Presser Hall

Dear students,
Welcome to the Illinois Wesleyan University School of Music. Hope all had good summer and are ready to work hard and make great music. We have a very exciting year ahead of us and I am looking forward to meeting each of you. I want to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on audition process and what I will be expecting from each of you as you audition.

Auditions are a necessary and important part in the life of a musician. They can be a little stressful but if you are prepared, they can actually be much fun. Below are some tips that will help you to be successful in your upcoming audition.

Come prepared. I saw good players who had not prepared their excerpts and therefore had bad auditions. Do not procrastinate and leave it to the last minute. Be organized. Print all the documents. Come a little early to warm up before your audition.

Rhythm. Two things that play major factor in determining auditions are rhythm and expressiveness. If you use one without the other your will not be successful. Study the rhythmic figures carefully and then practice them. Whatever tempo you pick, you should make sure your rhythm is exact. Count!

Be musical. I am looking for musicality and expressiveness. A challenging passage may be played technically brilliantly but if it has no musicality and expression it sounds boring to the listener. Listen to great musicians and learn from them.

Context. Listen to the pieces in various performances. Get to know and understand the context in which your excerpt takes place. Who is playing with you? Are you playing main melody or accompaniment? Even though you will not be asked these questions, the panel can always hear from your playing if you’ve done some homework on the context or not.

Control. A man said: “For performer music is about control.” Learn to control your sound, your performance and yourself. Control your emotions so you may put all your energy in music making. Pick a tempo where you can get through the music without stopping. I do expect you to know the original tempo of the piece and stick close to it.

Be yourself. Do not try to please anybody in an audition. It is impossible to predict what different people expect from you in any given situation. Be true to yourself and you will always succeed.

Most important audition in your life. Auditions are unique. You have one opportunity which will determine your future. Think of every audition as the most important audition of your life. A good friend of mine always said: “There is not a second chance to make a first impression.”

Good luck! See you all soon.


Dr. Lev Ivanov