Helpful tips for participants
The NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition offers its participants an experience that closely resembles a “real world” audition. Accordingly, the Bursary 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.
- If available, 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 clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
- Record your program on an audio or video recorder and listen to it 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.
- The jurors will listen to your audition with compassion: they want you to do your best.
- Sharing your musical talent with others is part of the orchestral experience. Be yourself and enjoy the audition process.
- 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 prepared. This helps you to be confident.
- Be expressive… this makes your music more interesting!
- Be considerate of fellow musicians and keep your volume down in the lobby or hallway while you're waiting.
- Most of all, enjoy your audition! Your best performance happens when you play from your heart.