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 Tips for Preparing a Recording  


Many applications for university music departments, recital appearances, performance prizes and some orchestral positions require a preliminary recording to be judged by a panel of music experts. Often passing this first hurdle leads to a live audition before a similar panel of judges. There are some common mistakes that first round auditionees make which should be avoided when preparing a preliminary recording. Keep in mind that judges are listening to many artists, all of a high caliber. At this level, even the smallest of details can be what moves you on to the next level…or eliminates you.

Start with something engaging and technical right from the start, that’s what judges want to hear. Once you have their attention you can go to something slow and expressive. Show a variety of styles and tempi in your recording as well, but don’t select obscure, esoteric literature that is technically demanding but musically uninteresting. At the same time, avoid overly familiar works that judges have heard all too often.

Be absolutely sure that the piano being used in your audition recording is IN TUNE. This is true for pianos being used to accompany instrumentalists or singers as well as for solo piano performances. You would think that an expert panel of judges would be able to overlook an out of tune instrument, and they can, but when these panelists are hearing many performers over a designated period of time, they are not only looking for good musicians but they are also looking for ways to cull the pool of applicants. Given equal talent, judges may eliminate an auditionee with an out of tune piano.

Quality of Recording
When judges are listening to many recorded performances, the quality of the recording also matters. Again, keep in mind that you are up against many other performers and tiny differences can make the difference between advancing or elimination. Place the microphones for the most accurate and impressive sound. Unless professionally engineered, do not put performances from different venues on one recording. And before submitting your recording, LISTEN to it. Make sure that it is something you are really happy with. That will influence the judges as well.


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