Prep for Auditions

Success in auditions requires preparation, practice and experience. These suggestions will organize your practice time and help you develop confidence before your next audition.

Study Sessions

When audition material is announced, study the score and determine the key and time signature. Practice the appropriate scale and arpeggio in various rhythms, articulations or patterns to prepare for technical challenges ahead.

Systematic practice develops skill, so approach practice like studying for a history exam, with short sessions to master technical issues, develop phrasing and build endurance. Take breaks to maintain concentration and avoid physical tension and fatigue.

Subdivide and Conquer

Confirm the audition date and mark it on a calendar, dividing the available days/weeks into practice units. Organize the audition material into small units, and mark the calendar with unit/day for learning.

Use the metronome, organizing tempo goals and keeping a written record of progress. To maintain technical control and develop virtuosity in fast etudes, remember to practice slowly.

Record your practice daily and listen back with the score available, marking inaccurate notes and rhythms. Listen for tone quality, intonation and musical phrasing. Record again, correcting inconsistencies or errors, then listen again to the improvements.

The Final Countdown

Organize mock auditions for teachers, friends and family several days before the actual audition. Create an environment like the audition day, with variables such as morning or afternoon, small or large classroom, single performer or large group, etc.

On the audition day, remember to get up early and have a good breakfast, with protein and fruit to prepare the mind and body to perform well. Deep breathing and mental focus exercises help maintain concentration.

With this approach to auditions, the day will be a great success!

About the Author

Mary Karen Clardy, professor of flute at the University of North Texas in Denton, appears as a soloist, chamber artist and teacher throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia and South America. A renowned author, Mary has published more than 10 books from European American Music, Leduc, Schott and Universal Edition. Her students are consistent prizewinners in international competitions and occupy prominent orchestral and faculty positions throughout the world. Visit