I served on another audition committee this week. This time around it was for our assistant principal second violin opening. I think this is around the tenth audition committee I’ve been on – actually, I’ll take an inventory right now: I’ve sat on committees for four viola auditions, associate concertmaster, three violin auditions, principal cello, tuba, two bass auditions, and principal trumpet. I think there may be others, they’ve just run together a bit over the years. So that makes thirteen auditions, and this last one makes fourteen. That’s a lot of candidates I’ve heard over the years. Every time I listen to auditions, however, I always learn something important about the audition process and my own playing.
There is a common misconception that one must play a note-perfect audition in order to win. That would be a nice, start, but I’ve found that this is rarely the case. Every winner of the auditions that I’ve listened to has done one thing in common: they were very, very good musicians. Listening to them play made me believe what they were doing was the right way to do it, even if I didn’t necessarily agree with what they were doing at the time. They made a powerful case for what they were doing, even if there were flaws in the execution along the way.