The following are tips that will help you be successful in your audition for entry into the ISU ensembles, or any audition you ever take in your playing career.
- Dress professionally for the audition. How you look has an impact on how people listening to you perceive you. Dress sloppy, and listeners are more apt to hear your mistakes. It will also make YOU feel more professional, and if you feel professional, you are more likely to have a good audition.
- Don't "aim" your instrument at the judges, especially if you are a directional instrument like the trumpet or trombone. Aim slightly to the side of the listeners.
- Don't start a passage over, and certainly do not ask "Can I start over?" If you make a mistake, recover from it, and keep going. Often, audition judges are listening for your ability to recover from mistakes, as much as anything else.
- Perform the correct tempos! Use a metronome religiously in your preparations to help you with the tempo, and don't slow down just because a passage is tricky, or speed up because a passage is easy. Maintain a steady tempo throughout.
- Work on your scales. ALL of them, including the chromatic scale. While most auditions will not ask for minor scales, it is wise to know them as well. Know all your major scales (and the chromatic scale) by heart.
- Whenever performing an excerpt, listen to available recordings of the work (easily found on YouTube or other services on the internet. There is no excuse, EVER, for not knowing how a work goes).
- Think about style and interpretation...don't just come in and play a vanilla rendition of the excerpts, devoid of dynamics, articulations, or feeling. Let your musicianship shine through.
- In general, you should always execute rests at their given duration, without altering the tempo. However, if there is a section of the music with a long rest, you may ask how the judges wish for you to proceed before starting the music.
- Pay special attention to note durations...especially sustained notes. If you have a dotted half note at the end of a phrase, the judges expect to hear 3 beats, not 2, not 2.5, not 3.25, etc.