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Re: I could use some audition advice

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Posted by Rich Laird on August 27, 2001 at 23:19:05:

In Reply to: I could use some audition advice posted by Dave Yates on August 24, 2001 at 12:28:43:

: I have an upcoming String Bass audition for a community-based orchestra
: and could use some sage advice.
: After speaking with the Director on the phone, he wants to hear me play
: excerpts from:
: 1) Mozart Sym # 41
: 2) Beethoven Sym # 5
: 3) Verdi "Othello" excerpt from Act 4
: 4) a solo of my own choice
: I have the usual books with the excerpts and pretty much can guess what he
: wants to hear, none of which I can play up to speed at this point, though
: I'm getting close with the Beethoven.
: I have about 4 weeks to prepare.
: I really need advice/opinions on how one should approach preparing each of
: these excerpts.
: Truth be told, I've never heard the Verdi and don't have any
: decent idea of how it is supposed to be played.
: Also, I really don't know what to pick for a solo piece, but with my current
: ability level and limited time will probably go with some sort of Simandl Etude
: or something similar.
: I would greatly appreciate any advice or opinions offered.
: Thanks,
: --Dave

Hi Dave...

As someone who's done a lot of auditioninig, I really agree with everything that Django told you. He's got some great ideas. Let me add just a couple of points:

First, get a recording of Verdi's Otello and listen to it. If you don't know how it should be played - listen to it!! And that goes for all the pieces, for that matter. As with everything, watch the dynamics in that Otello excerpt - go for an expressive sound.

Django's advice about using the metronome and gradually increasing the tempo is RIGHT ON THE MONEY. The point is, when you practice slowly, you get the coordination going between your bow-arm, your left-hand fingering, your head, and the whole deal. The key is make sure it feels comfortable - when you're practicing slow - and that you're EXACTLY with the metronome. As you speed things up, you'll be amazed at how good that stuff sounds when you play faster...but always keep in sync with the metronome. Don't worry about getting up to tempo until the last few days.

At the audition, the conductor - or someone else - might count off tempos and expect you to play at their tempo - not yours. That's when it really helps if you've paid your dues and practiced at different speeds.

Django's also right about keeping your head clear - take breaks - don't practice until your arms fall off - and try to sneak in some things you enjoy playing.

In my experience, warming up is really important. Do scales and stuff that will strengthen your overall technique. I think that will help more that just going over the excerpts over and over and over...

Be sure you can play everything IN TUNE. If it's not in tune, you're history.

If you can't find anything else, L'Elephant from the Carnival of the Animals (Saint-saens) would make a good solo.

Best of Luck...and Tear 'em Up!

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