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Music - Recital and Audition preparation

A step by step guide to assist you prepare for recitals and auditions

Sarah Butler - Trumpet

Sarah Butler

Head of Brass, Trumpet Lecturer, QCGU. Former Section Principal Trumpet - Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Audition testimonial

When you play an audition the obvious assumption is that you have prepared to the best of your ability; you know the music inside and out; you have used a tuner; a metronome; you know your part in context and you have listened to a number of different recordings; studied the score; had coaching on the excerpts; played the excerpts; staged pretend auditions and you are playing really really well!

I have auditioned many times and been successful and unsuccessful apparently with similar preparation techniques, but upon reflection, if I truly think about the times I have been successful and my opinion of success is either "winning" the job or being offered a trial, there have been marked differences in my approach. 

So assuming the above!!!!!

Essential audition tips

Tip 1:  Make yourself comfortable

  • This is particularly important if the audition is away from your hometown.  
  • Make the investment to get there a night or two early so you will have time to rehearse with the pianist a day or two before
  • Stay somewhere nice if you can, not on someone's couch, because you need to sleep to be on top of your game 
  • Don't eat rubbish, keep hydrated, don't go out late. Seems obvious, doesn't it?

Tip 2: On the day, keep to yourself and keep focussed 

  • It's a mental game, so believe you can win
  • Do not engage with anyone above a surface level "hello, how are you ... " at the audition 
  • There is plenty of time to be social after the audition so don't get drawn into the "mind games" that can go on
  • Don't spend all your time messaging people, keep your mind on the job
  • Some headphones can help with this if it's a bit of a cattle call situation with lots of other auditionees in the same room 

Tip 3: Do not give up and play music!

  • Don't think that you have lost just because you have made a mistake. I have made plenty of mistakes in auditions and still have been successful, do not give up, do not give up 
  • Do not forget that your job is to play music 
  • This is not really the time to play in an emotionless/technical way.  Having been on the other side of the auditions process i.e. the audition panel, has only served to reinforce this concept, great sound and musicality will always shine through and make a winning impression


Sarah Butler