Auditions in the Junior Conservatoire
Sandy Hay shares some perspectives on auditioning for Junior Conervatoire ensembles, including how to choose repertoire.
Hello everyone !
I hope that you and your families are doing okay, like you I’m really missing Saturdays at JC and the buzz of making music. I’ve seen so many great examples of online music making over the last couple of weeks and I know that some of the other Woodwind teachers having been putting together ensemble pieces using various online platforms ! I’m a huge technophobe but I’ve tasked myself with putting something together with the various groups I work with!
Jeff has asked us to write a few words on auditions which I thought was a brilliant idea. They are something which as musicians we have to become accustomed to from the early stages of our musical journey.
All of you have taken an audition to get into the Junior Conservatoire and some of you will be auditioning for music colleges next year ! I wanted to talk about the auditions which all of you take at the start of each year within the JC for Symphony and Wind Orchestra. I’ve been fortunate to sit on the Woodwind panel for the last few years and it’s given me a really good overview of how each of you are progressing and also how you’ve developed in comparison to the year before.
The conservatoire is a centre of excellence and you are all here because you are talented young musicians. Everyone is at a different stage of their musical journey and we all have strengths and weaknesses in our playing.
In your audition we want to hear you at your best so it’s always important that you chose a piece which you’ve really prepared in detail and also a piece which your teacher thinks is appropriate. I know that this sounds obvious but it’s amazing just how many people play something they haven’t necessarily worked on or agreed with their teacher. Remember fast and flashy doesn’t always show the audition panel what you’re capable of .
We want to hear a really solid sense of rhythm and style in relation to the piece you’re playing and we also want to hear a good dynamic range. Choosing a piece which reflects how you’ve progressed from the previous years audition is really important too.
When it comes to sight reading , DONT PANIC! For some of you who are younger or less experienced the sight reading can be a real challenge and very daunting! Take it at a speed which is manageable to you and one which shows that you understand the rhythmical and musical detail.
Wind Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra as obviously are two flagship groups. When it comes to choosing who goes where and who plays which part we take great care in making sure that you have the right skills to cope with the challenging repertoire. We’re always happy to give you feedback so do ask !
As a teacher I’m so proud to be part of the JC team , it’s the highlight of my working week and it’s working with all of you which makes it so rewarding.
I hope that this has been even a wee bit useful.