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Well, here goes my 1st post on SOTW :)

First off, Hello, my name is Alec and next week I will be auditioning for a music scholarship at one of the top academic private schools in the nation.

The audition requirements are the norm, 12 major scales 2 octaves w/ arpeggios, 2 etudes from the 11th and 12th grade All-State requirements (38 Etudes for clarinet (C.Rose) and 48 Famous Studies for Oboe and Saxophone) and 1 solo piece with an accompaniment. I have been practicing as much as possible over the Spring break (Around 20 hrs. total on Clarinet and Tenor) and have almost everything down so far.

If I were to receive the scholarship I would save my parents around 100k (Heh, no pressure!) and it would most likely land me into a very good college. SOOO, my question for you all is .... are there any practice tips to help me the week before the audition? Also, any guidance to be prepared for the nerve wracking experience :baby: would help a ton.

Thanks in advance! - Alec

*Also a little bio for my 1st ever real post* My name is Alec...if you haven't noticed, and im going into high school next year. I am currently in the South Florida Youth Symphony and I have been playing Clarinet for 4 years and the Sax for 2 (I will be auditioning on both) I have been taking private lessons since about last year with a man by the name of Richard Procopio (I hear he is a bit well known, he played with Sinatra :bluewink: ), and that's about it!
 

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Practicing by yourself and playing in front of people who are judging you are two different beasts. Ideally, you want to be as relaxed in your audition as you are in your practice space. To help with that you need to simulate the audition experience. Set up mock auditions in front of your friends and family. Pretend they're real and evaluate how nervous you get, how much you're able to let yourself relax, and how it all affects your playing. Hopefully, but putting yourself in those situations, you'll gain experience and when you do your audition, it won't be as daunting as it otherwise would be. The more you do it, the better. What you're doing is making an unfamiliar situation more familiar, which will allow you to be more comfortable.

Somewhat related, even if you think you've got a piece down, you can do it better. If you get nervous and tension creeps into your playing, the results will suffer. If you're at the threshold where the pieces just start sounding good, then being a little too tense can cause it to sound bad again. But if you keep pushing to get better and you get the pieces down stone cold, then you can still sound very good even with the nerves.
 

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Good call, Agent27. Everything else should already be in place by now - there's no cramming, only tweaking.

Saxitola - It's just like getting ready for any other gig - ensure your horn is in good adjustment and that you have several reeds in which you have high confidence.

Enjoy the experience!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow, thank you both, I will start setting up mock auditions today, maybe even recording them to see how different I play. *Hopefully not too different :) *
 

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Here is a video of me playing, messed up about 3 or 4 times, and sound quality sucks. Constructive criticism please :) -
- 1st etude

- 2nd etude (excuse my peculiar dancing robot.)
 

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First etude:

You're playing those first two beats straight when they have a dotted 16th followed by a 32nd in them. You need to emphasize that. It's not written as four 16th notes so don't play it that way.

Make sure the staccato notes are staccato. You're just tonging them. You need to clearly put space between those notes and the following notes.

You miss a lot of notes over the last 3 or 4 bars. It's not just that you're missing pitches, but you're adding in notes and playing more pitches than there are written.

There's not ritard in the 4th bar. I wouldn't slow down at all. If you need to breath, then snag it between the jump from the low B to the high G and continue as if you hadn't paused at all for the breath. And the ritard right before you stopped is marked "poco rit" which means "slight" ritard. You're slowing down way too much.

Second etude:

First, you're approaching this etude completely wrong. The tempo is marked 8th note=88. That means that instead of the quarter note getting the beat (as usually the case in 4/4 or 3/4 time), the 8th note gets the beat. So when you see that first half note, you count 4 beats instead of two (because 4 8th notes = 1 half note). It's like you were playing a whole note instead. Similarly, the quarter note gets 2 beats and is played as a half note. The 16th note sextuplets get played as triplets, the 32nd notes get played as 16ths and the 16ths get played as 8ths.

Basically, it's half as fast as you thought it was when you were playing. It's a lyrical etude, not a technical one.

Example:

Second, your time is all over the place. Spend a lot of time with a metronome on both pieces, but especially this one. You don't necessarily have to play it up to tempo but the time needs to be solid and consistent.

In general:
I think your technique is pretty good for someone your age. Your sound needs some work. It sounds like you're maybe working a little to hard, like your reed is a little stiff. I'd do some longtones in the lower register (low G and below) for maybe 5-10 minutes a day. Aim at keeping the tone consistent and getting rid of the "quivers". Your vibrato is weak and inconsistent. Work on it by holding a single note out and doing vibrato. Try to make the length of the "waves" consistent. Classical vibrato isn't very wide so make sure you don't bend the pitch down too much. Also work on having the vibrato start immediately instead of a second or two after you hit the note. Practice by starting the note and trying to start good vibrate immediately. Play for a few seconds, stop, and then start the note again. Rinse, repeat.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay so the 2nd etude is pretty much the complete opposite of cut-time and the 1st etude needs technical work (I just realized that the rhythm is different thanks to you :) ) I also have 2 more very similar etudes on clarinet :p but thank you very much for your input, I guess recording myself paid off quite well! - Also, the reed I was playing on was a brand new reed I got that day (Had some bad luck with my other reed :( ) But it is not all the reed, I know I must keep working on my tone. Thanks Again!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Also, Agent, what does the little sideways squiggly line mean in the 2nd etude? In the video I heard the girl do a little up and down fancy thing :)
 

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I don't have the music with me, but I would guess it's either a mordent or a grupetto/turn.
A mordent looks like this, and you just do 1 trill flip at the beginning of the note


A grupetto looks like this,

and it is significantly more complicated to explain, and honestly I can't explain it in a way that makes sense, but hopefully this website will help.(Number 6-12, also has mordents in there):
http://gc-music.com/Ornament.htm

If it's a turn don't worry about it for now. I doubt the teacher will fault someone your age for not being able to play a turn properly. A bit off topic, but what kind of high school has a tuition that ridiculously high?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A grupetto looks like this,




A bit off topic, but what kind of high school has a tuition that ridiculously high?
Okay well 1st it is a grupetto and 2nd ... http://www.ahschool.com this school :p, tuition starts at 22k a year in 9th grade then rises about $400-$500 every year. That is not including testing fees and books ect.

This scholarship is for the full 4 years and ALL costs included, absolutely free!
 

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Okay, I guess I'll try to explain a grupetto then. First you'll want to play the first half of the note with no embellishments, but for the second half of the note you'll want to play the note above it, the note you started on, the note below that, and then the note you started on again evenly. Hopefully that made sense.

Edit: Also, you could post a picture of the turn in question, and then we could tell what you'd play in that particular instance if the above didn't make sense

Edit 2: You should also post a video of you playing your solo. There is no such thing as too much constructive criticism.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
There is no such thing as too much constructive criticism.
<- I might make that my signature when possible :), and here, I posted the slightly "improved" 1st etude (still some little mistakes, get off tempo a few times, a few wrong notes)
 

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A note on the grupetto, there's a natural sign underneath it. That means to make the lower note natural instead of flat. Since it's on a "C" in the key of F, if there were just the grupetto with no other markings, you would play C D C Bb C. But that natural sign is telling you to make the Bb a B natural so you'd play C D C B C instead.

FWIW, when I live overseas, I went to a school that cost $30K/year but my stepmothers company covered the tuition. The school was ranked #6 academically in the world when I went there which accounts for the price tag.
 

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<- I might make that my signature when possible :), and here, I posted the slightly "improved" 1st etude (still some little mistakes, get off tempo a few times, a few wrong notes)
Better.

The 3rd measure, the B to A# in the 3rd grouping, you're missing something there. I think you're going B to A natural or something like that instead. Double check those notes. It should be a half step and I'm hearing a whole step.
 

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The 3rd measure, the B to A# in the 3rd grouping, you're missing something there. I think you're going B to A natural or something like that instead. Double check those notes. It should be a half step and I'm hearing a whole step.
You are absolutley correct. I just checked and im going from B to G# when I should be going B to A# - Thank you for pointing that out *I have learned more from you than I have from my private instructor, I need to find a new one.*
I'll post videos of me doing the etudes for clarinet and my clarinet solo later as well!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'll post videos of me doing the etudes for clarinet and my clarinet solo later as well!
- The 2nd Etude for Clarinet, excuse the pops and screeches especially on the high notes, computer mic is terrible and so is my tone when my lip is bleeding :Rant:
- There are many things wrong but I am not sure exactly what. Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated! - Thanks :)
 
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