8run again, only this time, you go slightly sharp at the top. So now,you’re 1 out of 2, or 50/50 (1 good, 1 faulty). A third repetitionyields another not so successful execution, so now your averagehas plummeted even further to 1 out of 3 (1 good, 2 faulty) or33 ⅓ / 66 ⅔ The odds are now getting scary; remember theone shot rule. The intellectual game show Jeopardy is a classicexample of how this principle works; the more correct answersone produces, the higher the score rises. Deliver wrong answersand the number quickly descends into the red, eventuallyresulting in elimination from the game. Consistent incorrectresponses require an even greater percentage of right ones inorder to climb out of the hole and jump back into the game. Yourpractice odds should keep you out of the red.• Always practice with purpose and insist on perfection as thegoal; remember that if you can execute any task at least once,you can replicate it again; the key is in the hardwiring. Don’tforgive poor intonation or accept performances delivered in amental vacuum. Every repetition needs purpose, yielding positiveresults. Each pass factors into the overall average, and ultimatelydetermines the odds for success.• Expression is not a substitute for accuracy. If a passionateslide is part of the design, first ensure that the shift is precisebefore adding the accessory of a slide.7 THE POWER OF PLACE• The practice room is never the realitysetting. Performances or auditions are heldin all types of venue, from cavernously largeto intimately small, bone dry to blurringlyresonant. Executing a pianissimo dynamicor spiccato stroke in a small, acousticallylifeless environment will feel different fromdoing the same in a sizable hall. Likewise,projecting sound into an immense spacecan lure performers into forcing - all themore reason to explore and experimentwith different acoustical environments,even if it means accessing a concert hallat 11 p.m. after everyone has gone homefor the evening.Get comfortable with these potentialscenarios:• Playing on a stage that is dividedvertically by a screen, with the performeron one side and the committee memberson the other.• Performing in a room so small thatyou have veryup-close and personalrelationships with committee membersbefore your audition is over.• Having a proctor sit behind you onstage as you play your audition.
98 MAKE A RECORDING DEVICE YOURBEST FRIEND.• Pre-screening tapes have now become the norm for manyauditions; it’s also not uncommon for live auditions to be videotaped.If you aren’t already used to playing for a recordingdevice, make a sensible investment by purchasing one. Learnto communicate to your audience through a camera lens ormicrophone, it takes practice.• Spontaneous self-evaluation at the moment of performance ischallenging. Recording oneself and subsequently reviewing theresults in the role of an objective, third party listener, enables usto calmly hear the reality, versus the imagined perception, of theperformance.• While making DVD recordings, decide whether your bodymovements are apropos to the music, seamlessly integrated intothe results. Could they read as nervous mannerisms that act asphysical intrusions, impairing the end product? Particularly in thecase of CDs, the absence of visuals magnifies both the strong andweak elements in a performance and provides a more accuratereading of how we sound.9 THE PERFORMANCE OF PRACTICE• Repeated mock performances beginning weeks prior to theactual audition date are absolutely vital to success. Particularlywhen it comes to orchestral excerpts - mere fragments ofcomplete works - the ability to switch gears, from the SchumannScherzo right into Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony takespractice; this is a skill you need to develop. Truthfully, it’s not anyeasier transitioning from unaccompanied Bach to the SibeliusViolin Concerto. If you can’t find others for whom to play,remember your best friend, the recording device; make it yourtrusted ally.• Audition lists are often exhaustingly extensive, creatingunaccustomed physical and mental demands on the performer.Repeated mock auditions over the course of many weeks mayseem unnecessary but in fact, are part of endurance training,not unlike the process followed by athletes. A professional boxerfriend of my husband, when asked how he readied himself forhis boxing bouts, stated “I don’t get ready; I stay ready!”• I sometimes jokingly prepare my students for their dry runsby equating the experience to an international flight: oncetheir journey begins, they won’t stop or get off for a long time.When committing to presenting a mock performance, under nocircumstances should one stop. Finding a way out of a fudgedrun or brief memory lapse is a learned skill. Quite often, smallindiscretions at auditions are overlooked if handled deftly.• Practice audition repertoire in a random order. It’s not wiseto fixate on a specific arrangement or obsess about a plottedritual. Students are often (but not always) given the choice of thefirst selection at school auditions but for orchestra auditions, thelist is set. To create the sense of unpredictability, I once had astudent practice her trial runs by writing the names of excerpts