Taking any audition can be a daunting task that requires a particular set of skills outside of just being a great flutist. The audition process works like this: you send your resume and deposit, you get the list, make your excerpt binder, and if you are invited you go take the audition. Sounds easy, right? If only it were that simple!
I like to separate excerpts into different categories.
A. Excerpts I can nail every morning before I’ve had my coffee
B. Excerpts I can play but not always consistently
C. Excerpts that need a lot of work either because I haven’t worked on them before or because they’re really tricky and need more practice
When I decide to take an audition, I do all the things I mentioned but take it a step further. Once I have my list, I run my audition down every morning before I’ve had my coffee and record them. This helps me get a realistic idea of where my excerpts are in the preparation. Recording yourself is crucial to preparing for any audition, especially if you don’t have a private teacher. I also do a mock audition each week for friends and colleagues. Since we have to prepare so many excerpts but never perform them all in the first round, it’s important to practice them in different order while also playing for people who make you nervous.
Because taking auditions is a process, you want to take as many auditions as you can to learn how you handle this level of pressure and anxiety while performing at your highest level.
That takes time. Some people take 3 auditions and win a job, others may take 75. The biggest thing to remember when taking auditions is that no matter how hard you’ve worked or how well you play each excerpt, there’s still a chance that you’re not what the committee is looking for, and that’s okay! Not advancing or winning does not define you as a musician. What matters is that you improved and you learned something in the process. I highly recommend taking each and every audition even if you’re “not ready” because you’ll still improve something in your preparation.