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What should I audition with?

Discussion in 'Works in Progress' started by kmbright, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. kmbright

    kmbright New Member

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    Hey! I am a rising Junior at UNC Chapel Hill who is planning on starting a music minor. I have been playing the piano for about 15 years and would finally like to start doing something with the piano. I have to audition for piano lessons though and I need to pick 2 songs and play pieces of them within a 7 minute time slot. I am working on Liszt's Rhapsodie Espagnole right now, and really want to audition with it. So, my question is, what other song should I play that has different technique, but also a good level of difficulty?
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I don't quite understand the question. There are about a zillion piano pieces to choose from, you pick one and ask us what the other one should be ?
     
  3. kmbright

    kmbright New Member

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    Well, I guess it is a strange question. But what I am really asking is if you can think of another piano piece that has a clear difference in technique, that is also impressive to play for a professor. I'm just asking for various opinions.
     
  4. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    You should audition such that your playing is impressive, not the pieces. Actually, don't expect to impress, just demonstrate that you're competent.
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    You'll have impressed the professor plenty already with the Liszt. To complement, go for something that is difficult musically and intellectually, rather than merely virtuoso. A Bach Partita or English Suite, or some P&F's from the WTC. Do not burden the prof with two virtuoso warhorses in a row.
     
  6. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Kmbright
    I have thought a bit more about your OP and want to add some more. The Liszt work you cite is by all means an artist level work. Unless your are in fact an advanced and accomplished pianist who can demonstrate technical and musical mastery with room to spare, you will do yourself a DISSERVICE to audition with that piece. Again I want to emphasize that you should audition with what you can demonstrate *mastery*. The matter of technique is often confused with mechanics. The first is the how and the second is the what. Your technique will be immediately evident the moment you start playing. The jurors will observe *how* you touch the keys, move your fingers and hands, how you lift off the keys, observe the shape of your hand while playing octaves and observe if you are playing them from the wrist or from the elbow with stiff wrists, and observe if you move a lot as you play octaves passing from white to black keys or if you hug the end of the black key with the near portion of the white keys as would a slalom skier. These are a few examples regarding *technique*. The fact that you play (ie demonstrate the mechanics of) octaves is inconsequential, unless you are showing mastery. Far more important than demonstrating a difference of mechanics, is demonstrating a difference of style. Choose two works from disparate eras that you play without any musical or technical reservation. Be sure to let us know the end of the story!
     
  7. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    This may seem harsh, but if you are capable of playing the Rhapsodie Espagnole to concert level, you should also be capable of answering your own question i.e. "what other song (sic) should I play that has different technique, but also a good level of difficulty?"

    That aside, firstly it is better and more impressive to play a medium-level difficulty piece well rather than muddle through a genuine virtuoso piece. (Been there, learnt the lesson). Ideally your two pieces should contrast style, mood, or era - this is a common requirement. Above all, play pieces which you care about and are comfortable with.

    Chris is right in saying "Do not burden the prof with two virtuoso warhorses in a row." If I was auditioning, I would choose a virtuoso/flashy piece to show the strong points of my technique, and a slower piece to demonstrate that I have musical ideas and can communicate them. Good luck.
     
  8. kmbright

    kmbright New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the help! This was probably a really dumb question, but it's my first audition, so I'm pretty nervous about it.
     
  9. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    Esteemed colleagues, can we not be too harsh please? Choosing program for an audition is a different task from working through repertoire in lessons. There are many, many advanced students who have worked hard for many years in lessons, perhaps even worked a gig or several, but never had to do a round of competitions, adjudications, auditions etc. and thus feel a bit at sea with the process. Being a newbie at this task does not indicate being inexperienced at playing the piano. Some of the comments seem a bit presumptuous given that we have not heard this student play.

    kmbright, maybe you could sort through pieces that you've mastered in the last 1-3 years and pick something you feel contrasts with the Liszt? Unless the audition is several months away, now is not a good time to start something new for the audition. Contrast in as many ways as possible is ideal (time period, energy level, tempo, type of artistic and technical demands). Bear in mind that you may be stopped after less than a minute of each piece, politely thanked and asked to leave the room. So don't count on being able to play through to a certain favorite passage. This happened to me in my audition to study with a conservatory professor. I thought I had tanked for sure, but turned out I was successful -- as Eddy said, the judges will know what they're hearing and seeing within moments of hearing you start each piece. I also hereby add my vote to the idea that it is better to play something you can play well than something you think is "impressive" but have trouble with or feel nervous about. Having never heard you play, I have no idea what category the Liszt is in for you.
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh dear, there's the H-word again.... We are not being harsh at all (despite my initial reaction to what was a rather silly question as put) and in fact the OP was given some sensible and well-meant tips.
     
  11. kmbright

    kmbright New Member

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    It is quite alright everyone! I was thinking of changing the audition pieces to Scriabin's Prelude op. 11 no. 14 and Chopin's Etude op. 25 no. 7. The Chopin Etude isn't his most difficult, but it does have a distinctly different technique than the Scriabin Prelude. I have played these both before, but I will need to brush up on them. I see there is an audition room, so I'll try yo upload the videos when I have a chance.
     
  12. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi kmbright,

    Where you've been playing piano for 15 years, you surely must have covered a good amount of repertoire by now. I think what you mainly need to do in adding a piece to your Liszt selection is to think CONTRAST. That encompasses a number of things: different tempo, lyrical rather than bravura, noticeably different idiom and notation, different key signature, another stylistic period (Baroque, Viennese Classical, Impressionism, or Contemporary) as opposed to Liszt's music of the Romantic Age, etc. These and other elements are used all the time in preparing recital programs to ensure plenty of contrast so as not to bore the audience. Your task is much easier. You need only two contrasting works. Looking back over your extensive repertoire, surely you can identify a single piece that would provide a solid contrast as I've described it here? I think you're making the task more difficult that it actually is. Years ago when I was at university, I wanted to study with the artist in residence. He invited me to audition, and I played a Beethoven sonata. That was ample for him, and I didn't even need to play the second piece. He told me the repertoire he wanted me to prepare, and set the date and time for the first lesson. Perhaps you'll have the same luck if you do an excellent job with the Liszt.

    David
     

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