For Teachers:  Audition FAQ's

Auditions, festivals and competitions have been established for varied purposes. Some events have been created to provide an assessment for private students, while others have been designed to select the top performers for a particular program or recital. The most competitive events might award cash prizes or scholarships, as well as performance opportunities.  In every situation the goal is the same for the student: to present the most technically proficient and musically mature performance possible. 

With this goal in mind, there are some general guidelines that can apply to every situation:

  • Plan ahead to allow sufficient learning time. It is far better to learn the music early and put it away for a few weeks while waiting for the audition, than trying to memorize and polish the musical details just before the event.
  • Select repertoire that represents the student's abilities well. Avoid pieces that are too challenging. Students will be judged on their mastery over the elements in their music.
  • Select music that the student loves, that will engage their imagination and which they will enjoy practicing on a long-term basis.  Involve the student in the selection process.
  • Most events require two contrasting pieces from different historical periods. Be sure the pieces contrast in technique, tempo, character and style, and work well together as a set. (Think of it as a short program being presented.)
  • Rehearse stage presence, addressing judges appropriately, and saying "Thank you!!" when leaving.

Students will benefit greatly from a positive audition experience. For more suggestions, continue reading the FAQs.

Why are the adjudication events important?  What is the value?

  • Provides periodic goals to work towards
  • Pushes the students to focus on details.
  • Encourages students to work towards their full potential
  • Encourage students to master new repertoire.
  • Provides a positive performance experience in a supportive learning environment.

How can I better help my students prepare?

  • Begin the learning process early -- several months before the event.
  • If memory is required, start early! Experiment with different memory strategies.
  • Consider reviving older pieces that weren't memorized and take them to a more detailed level of preparation for a performance.
  • Have selections memorized early enough and provide opportuntities to perform them before the event.
  • If playing with an accompanist, do so often.
  • Encourage regular and consistent practice, especially right before the event.
  • If the student is performing the selections several times, use maintenance practice techniques to keep the pieces from becoming 'tired.'

Why is performing by memory important?

  • Playing by memory encourages students to practice more! It encourages the student to completely internalize the score.  To understand harmonic structure, phrase structure.
  • The playing is more fluid when the performer doesn't have to worry about page turns, marks on the music, or the distractions of having a page turner sitting nearby.
  • The memorization process engages otherwise dormant areas of the brain.


The most spendid achievement of all is the constant striving to surpass yourself and to be worthy of your own approval. 

 ~Denis Waitley, motivational speaker and author

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