Reflections on Auditions

All-District auditions are rescheduled for this coming Saturday due to the ice and snowstorm that came through Raleigh this week. Percussion students, like all high school students, have a lot going on, and last minute changes can be difficult for them. Having an extra week of audition prep may or may not be helpful if there are major tests, projects and other activities that are happening at the same time!

Percussionists tend to audition on two or three instruments, and they feel compelled to place well enough to get the coveted timpani or mallet chairs. They may also face the difficulty of getting access to instruments for rehearsal, making it a real challenge for percussion students to keep the momentum up when there is a change in the audition schedule.

While we spend most of the lesson time working out technical problems, I always try to reinforce the fact that while accuracy is non-negotiable, and tempo must be controlled, the purpose of the audition is to show musicianship as well as technical prowess. This concept can be lost during the run up to the auditions, but we spend some time on the musical side of the performance as well as the fundamentals during each lesson.

Finally, we discuss enjoying the audition as an opportunity to perform. We often forget that the audition is a performance as well as a test. Percussionists put in endless hours to get that opportunity, and we should enjoy the moment when we perform!

I wish everyone auditioning this weekend the best of luck, and hope that they can truly enjoy the fact that they are playing music, not just fulfilling a requirement!

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