All-State Orchestra - An attainable goal?
I've been wondering about all-state orchestra auditions. Are these auditions pretty much only attainable to those who have been playing for a long while?
What I mean is, I would love to make all-state orchestra or something of a similar level, but compared to many of my other peers, I am not as experienced in terms of being exposed to auditions or having played since a particularly young age.
The requirements for all-state orchestra in my state are usually a three-octave scale and arpeggio, as well as an etude (usually Kreutzer), and an orchestral excerpt.
If I audition, it wouldn't be until another year from now and here is my preliminary "study plan":
1. Every day, practice major scale, minor scales, and all arpeggios in at least one key (cycle through all 12 keys). Practice slowly, without vibrato.
2. Every week, I will work through one orchestral excerpt. I'm currently using https://orchestraexcerpts.com as my source, but if anyone has any better suggestions, that would be greatly appreciated.
3. Every day, I will work through one etude. I'm thinking of using Kreutzer mostly for this, but I know other books may also be helpful.
4. At the end of each week, I will have a "mock" audition by recording myself playing a scale, excerpt and etude.
I'm really motivated to do what it takes to reach all-state, so any tips, feedback and advice are welcome!
Depends on the state. In some places it's a very serious business. In others its probably less competitive. Think maybe Texas vs. Wyoming.
Focus on raising your overall playing level so you're an All-State level player. That's ultimately the most productive.
I agree with Paul that it all depends on the particular state -- for example in New Hampshire, where I live, there are only 4 public high schools which have orchestras, out of 187 public high schools. So the overall playing level is lower than a state with a lot of public high school orchestras such as New York. That doesn't mean it's simple to get in even in NH, but it means that any individual auditioning has a better chance of being accepted.
It's not impossible, but it varies highly depending on your state and how things are organized. I successfully made All State on viola after playing for about a year and half in what I would consider a moderately competitive state (NJ). In my current state, positions are awarded equally based on locations, meaning it is very hard in some areas of the state (the suburbs) and very easy in other areas (rural).
It's good that you're aiming for all-state next year (2021-2022) because there isn't going to be one this year.
Paul, there were All-State auditions in Texas this year. There will be no orchestra on stage but the students chosen will get a patch and bragging rights.
I would note that as a learning and satisfactory musical experience, membership in a high-level youth symphony is generally going to beat the All-State experience.
Mary Ellen that totally makes sense. I'm glad they did that.
Paul is right. Best shot is to move to a state with less than one-million population and avoid one with a music conservatory; although - I have to admit these days it is probably going to be hard to find a community college without competent music staff.
I think All-State Orchestra should be kind of like the NHL. Some violinists you take on because they play with speed, grace, and finesse. Some you take because they're goons who can come on during the second movement and start fistfights in the back of the seconds until the conductor hauls them off to the penalty box.
Andrew, here in New Hampshire none of the community colleges have any music programs of any sort at all other than perhaps a general "music appreciation" course. Certainly no instrumental programs or instruction. Even some colleges who have labeled themselves "university" don't have music programs at all. These things vary widely from state to state in the U.S.
Thanks for all the replies so far! Mary Ellen and Lydia, I especially appreciate the advice about raising my overall level.
Just reread the OP and I have to say, please, please, please, get professional fingerings for those orchestral excerpts before you start practicing them. You don't want to engrave "student-y" fingerings into your head. It took me years to exorcise my 15-year-old self's fingerings from Tchaikovsky Romeo & Juliet passagework (Maryland All-State 1976 piece).
Oh Paul I hope not!
The back of the seconds is the last place in the orchestra where one might expect a fistfight to erupt. Just saying.
I think it's generally best to learn future audition excerpts under the guidance of a teacher who is an orchestra player, so you can be sure that the bowings you learn reflect the typical articulations and patterns you'll encounter, you get good fingerings, and you get generally good advice for exactly how to practice those excerpts. And be
Travel time could be a practical consideration for the parents. Big cities can have excellent youth orchestras, rehearsing major repertoire, once a week. I did two; San Diego- Civic Youth orch. and Los Angeles-American youth orch.
Ms. Goree, where would be the first place one would expect an orchestral fistfight to erupt?
Anywhere except the back of the seconds, LOL.
Bassoon is the riot-starter. Although a trombone might knock someone's bowler off.
A fight broke out between the second bassoon and last chair Viola.