audition challenge clarinet

Video week 13, and assignments!

So, you know how I was sick last week?  Yeah, my husband got sick this week, so I’ve had no time because I’ve been constantly taking care of both him and my son.  (Luckily my son didn’t get sick!)

I’m going to go ahead and hit several birds with one stone with this post.  First, here is my video for this week.

I decided to try recording with my GoPro.  The sound isn’t all that great, but I think it works for my purposes here.  I think if I were submitting a video for an actual audition, I’d also record sound with a high quality mic and then dub it over the video (which I have actually done before, check it out here)

In general, I didn’t feel 100% prepared for recording this video.  Rose etudes are notoriously simple but difficult.  I literally chose the two I did (#5 and #14) at random, but they ended up really working me.  #5 is really good for endurance, and #14 is hard because it is extremely awkward to play, both in technique and phrasing.  I had quite a few mistakes, and it was so hard to not give up and start the recording over.  But I was committed to the rule of first take, one take so I had to accept it.  And that’s how auditions work!  My biggest issue is that I play everything great, but always on the second try.  My Navy Band audition two years ago was plagued with first time fails.  I think I had to start over almost every excerpt.  The committee was so patient with me!  I think I learned a lot about what I need to work on when it comes to just sitting down and playing things.  This is why this challenge is so good!

OK, so the assignment for week 12 (aka week 3) is going to include both fundamentals and excerpts.  This week is all about finger/rhythm technique and tuning, which are probably two of the biggest reasons why people get cut from auditions!  If you have poor rhythm, its hard to impress anyone.  And even clarinet players need to be in tune with themselves!  Its so easy to just get used to our own “out of tune-ness”, but it can be painfully obvious to others, especially when compared to other players that have a strong tonal center.  So here’s the video recording assignment…

  • Rose 40, #1 at eighth = 76 (just the first couple lines-ish)
  • G major scale going up, slowly, three octaves, WITH A DRONE on the dominant.  Do not move on until you are confident of the intonation
  • Mozart concerto, beginning to 98, slightly under tempo
  • Ballet Music from Faust: no faster than quarter = 80
  • Dahl Sinfonietta: no faster than quarter = 80
  • Polovetsian Dances: half tempo

The focus is rhythmic precision, and good intonation.

And since I’ve been horrible about posting lately, here’s the preview of the next week’s (week 11) assignment, which will have the same focus as week 12:

  • Mozart Concerto: measure 100 through the fermata, slightly under tempo.
  • Holst Hammersmith: no faster than quarter = 80
  • Mozart Serenade, 3rd excerpt: half tempo (ish)
  • Grainger Lincolnshire posy: no faster than quarter = 60

Remember, the next couple weeks is all about showing how well you can control your execution of the notes, that’s why we’re playing everything slowly.  Work for perfection.  Its great if you can play stuff fast, but if you can’t play it slowly you can’t really play it!

And remember, you can keep working on all the excerpts, just focus most of your attention to the assigned ones.  It can be unnerving to leave some for later, but trust me, you can.  The worst thing that can happen is that you burn out on certain excerpts weeks before the audition.  Right now is pure woodshedding time.

I’ll post my week 12 video by next Friday, August 26, and my week 11 video by Friday, September 2.  Oh man, its almost September?  Gah.

Well, tomorrow morning I’m off to do a half marathon with a couple of my friends, and I’ll be pushing my son in his stroller.  5:30am start time, so that should be fun!  Time for me to go to bed.  At least I’ll be done by 8:30 (I hope!).  I kind of half-assed my training, so it should be interesting.

Good luck, and happy practicing!

One reply on “Video week 13, and assignments!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s