Lecturer in Harp, http://www.sebastien-lipman.com/
In order to prepare properly for a professional orchestra position, it is essential to realise that this should be a long term plan. This plan needs to begin by making key decisions years prior to the audition date. This includes deciding crucial steps, such as with whom to study, where to study and to fully appreciate how much focus is needed. Therefore, one is best to choose a mentor who has vast experience to share, studying at an institution/city, which offers frequent performance opportunities.
In the years leading to the audition, the focus should not only be on fine-tuning one’s craft as a solo player, as important as this is, but also to gain as much experience as possible performing the major professional repertoire, as no theoretical learning will ever replace the invaluable ensemble experience that real life playing offers.
In order to deliver solid performance in one’s audition, it is necessary to keep up a vast list of likely to be requested excerpts into one’s repertoire as well as solo works suitable for an audition, not only practising those, but performing those in public regularly.
When it comes to the actual repertoire of the audition, it is highly recommended to prepare each excerpt in a variety of styles and tempi in order to be comfortable should one be asked to play the same excerpt differently on audition day.
Listening to a variety of versions of each work on the orchestra excerpt list is a must in order to gain a complete understanding of style, tempo and tradition, preferably listening to the recordings of the orchestra one auditions for.
Last but not least, strive to approach your performance on audition day as a concert rather than as an audition. And keep in mind that should the audition not be successful, it remains constructive experience for the following audition!