Re: Hartely's unaccomp. Suite

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Posted by Jay Bertolet on August 11, 1999 at 11:54:47:

In Reply to: Hartely's unaccomp. Suite posted by Winton on August 11, 1999 at 10:07:41:

As a college tuba/euphonium instructor, I tend to take a hard line view toward taped auditions. Joe posted some good thoughts but I disagree with the idea he stated that you should spend serious money on your tape to make it the best it can be. As an auditioner, I can tell you from experience that I can hear an engineered tape instantly. When I hear that, I automatically take every good thing that happens on the tape with a grain of salt, knowing that what I'm hearing is not a true indication of how the player plays. What I'm hearing is an indication of the best the player can sound and I still have no idea how long it took to compile the takes I'm listening to. Under such conditions, I would expect that most players can sound really good and that more accomplished players can sound like gods. So you can see that, in my view, making an engineered tape puts you behind the 8-ball right from the get go and puts your audition into an entirely different catagory as far as how I critique it. On a tape, I demand near perfection because of the number of chances you get to create it and because there are so many things I can't evaluate like sound, sightreading, and your ability to adjust to my suggestions as a teacher. Bottom line is if you're to the point of spending serious money on a tape, spend your serious money on a plane ticket and hotel room so you can audition in person.

If you must make a tape, here are some guidlines that I would suggest:

Don't make any cuts in the tape whatsoever! As soon as the auditioner hears that you've spliced your tape together, the game is over. The only splices that don't offend me are between whole pieces or excerpts so even splicing together the movements of a work are taboo in my book.

Make your tape in a relatively dry acoustic. Realize that a tape is like a snapshot of your playing, not a 3D rendering. What can you show on a tape? Fundamentals like pitch, rhythm, accuracy, dynamics, musicality. You can't show your sightreading, tone quality, or ability to adjust so don't bother trying. Using engineering to make your tape sound different than you do naturally is dishonest and will just make your tape appear contrived.

Choose selections that exhibit as much of your abilities as possible. And only choose selections you feel you have mastered. Don't play something you think is difficult and will impress the judges but you can't really play. Judges are impressed with good quality playing!

I realize it is impractical for you to audition here because you are located in Japan. Maybe you can arrange a tour of auditions in conjunction with a vacation here. Good luck!

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