There are so many great reasons to play as part of an orchestra! Aside from helping you out with your musical career, it’s a way to make friends, feel part of a community, increase confidence in your playing, as well as having fun! However, no matter how capable a player you might be, auditioning for an orchestra can be a daunting experience. That’s why we’re sharing our top tips for preparing for your next orchestral audition! Read on to find out more.

Auditioning for an orchestra - woman playing cello

1. It all starts with the application

An important thing to remember is to pay as much attention to the application process as you do when practising music! Before the panel even hear what you can play, they’ll read your application. If it’s not up to scratch, you won’t get the audition. Make sure you provide all the material they ask for, answering questions clearly. A well thought out, concise CV is a must!

2. Pay attention to the list!

A number of weeks before the audition, the likelihood is that you’ll be given a list of excerpts to prepare. These are the pieces you’ll have to know inside out by the time of your audition, so practise, practise, and practise some more! Pay close attention to what’s on the list; the last thing you need is to miss out the solo from Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3, only to have to learn it at the last minute!  

3. Make a playlist

Getting to grips with the excerpts you’re given doesn’t have to be all about practising on your own with your instrument. Make a playlist of all the pieces so you can listen to them while you’re out and about. You could find that it helps them to sink in much more than you think. The more familiar you become with the excerpts, the easier it should be to learn them!

Auditioning for an orchestra - tenor horns left on seats

4. Plan ahead and be kind to yourself

Ensure you plan ahead, leaving yourself plenty of time for practice ahead of the audition. It’s also important to treat yourself well, allowing opportunities for relaxation, exercise and eating well. Planning out the day of the audition, including travel, food, and activities to keep you busy can all help to remove any stress. Give yourself time and allow yourself space to wind down.

5. Think about your instrument

It can be tempting to imagine that to have a successful audition, you’ll be expected to play an amazing instrument. Yes, the best instruments are likely to make the best sounds, but that might be of little use if you don’t feel comfortable with it. Getting fantastic sound can be just as much about how well you know your instrument, rather than simply its quality. Use the instrument you know best! 

6. Feel free to make mistakes!

Remember that making a mistake isn’t the end of the world, and won’t necessarily cost you the audition! Nobody’s perfect, and the judging panel won’t expect you to be. More important is how they see you deal with mistakes. If you can hit the wrong note but carry on without appearing flustered it might even work in your favour!

Auditioning for an orchestra - strings section

7. Assume confidence!

One of the best things you can do for an audition is to assume confidence! Even if you’re not feeling it, doing your best to come across as confident can help. You might even be able to trick yourself into feeling better about yourself and the coming performance. Taking pride in yourself and your music can sometimes do wonders for how others hear the way you play!

Hopefully these tips have given you some inspiration if you’re auditioning for an orchestra. Another bit of advice is to persevere! You might not get through on your first, second or even tenth attempt, but if you keep on trying, you should get there in the end!

If you’re embarking on orchestral adventures, you might also want a little extra piece of mind by considering insurance for your music equipment. At The Insurance Emporium, we offer flexible Music Insurance with Theft, Loss or Accidental Damage as standard, as well as a 25% Introductory Discount*. Head to The Insurance Emporium today to find out more!  

* The 25% Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.

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