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Orchestral Excerpts
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Violin Lessons: Introduction to Orchestral Excerpts

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We study orchestral excerpts because
they're the gateway to getting
into orchestras.
And orchestras ask for
excerpts as part of their auditions
because they're very revealing.
They reveal, in this order, a candidates
rhythm, pitch, and then,
their overall musical maturity and
Now, when you play an orchestra excerpt,
you have to make an impression right away.
The committee's first impression of your
sound on each segment,
excerpt is all important.
And that difficulty is compounded because
these excerpts tend to be very short and
in an audition you move from one to the
other pretty quickly.
So, it's vital that you have the ability
to set the character, and
set the tempo and the rhythm, and the
sound right away.
So for that reason, when you practice
pay special attention to how you begin
each one, your opening routine, physically
how you get the instrument ready and how
you start the very first notes.
This is more difficult in an audition, of
because you have to perform under
So, all the time in these video lessons, I
talk about how to ease the pressure, how
to deal with it, and how to give yourself
the best chance to get a great start.
Excerpts can also be used like etudes,
because each one will contain
a certain challenge, a certain test for
the bow or the left hand.
Most of them contain combinations of
So that's your job, is to solve those and
add those combinations to your repertoire.
So they're great to work on, like etudes,
even if you're not about to take an
Now, a very great feature here at
we give you piano tracks that you can
listen to and play along with.
They provide an important context because
each of these excerpts, of course,
comes from a much larger piece.
And when you're playing an excerpt, you're
only playing one line.
There are a hundred other lines that may
be going on.
So, our very able pianist has reduced
to the most important ones that give you
the context.
This also provides one viable tempo.
It's not the only tempo that's allowable
for the excerpt.
But it's the one that I chose to play
with, and
it'll give you a ballpark idea if you're
not familiar with the excerpt.
Now, remember that the piano tracks are
not a crutch, because while you should use
them to check your pulse, check your
rhythm and check your pitch, unfortunately
in an audition you don't get to play with
accompaniment for the excerpts.
You may with a concerto.
But never for the excerpts, so, if you're
preparing for
an audition, you must be able to feel that
pulse internally.
But playing with that piano track can be a
great way to ease that transition,
to really feel what it feels like to sit
back on a run of sixteenths.
Or to move forward during,
during an accelerando, to hear the harmony
underneath you.
Now, in these videos, you can hear me and
see me play these excerpts.
See exactly what I do with my bow in the
left hand,
and you'll be able to get your own, get
feedback on your own videos and
ask me questions, but only if you submit
So, if you're working on an excerpt from
this curriculum, or any other excerpt for
an audition, or just for your own
progress, send me a video of it.
And you can do that alone or with the
piano track.
If you are preparing for an upcoming
audition, I'd prefer to hear you play
alone without the backing track because in
the audition, that's how you'll be judged.
And I wanna be able to give you feedback
from that same standpoint.
Remember that you should only send me one
excerpt per video.
And if you've already got a video from me
waiting in the queue,
whether it's an excerpt or a solo piece or
what have you, I'd like you to wait until
I've given you feedback on that video,
before sending me the excerpt.
Because I may find things to help you
that you could incorporate into the
excerpt study.
I look forward to seeing your excerpt