Picking an Audition Piece!

Is this piece I pick really that important?


The simple answer is yes. Whether you are auditioning for a professional orchestra or your high school band, the piece you pick gives off an impression, which is basically as important as what you wear and your confidence. Sometimes finding the right piece can be hard, but luckily for you there are many tools that allow flutists of many levels to find audition pieces that are perfect for them.

As you will find throughout your years as a flutist, there are hundreds of audition pieces to choose from, but how do you know which one to pick. Here is some advice:

  • Pick a piece that is appropriate for the context of the audition. If you are trying out for an orchestra, that picking solos that are commonly played with orchestras, or playing some orchestral excerpts are always a safe choice. If you are auditioning for a band, then you might find more safety with solo pieces that are accompanied by piano or some common concert band excerpts, such as "The Stars and Stripes Forever" piccolo solo.
  • Picking a fast piece isn't always a better choice. While a fast piece may show off virtuoso technical ability, it does not usually show off tone color or vibrato technique. Picking a piece with a happy medium is always a good choice.
  • A slow piece does not necessarily mean that it is easy. This is one of the biggest misconceptions of beginner flute players. While it may be easy to press the right keys down and the right time, you may not be able to produce a good tone which can turn adjudicators off and lessen the strength of your audition.
  • It is not always the best idea to pick a common audition piece to try to "play it safe." This can be a problem when you have a large amount of flutes audition for the same spot as you, and you will commonly find that if you do play a common audition piece, such as Chaminade's Concertino, that you will find at least one other person playing it as well. This could either be good or bad. Obviously if you play the same piece as someone else, it will be extremely easy to compare you to the other, which if you are better, then it is good, but if the other person plays it better, it will be quite obvious to the adjudicators.
  • Don't forget to practice your scales. Many times auditions will either tell you that you will have to play scales or they will surprise you with sets of scales that you will have to play. Being comfortable with the following scales will usually be good for any audition environment:
  1. Chormatic Scale from First octave C to Fourth Octave C.
  2. All major scales in full range.
  3. All harmonic and natural minor scales in full range.
  • These are scales that you should memorize over time anyways, so if you haven't learned them yet, I would suggest starting now.

All in all, whatever piece you do decide to pick, you have to play it well. Most adjudicators would rather see you play a slightly easier piece and do well, then a harder piece and doing very poorly. Keep this in mind and Good Luck!