Band vs. Orchestra auditions

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ TubeNet BBS ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Kenneth Sloan on February 18, 2003 at 14:59:31:

SERTEC had one session that was new to me (and I hope to see more of it). That was the collection of "interactive" mock auditons. There were auditions for euphonium, tuba (band) and tuba (orchestra). A screen was placed so that the audience could see both sides of the screen, and at the end of each audition the screen came down and the panel made critical comments about the players. This was very educational, at least to me!

The one big surprise (many people there commented on it) was that the overall quality of the tuba playing was markedly different in the band and orchestra auditions. There were 6 (I think) players in each audition, with 4 players doing both. One panelist observed that he only recognized one (of the 4) "sounds".

The bottom line was that the players were adequately prepared for the band audition (perhaps 3 of 6 would have advanced in a real audition) but nowhere near ready for the orchestral audition (no offense intended to any of the players). No one would have advanced, and several were dismissed without completing the scheduled excerpts.

The question is: why is this? Same players, same panel, excerpts of comparable difficulty - but radically different results.

My theory is that it has to do with experience. I suspect that all of the players had previously played all of the band pieces from which the excerpts were drawn - all the way through, in performance, with a full ensemble. I also suspect that they had previously played very few of the orchestral pieces in performance with a full ensemble. I wonder how many had prepared the orchestral excerpts from "excerpt books", rather than from full parts (not to mention scores).

If my speculation is correct, it helps explain why we heard the same players playing the *notes* of the orchestral numbers, but the *music* of the band pieces.

I'll bet that all of the players could whistle the piccolo part for S&SF; I wonder how many could sing what the rest of the orchestra is doing during their rests in "The Ride"?


Follow Ups: