Player auditions

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by youngman, Apr 3, 2005.

  1. youngman

    youngman Member

    What should a band look for when auditioning a player ?
    Should it be left to the M.D. to decide or the band ?
    Our band is currently going through this process and i was wondering what was the best way of choosing a suitable candidate.
    Obviously playing ability will help sort them out, but should a less able regular attender be a better candidate that a star who is less frequent ?
  2. kate_the_horn

    kate_the_horn New Member

    its whatever the band needs.

    im all in favour of a less able player, coz if they attend more often they are gonna get a lot better in the long run.

    i also think, ultimately its the MD's position to sort it out!

    k x
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2005
  3. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    When I was first auditioned (for 2nd euph) it was by the Solo Euph and Principal cornet. The Band at the time was 'between conductors' - if this wasn't the case, the Associate Conductor would also have been present. The sight reading stuff was standardised across all the 'applicants', and I had a prepared solo.

    IMO the decision should be made by the conductor and the leader of the section for which your are applying...
  4. lewis

    lewis Member

    Should get em in front of the whole band!! At least then you know you have a player that can take the pressure and won't bottle it on a contest stage.
  5. Lil Miss

    Lil Miss Active Member

    isn't that a bit harsh??? :frown: Gettin someone in front of their own band is nerve-racking, but in front of a group of ppl u don't know...that's just really scary.....I know I wouldn't b able to cope.:frown: anywayz I think the M.D should be deciding as "they knows best"...
    (or so they tell us:wink: )

    Just personally, I'd look for someone with a reasonably nice tone, who can come to regular rehearsals and is motivated to practise and work hard at rehearsals....most importantly they must enjoy what they are doing!!!!:D
  6. Sharpy

    Sharpy Member

    I think it depends on what position your asking about! Yoyu probably wont get many 3rd Cornet applicants who want to stand up and play an Air Varie!! I think you can get a good opinion of a player just by making them feel at ease and just allow them to sit in the seat for a couple of rehearsals and just let them go for it.

    If they've prepared a band solo and want to play it, great. But the people sitting around the auditionee and the conductor should be able to work out if the player is up to scratch or not.
  7. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Surely it depends in what part they are auditioning for and what level the band is at ?
  8. lewis

    lewis Member

    So many test pieces now are being written with more and more solos for parts that aren't usually exposed, so why shouldn't you find out whether your new third cornet, or 2nd baritone player can handle a little bit of pressure?

    It is harsh but that's what auditions are about, you need to try find out players weaknesses.
  9. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I think in most intances it is good for a prospective player to sit in at least one or two rehearsals - not necessarily having to stand up in front of the band, but it gives a chance on both sides to test out compatibility as well as musicianship and basic playing ability.
  10. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Yeah and no band ever moves solo parts around do they.

    championship section finals last year:
    How many bands played with 2 Sopranos?
    How many bass trombone players played ALL of the cadenza?

    I am sure there are many more examples !
  11. lewis

    lewis Member

    You might surpise yourself and end up finding a back row player that doesn't mind a solo! As for the bass trombone thing, I don't think it would fair for me to comment fully but the cadenza wasn't actually that hard! ;-)
  12. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    What I was getting at was that even in top bands there are times when solo lines are moved around the band to get the best performance, solo playing is not the only, or necessarrilly main, requirement for auditioning a new player.

    I would rather have a 2nd/3rd Cornet that can play in tune below the stave than one that can play a stand up solo.

    note to moderators:
    'necessarrilly' cant possibly be the correct spelling, when will we get a spell checker for posts?
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2005
  13. lewis

    lewis Member

    I didn't say anything about a 3rd cornet player having to play carnival of venice I was talking about the pressure! Have them play whatever you want, make them play long notes if you want, I just think it's good to see how people play under pressure.
  14. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    I've played for bands where if an applicant possessed lips tongue and teeth (The latter not necessarily their own), they automatically passed the audition.
    We would then ask them which instrument they fancied, buy a made to measure seat and uniform for them, arrange a tab at the bar, and ask them how much they needed paying to play with us.
  15. jo

    jo Member

    sit them in the chair they are auditioning for in a couple of rehersals where the band are running a mixture of pieces, see how they cope with the playing/sight reading/ensemble work then take them to the pub (age allowing obviously) and see if they fit in with the crowd! No use having a player who upsets the finely balanced drinking equilibrium of the band!!
    generally the section the player is looking to join will form an opinion by hearing them playing in the next chair/squeaking away in their ear etc and obviously the conductor will have an opinion so perhaps a decision by a combination of those is the best decider...seems to work for us!
  16. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I agree
  17. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    A formal audition tells you how well someone handles an audition, but not much else about them.

    I think that formal auditions are sometimes necessary, especially when there is some sort of controversy or competition for the position. But I also feel that the audition is only a part of the picture - the band must also be comfortable with the player and vice versa.

    The sound of a musical chord is determined not just by the individual notes but by the relationships between them. The sound of the band as a whole is a product of the combination of the whole group, and "chemistry" between the players, and the relationships between the players, both musical and non-musical, can have an effect on the sound.

    If formal auditions are proposed, I've always found the best results in having the MD, the section leader from the section, and one other member of the band (preferably from a different section) be the audition panel, with the MD having the final decision.
  18. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I did hear of a new MD at a band re-auditioning every player (It may have been just the cornet section) to see who should sit where.

    I don't think this would go down very well in most bands - mine included !
  19. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    Its the conductors job... Its what he's paid to do...
  20. sevenhelz

    sevenhelz Active Member

    in st helens we audition for our seats every year. of course sometimes it's fairly obvious who will sit where, as in the case of the euphs this time - aimee is very clearly the best! but that didn't mean we didn't make an effort.
    it's kind of semi-formal, with standard sight reading for everyone, and we prepare a solo to be played without an accompanist. but our MD isn't actually present! usually the tutor for their instrument, or a french horn player (associated with the band through being MD's husband) will take the audition while the rest of the band rehearses.
    the thing is that if a new player wants to join they can move very quickly through the ranks, once we get used to them and their standard. also our MD knows a lot of players pretty well already. i came into the band when i first started playing, and she listened to me play a few notes and said i could join the baby band, yey.
    she decides pretty much alone i think, though if the band really had a huge problem with someone socially she would try and compromise. it doesn't come up that often *shrug*
    i would say if you really want to have MD + someone else at audition, at least make it their section leader, or a member of the section who has good judgement. kind of depends on the band though.
    *shrug* kinda hoped i'd have a point there...

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