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Violin Lessons: Audition Timetable

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I'm often asked what a sample timetable
would be.
Well, how long do I prepare for an
So, I'd like to share with you a good
strategy for that.
Usually you'll see an audition announced
either two or
three months in advance of the audition,
if you're lucky.
So you want to send your resume and get
that list, as soon as possible.
As soon as you get that list,
your first task should be to gather all
the music together.
Buy any parts that you don't have.
Get all the music together and make a
binder, a bound book.
You can do that at an office store, it's
pretty cheap.
Make copies.
Make a binder, including your solo works.
You'll be so glad you did.
The very first audition I played where I
had such a binder, it was so
much easier preparing the music, flipping
back and forth between parts.
If you don't do that you're gonna lose so
much time flipping through parts.
You could even lose a part on the way to
the audition.
It's, it's not worth it.
Make that binder as soon as you get the
Then, your next task is to start learning
any unfamiliar works.
Any excerpts that are new to you, any
excerpts that are less familiar.
You wanna, you really wanna focus on those
not worry about the others so much yet.
You also wanna be doing a lot of work on
your solo selection or
selections, if there are two concertos
that are asked.
So, you wanna do a lot of scales, etudes,
heavy solo work, to really whip that
concerto into shape because you're gonna
be letting it sit idle for a little while.
About a month before the audition, I think
it's good if you have your fingerings and
bowings pretty much decided.
You should at least have them marked in
the part.
They can be changed later, but what I see
far to often is people still waffling on
the bowings and fingers a week before the
That's way to late.
You should have an, about a month in
You should have that stuff mostly set, so
that you can work with it, and only make
necessary changes later.
You should also have the beginnings and
the endings of the excerpts clearly marked
in your part.
I know it sounds self-evident, but strange
things happen out on stage.
And if you don't have those things marked
and you're using your own parts,
you can get a little freaked out and play
the wrong part.
So, just have it clearly marked.
What's the beginning?
What's the end?
At this point,
still a month before, you should focus on
difficult passages in the solo work.
Things that you want to improve
And you should focus still on any excerpts
that are difficult.
They may be familiar and difficult.
They may be unfamiliar and difficult.
But anything that you're finding not very
That's what you should be focusing on.
You should also begin recording yourself.
It seems very early a month before the
But at least to record some of your solo
work, some excerpts.
Just to get an idea of how close your ear
is to reality.
To do that a month before gives you a big
And if possible, you can do a mock
audition at this point too.
Again, it may seem very early but the
people that find success in auditions,
are usually prepared that early before an
So, you can do a mock, you can exclude
some excerpts if,
if you're sure that they're not up to
snuff yet.
But, it would be great to do your first
one a month before the audition.
Now three weeks before the audition, you
should divide your list into two or
three parts, two or three lists, depending
on how long the overall list is.
And just work on one list each day.
That means that you can hit each excerpt
multiple times that day.
And you should also be performing each
excerpt everyday.
That means a performance straight through,
where you take stock of where it is.
The next day, you change the list to list
b or c.
At this point, you should be doing a lot
of creative work on your solos.
Hopefully, all the passages now are lying
well on the hand, but
you should be expanding your
You know, pushing the limits.
Finding your limits of sound, your limits
of expression.
And really working to, to push those, so
that you can really open up and make
yourself stand out from the others.
And definitely at this point, if you
haven't done a mock audition,
you need to be doing one a few weeks out.
Now, some time between one and
two weeks before the audition, you wanna
consolidate your lists.
Now, you're working on each excerpt every
you should also be performing each excerpt
every day.
You should focus also on your opening
routines for each excerpt.
That means the routine from a rest
all the way to the start of the excerpt.
Each one may have a slightly different
opening routine depending on
the tempo and character.
So, you wanna rehearse those.
You wanna minimize the changes to your
bowings and fingerings at this point.
Some may be necessary, but at this point,
you wanna, really wanna get comfortable
with what you have.
Now, you're gonna ramp up the work on the
solo piece.
You're gonna start playing longer sections
of it or
perhaps playing the whole thing through.
But with a focus on the very first minute,
even the first 30 seconds.
That's what's really going to attract the
committee's attention.
And so
much of their impression of you is going
to come from that opening of the solo.
If you like now, you can play the solos
through with a piano,
if you can find a pianist.
Because the final rounds of many auditions
include piano.
And it's nice to just remember the
harmonic and
rhythmic context of your solo.
You should also be doing more mock
if you can scare up friends or onlookers.
Now just a few days before the audition,
you should be recording yourself for
the last time.
You don't need to be doing that in the,
the last few days before.
Because it's counterproductive, it's gonna
create more worries than it's worth.
But a few days before you can record
yourself for
the last time, make any last changes.
You need to be doing a lot visualization,
visualizing the openings of all the
exerts, and your solos.
You should also visualize the moments
where there are character changes.
Where you're going to have to really open
up on an audition and
show a change on a dime.
This is the time also, that you should be
allowing yourself a lot of freedom and
a lot of fun with your solo work.
So, the first thing you're gonna play, you
wanna feel very free and
like a soloist when you're playing this.
So, use these last few days to expand
And I want you to plan something fun every
day too.
It sounds like it shouldn't have to be a
chore but, when it's the last few days
before an audition, it can be hard to make
yourself do something fun.
That may be taking walks light exercise is
You don't wanna be doing anything too
Could be reading.
Doesn't matter if it's a trashy book or
Just anything that's fun.
Movies, TV, again it doesn't matter if
it's high-brow.
Meals with friends.
Just a chance to get together.
And you should keep your general routine
through the day of the audition.
There's nothing really special you need to
be changing right before.
In fact, the more you stay the same.
The more audition day is gonna feel like
all of your other days which have been
gradually building up to that day.