Preparing for my final Masters recital in April 2021, I am starting to cycle through that repertoire both new and old. I also started Suzuki teacher training in October 2020 so as we start 2021 I am beginning the training for Book 2!
- Telemann – Sonata in f minor 41:f1
Today this sonata is more commonly heard on bassoon; one of the challenges of preparing this piece is finding reference recordings since most of the available ones are on recorder or bassoon. The international edition is by no means the best edition – plentiful errors in both flute and piano parts. However the free online editions are also riddled with errors so it can be difficult have a reputable reference score to start and then add embellishments.
- Bach – Sonata in E Major (BWV 1035)
The authorship of this sonata is still being debated by music historians – many of the sonatas initially attributed to JS Bach are now thought to be written (at least in majority) by CPE Bach. This is the Barenreiter edition follows the original articulation of the manuscript – leaving out “obvious” patterns that the Bachs (whichever composed this Sonata in E) expected the perform to intuitively know. As a result, careful listening and score analysis is essential for creating articulation patterns that closely follow the style of this piece.
- Ibert – Piece for Solo Flute
This piece starts with a cadenza-like introduction that centers around the note “D”. Like Ibert’s well known Flute Concerto (composed 2 years prior), this piece is good for demonstrating virtuosity and freeness in playing. Despite studying at the Paris Conservatory, Ibert didn’t emulate any of the popular genres during the early 20th century, and in this piece you can hear how he’s style transforms multiple styles rather than honing in on just one.
Frank Martin is a Swiss composer; this 20th century work is comprised of several sections (sometimes considered “movements”) that contrast registers, tonality, tempo, and meter. One notable features of Ballade is the contrast of meter/rhythm between the flute and piano particularly measure 95 when the flute is in 2/4 and the piano is in 3/4.
- Prokofiev – Sonata in D op. 94
This edition includes both the violin transcription along with the flute line – being aware that there are variations (and other editions of the piece) was really important when studying and listening to the piece before practicing. The infamous D7s are just one of the challenges this piece presents where the goal is for them to blend into the ascending arpeggio pattern.
The second volume of the Suzuki Flute Book builds upon the more advanced concepts of Book 1 (which ends with the Handel Bourée which is in the key of G and features many sequences. Volume 2 stays in the Baroque era for awhile starting with Gluck, Bach, and Beethoven and gradually moves into the 19th century.
What’s on your stand?
Prescreening and audition season is just around the corner.
My last November as an undergraduate student preparing for my graduate prescreenings was a complete blackout of stress and crying. As a high school student preparing for undergraduate auditions I was utterly baffled as to how anything worked and whether or not I was sufficiently prepared. Here is some advice to help keep you on track this audition season:
The organizational requirements…
- What are the audition fees?
- Is there a prescreening required (are there rounds)?
- Can it be in person or can it be a tape?
- What are the audition dates (is it during the week or weekend)?
Planning how many schools you apply to – planning your budget for school fees AND audition fees. Keep in mind that usually the school of music has a separate fee from the university you are applying to – don’t stretch yourself too thin.
Know if there is just one round of auditions or if you are required to send in a prescreening. If there is… do you need to have an accompanist? Is there specific repertoire for prescreening? Do you have or need to get equipment for a high quality prescreening (nowadays phones are pretty good, but you might want to invest in a good microphone to present your playing in the best light. Here is one mic recommendation (Zoom iQ6) that is compatible with iOS.
Do you need to plan to travel? If the school is out of state/international are you eligible to send in a tape? With COVID schools are more likely to accept tapes than live auditions so you may be able to forgo unnecessary travel. Also with planning look ahead at your schedule – what are the specific dates for your instrument? Clear your schedule 3-4 months in advance to avoid issues during audition season.
The music requirements…
- Is your instrument in good shape?
- What scales do you need prepared?
- What repertoire do you need prepared?*
- *Two contrasting pieces or movements is a very commonly asked requirement. Clarify with the faculty at the school you are applying or your teacher what would be appropriate.
The first thing you should consider before preparing for auditions is the condition of your instrument. You do not want to have your instrument break down or put off a much needed service during audition season. Get it taken care of BEFORE you start preparing (at least 3 months) before your auditions so that you have one less thing to worry about!
Ask the faculty (if not abundantly clear on the audition list) what scales you will be required to play. What kind of articulation? Is there a preference for tempo and rhythm (band style v. straight eighths)?
Again ask the faculty if you have any confusion about the repertoire listed. Is there a specific edition asked for?
- Remember: The faculty are not looking for someone who is perfect, they are looking for someone they can TEACH. If you make a few mistakes that is fine, it’s how you handle them and respond to feedback that is so much more important!!
- Practice tip: Work on starting pieces/excerpts once you feel like you’ve got a piece down. If you are able to get yourself centered, comfortable with the opening of pieces it will help maintain stability throughout. If you are nervous starting a piece, you may start to snowball.
- Practice tip: Closer to the audition date (1 month or so) practice with the increased heart rate, high energy. Go run up/down the stairs; do jumping jacks; etc. before you run a piece to help acclimate to the way your body responds under stress.
- Plan out your day of the audition so that you know what to expect. Will there be exams (theory/ear training)? Will you have an interview? Knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of the audition day anxiety.
What tips do you have for college auditions? Share them in the comments below!