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Tips for Virtual Auditions

Tips for Virtual Auditions

With the AYS application deadline being less than a month away, we’re sure that many of our potential musicians are working hard to perfect their audition piece. Virtual auditions are certainly very different from in-person auditions, but that shouldn’t hold you back from playing your best. To help you succeed, we have some AYS musician approved tips for auditioning virtually below!

We also asked our Director of Orchestra Operations, Isabel Thiroux for her input and she shared, “The beginning of your video MUST include the following: your name, instrument, solo piece, and that you are auditioning for AYS Season 2021/22. Think of this recording as being an in-person audition. Your audition recording should be one continuous video; there should not be any splicing together of multiple takes or videos.”

Tip #1: Take Advantage of Virtual Auditions!

While having virtual auditions is not typical, remember that you can redo your audition as many times as you’d like before submitting it. You can record your performance until you feel like it’s perfect and submit it knowing that it’s your best take. Being able to redo your audition and knowing that you’re not performing live can also put your mind at ease.

Tip #2: Prepare in Advance

Avoid starting your application at the last minute! Dedicate a day and time where you will work on your application and/or record your audition. You’re much more likely to perform better if you’re not stressed or rushed. Additionally, preparing in advance gives you time to troubleshoot any problems you may have along the way.

Tip #3: Ensure Your Instrument Can Be Clearly and Accurately Heard.

Always remember to tune your instrument! Move any objects that are blocking your instrument’s noise, such as a stand or papers, as they can obstruct the quality of your performance.

Tip #4: Consider Investing in a Plug-in Microphone.

Though most recent devices will do a great job at recording your performance, plug-in or instrument microphones can do an even better job at recording sound. Microphones can eliminate unnecessary noise and will only pick up the crisp sound of your instrument. If you’re on a budget and own earphones or a headset, you can even use the microphone from there to record yourself. 

Here are two options for microphones: 

Option 1

Option 2

Tip #5: Find a Quiet & Appropriate Place to Record

Make sure that you are in an area where your performance is the only thing that can be heard! Avoid playing outdoors where there is background noise or in rooms that echo. Try to play in a room with carpeting or large furniture to avoid background noise and echoing.

Tip #6: Leave Time for Any Technical Difficulties

Though technology has been great for getting us through the pandemic, keep in mind that technical difficulties are not uncommon and you might run into some issues with your audition. Be prepared to re-record your audition and leave time to upload your video in case you run into problems. Though not ideal, leave extra time to solve or adapt to any situations that arise while recording.

Tip #7: Review your Audition Video Before Submission

Does your instrument sound in tune? Is there any background noise? Are there any glitches? Take a moment to review your audition to make sure that everything looks and sounds good before submitting it. The last thing you’d want after spending many hours practicing is to submit a poorly recorded audition!

Tip #8: Advice from First Violin Sarah Wilkinson

“I did a virtual audition for AYS last year in 2020, and my advice to those auditioning this year is to practice playing your excerpts and your solo in front of the camera many times before you do your actual take. I think I may get more nervous when I have to record myself playing an audition video than playing for an actual audience! I also find it really helpful to play for as many people as possible before an audition. Since everything was virtual this year and it was almost impossible to play for others in person, I played for my teacher and friends over Zoom or FaceTime to get my nerves a bit more under control.”

Don’t forget that auditions are due on Monday, August 16th and results will be announced in early September. Learn more about auditions on this webpage. If you have more questions, please visit our audition FAQ webpage. Best of luck!

P.S. For violinists, visit our YouTube Channel to hear extra tips on the violin excerpts from AYS Concertmaster, Gallia Kastner. She reviews the Mozart, Dvorak, and Elgar Enigma variations.

American Youth Symphony

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