Helpful Hints

The NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition offers its participants an experience that closely resembles a “real world” audition. Accordingly, the Committee has compiled the following tips to help you succeed in this and many other audition experiences.


Before your audition:

  • Determine repertoire months in advance; consult your teacher closely in this process.
  • Choose a solo piece with which you are comfortable and that shows off your strengths. Do not choose a difficult piece merely to impress the jurors; consult your teacher to make sure it is appropriate to your playing level.
  • Take the orchestral excerpts to your private music teacher to get ideas on style. Pay close attention to the tempo markings indicated on the music.
  • Listen to recordings that correspond to your orchestral excerpts. Compare different interpretations of the same piece.
  • Use a tuner and metronome during the early stages of practice. This will help you correct pitch and rhythm problems as you learn the piece.
  • Prepare expressive parts as carefully as technical parts. Identify the mood and message of these sections.
  • Be aware that the jury committee may only ask for part of a piece. Be able to start your piece from various points (not always the beginning).
  • Be familiar enough with your material so that you can perform it no matter what happens.
  • Rehearse in your performance clothes. Choose appropriate attire, as if you were going to a job interview. Are you comfortable? Practice walking in your shoes.
  • Record your program on an audio or video recorder to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Build up your strengths and work on weak areas.
  • Practice playing in front of an audience and let them critique your performance.


The day of the audition:

  • Allow plenty of time to arrive, find the audition room and warm-up. Nothing plays on nerves like having to rush or worry about missing your appointment time. Call immediately if you cannot make your appointment time.
  • Expect some waiting around. We do our best to stay on schedule, but sometimes there are delays. Be prepared.
  • Relax. Nobody is out to get you. The jurors want you to do your best.
  • Sharing your musical talent with others is part of the orchestral experience. Relax and enjoy the audition process.
  • Smile, and make eye contact with the jury.
  • Be courteous and professional inside and outside the audition room.
  • Take your time at the audition - don’t rush!
  • Keep going even if you make mistakes.
  • Be comfortable. Be prepared. This helps you to be confident.
  • Be bold and expressive… this makes your music more interesting!
  • Be considerate of fellow musicians and keep your volume down in the lobby while you're waiting.
  • Most of all… enjoy your audition! Your best performance happens when you play from your heart.

Contact Us

For further information about the NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition, please contact NACO Officer, Emerging Artists Professional Development Kelly Symons: