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  • Writer's picturemargueritelevin

Get Ready For District Auditions!

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

November is a big month for high school band and orchestra students in the United States. In Massachusetts, we are organized into districts (Texas and other states might refer to them as regions) and our auditions are usually the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We are about three weeks away from that day - November 23.


To stay motivated and prepared, I offer these tips for clarinet players:


· Don't wait until the last minute to find a reed! Open up a new box of reeds now. Break them in over the next two weeks. By the week before the audition, the third week, you should know which ones are working.


· Have your private teacher or band director play your instrument to make sure everything is in working order. Get repair done now rather than waiting until the last minute.


· Plan your practice sessions. Ask a parent or an authority figure to help you with this if you have trouble with organization. Practice sessions can be divided into smaller time frames. (Ex: 30 minutes of calculus; 30 minutes of practice; 30 minutes of required reading; 30 minute of practice)


· Practice playing through your scales and audition material for family members, teachers and friends. Make it as close to an audition scenario as you can.


· Record yourself occasionally using either your phone or computer. Send the recording to your private teacher for comments.


· For inspiration go to a professional orchestra concert or go to youtube and listen to professional clarinet players. Talk to your teacher if you are not sure who to listen to. Here are a few too look for: Sabine Meyer, Martin Frost, Ricardo Morales, Sharon Kam and there are many more.


· Need some new ideas for practice? If it is a technical piece, try playing a difficult passage forward as written and then read it backwards. If it is a slow piece, spend a session or two tuning every single note. This will not only help your intonation, but it is great for tone. This is also a great idea for your scales!


· Don't forget to have some fun with your instrument. Play music that you have never seen before. This will help your sight-reading immensely. Trade old lesson books with another instrument (flute, oboe or sax). Even piano music works because you can play the top line.


· Stay healthy by keeping your hands clean and away from your face. Drink lots of water and try to stay away from sugary drinks. Eat fruit.


Please let me know if you have any questions or ideas that you would like add. You can sign up for my blog or send me an email: margueritelevin@gmail.com


5 comments

5 Comments


margueritelevin
margueritelevin
Nov 22, 2019

Yes, totally agree Diane.

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muffitt
Nov 21, 2019

I adjudicate Northeast Senior District French horns & tubas; I’m frequently distressed by students who come in and play their solos beautifully and even do a pretty good job on the sight-reading, but have blown off the scales. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to come in with the scales learned. The scales are usually the first thing that the adjudicator hears, and it sets up expectations for the quality of the rest of the audition.

Students should assume that they will be asked to play two major scales plus the chromatic, and if they’re lucky one of the major scales will be an easy one, but the other will absolutely stretch the range and fingering abilities of…


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margueritelevin
margueritelevin
Nov 01, 2019

Great suggestions Jen! David Levin, trill up to C.

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Jen Zimmerer
Jen Zimmerer
Nov 01, 2019

Love all of these audition prep tips! Another thought is preparing an audition-specific warmup for the weeks leading up to your audition, or even gathering some helpful exercises related to your audition pieces. Some of my students work themselves to death on *only* the audition etudes, and need some variety to avoid burning out! It is great to have a warmup planned for the day of the audition so you don’t sit in the warmup room drilling your pieces over and over! You don’t want to peak early and you don’t want to go into your audition exhausted and blow all that great prep work.

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delevin
Nov 01, 2019

I have a question about trills. I am playing a trill of middle C in the key of F. Do I play that as an up-trill to D, or as a down-trill to B-flat?

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