back anything other than "Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to audition"  could, even if wrongfully, be interpreted as bitter (as opposed to literal), which would not be helpful if future spots open up in that orchestra.

Good luck with your future auditions!

May 28, 2011 at 08:12 AM ·

Their padding discomforted you, I see.  They also didn't spell check.  This would have bothered me more than anything else.

May 28, 2011 at 08:28 AM ·

Just FYI, due to the state of the economy and of some orchestras, many good and experienced players *are* indeed taking auditions for the first time in years, and it doesn't necessarily get easier. 

I've been upset by the wording of a form letter before, but I save it for family and friends.  If I was truly and deeply offended by something about an audition, I either would strike them off my list, or in the case of potentially serious misconduct see if an AFM rep could advise.  I agree with Tom: this kind of response may be personally satisfying, but it won't help you get in.

May 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM ·

"Their padding discomforted you, I see.  They also didn't spell check.  This would have bothered me more than anything else."

Emily the letter was retyped, so who do you think made the spelling mistakes?


May 28, 2011 at 12:53 PM ·

Maybe Buri was the stenographer, in which case the typo's are excused.

May 28, 2011 at 02:26 PM ·

If Buri was the stenographer Michael would still be wondering what happened at the audition. (Only joking, we all love Buri)

May 28, 2011 at 02:44 PM ·

 Maybe Buri was the stenographer, in which case the typo's are excused.

The typo's what? (You are aware that typo's is possessive....)

May 28, 2011 at 10:48 PM ·

You are aware that typo's is possessive....

Well, actually, typo's is a conjunction for typographical errors, so the apostrophe is fine for representing the missing characters. Just sayin...

May 28, 2011 at 11:06 PM ·

It's still a ways off, but I can see it coming, so I'll just get it over with.


Godwin's Law

There.  Now that's out of the way.  Carry on.

May 29, 2011 at 10:05 AM ·

EVERYTHING is just a trick of the light


May 29, 2011 at 01:34 PM ·


All job interviews, auditions or what have you are often followed up by less than stellar rejection letters.  I saw nothing wrong with this letter except that maybe they assumed everyone was auditioning for the first time.  That's maybe a little condescending.  I once applied for a part time job at a home improvement store that was opening in our town. The real estate market is slow so I thought a part time job would be nice. I know how to lay hardwood floors, tile, hang and finish drywall, install windows and doors….. I figured getting a job here was a sure thing. I went through 4 interviews. Yes, 4 for a stinking job at a big box store.   The first three went great and I was assured that I had the job, I just had to meet the store manager. When I met her I was appalled. I took an instant dislike to her. I could tell the feeling was mutual. She asked me one question “do you plan to be promoted within this company?” My answer “you bet!” I was thinking I was going to be store manager if this slovenly person who couldn’t even lift a box of tile off the floor was running the show. I know it was written all over my face. She closed my file and said she would be in touch.
The rejection letter (postcard actually)  – “Thank you for your application. We don’t have a position for you at this time”. Application? I had 4 stinking interviews! Thankfully I didn’t get the job because something better came along. It always does.  I now run my real estate office instead of just working out of it. 

May 29, 2011 at 02:18 PM ·

Montreal's top English university did the same with letters to announce they refuse you in x program.  But they were just trying to be professionnal, so that's find! 

The worst part is that I had previously received a letter from one of their coordinator (rare because they told letters were normally written by secretaries) telling me that I was a really interesting candidate bla bla (maybe because I study at their conservatory and that they have an healthcare orchestra???)   That was odd... why pat me on my back to refuse me after?

Well, what can we do... now I'm in OT but in another university and, really, for my violin, it's way better!  So life sometimes makes thing just right...  (more free and less "controlant" schedule.  Do not load you with unrelated sciences in the 3 first years, start OT right away, I was able to do many courses at home which reduced my stress, was much fun and made me succeed even better!  In a smaller class where everyone knows eachother like at that English university, not sure "home courses" would have worked...)  In addition, I can rent a mini practice room to go practice at my University's music faculty.    Which is impossible to do at the other university (even for their conservatory students!)   

So, overall, life has made good choices for me even when I was not always convinced!  I love to say that to people when they get refused by some institution: it's because they didn't deserve you   ; )   Keep that privilege for someone else...

May 29, 2011 at 02:54 PM ·

 MIchael, is it possible they were, in addition to hearing new musicians, re-auditioning their section?  That might account for both the tone and the content.  Or, alternatively, they tried to create a letter that accounted for every situation existing among the players who auditioned.  Either, way (or whatever their reason was, certainly nothing to get 'stressed' over).

At my uni. about 25 of us recently applied for research funding...the rejection letters, each with one person's name, title, address at the top, all began "Dear David White,"  now that is inexcusable! 

May 29, 2011 at 06:22 PM ·

Carly that's rude from them...  You don't give hope to a student that you'll flush after!  These decisions change students lifes and they amuse themselves with them?  Nasty

May 31, 2011 at 12:39 AM ·

You would think that an audition committee that acknowledges how stressful their audition was, would show some interest in eliminating any stress - whatever or whoever is the cause.

I would much prefer to win an audition over others who experienced as little stress as possible.

To that end, I believe that an audition committee should be able to hear how a player is performing while playing,relaxed WITH the orchestra. If the player is auditioning to play a solo with the orchestra, then he or she should be auditioned while playing a solo and all the stress which that may entail. If  needed as a menmber of the orchestra, why not isolate the playing WHILE playing with the orchestra?

 Modern contact microphones and transmitting equipment to a remote location to be heard by the committee or recorded for the committee to hear at a later time- is possible.




June 7, 2011 at 06:49 PM ·

spell check:

Thank you. I'll have it "on" NEZT TIME !!

tour- your



June 8, 2011 at 08:58 AM ·

I didn't think it was such a bad letter. Yeah, some people can handle critisism well, others are maybe a bit more sensitive to it, and they were keeping those people in mind? I dunno, maybe it's just me. *shrugs* 

June 8, 2011 at 03:07 PM ·

I'm with Michael here.  Their letter was just another example of the regular deterioration of language and spelling as well as respect for the individual to whom they are writing.  It was probably a template provided from some other audition process, poorly modified for their own situation.  Whilst we are seeing a lot of this these days, and becoming all too complacent with it, there really isn't any excuse for it. Whether only a few people audition, or a few hundred, due care should be taken to reflect the travel, hard work and individuality of the person auditioning.  Oh I know, people think it'll take too long, but surely in this day and age of word processors and data bases, enough information should be available to people with respectable administrative skills to personalise a response just a little. In choosing the right people for the job, casuals if necessary, and not committee members who think they can cope, it will be a far faster, more palatable result all round. The way I see it, for many who don't bother, thousands of employers do manage sometimes hundreds of letters of rejection carefully, punctually and respectfully for the individual who eagerly presented them with a resume loaded with personal information and perhaps an interview to boot. So it shouldn't be all that difficult for a respectable Symphony Orchestra, a professional organisation after all........

Michael, as far as I'm concerned, anyone with your level of experience is entitled to tell them well and truly where they went wrong.  One can only hope that someone in the business sat up and took notice!

June 8, 2011 at 04:57 PM ·

Millie, as someone already pointed out - the spelling errors are not the author's fault...

June 8, 2011 at 09:38 PM ·

The orchestras I've played in (not pro orchestras but good amateur orchestras with a sprinkling of pros) now usually audition a prospective new string player (usually of grade 8+ standard or equivalent experience) by having them play in the front desk of the appropriate section alongside the section leader for at least half a typical orchestra rehearsal. The player is quietly observed by the conductor, the SL, the players in the 2nd desk of the section, and the leader/concertmaster. The auditioners then discuss their findings immediately afterwards and someone relays the decision to the applicant.  If accepted, the applicant is then assigned to the appropriate section and placement therein. I think this is probably as realistic and as stress-free a method of auditioning as you can get, and produces reliable results.

June 11, 2011 at 10:47 PM ·

Thanks Joyce, at first I thought he was joking but when I went back and re-read Michaels post, I realised he admitted to the mis-spellings. My mistake.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

ArmSymphony AI Violin Competition
ArmSymphony AI Violin Competition

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program Business Directory Business Directory

AVIVA Young Artist Program

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine