Many say that the road to a successful orchestral audition is paved with obtaining many skills not necessarily needed for the job of sitting in the chair after it. Preparing for an audition takes complete knowledge of the repertoire and many varying recordings of each piece of music, complete and total mastery of each excerpt, and simply sounding better than everyone else who’s auditioning. This is a massive feat, considering the staggering number of people in the world who can perform said skills, coupled with the sheer number of “chairs” out there. There simply are not enough jobs, which has resulted in the amount of precision demanded by audition committees.
6 Weeks to Finals: The Complete System for Audition Success is a wonderfully thoughout book meant to aid in preparation for orchestral audition process. Author, Sharon Sparrow, Assistant Principal Flute of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, draws from her own experience, along with countless others (including a few personnel managers) to bring the reader a tried and true process for being successful in an audition, regardless the “stakes.” This highly-detailed, 6 week plan of preparation for audition success includes mental and physical conditioning, a daily, intentional regiment of practicing excerpts, listening to music playlists, performing mock auditions in a variety of circumstances, audition day itself, and tailoring specific warm-up routines for each musical excerpt. For $20, this 63-page book may seem like an overpriced bunch of notes, but in the right hands, this book can help provide an edge over other competitors; being more prepared in every imaginable way, than anyone else.
This book is written really well, in the fact that it feels like something coming from a friend, or someone who really cares about helping other musicians. Another really great thing is how systematic and approachable the concepts are, as it really gives you an encouraging outlook over the whole process. Being only 63 pages, it can be a super easy read, taking maybe a few hours. It also has visuals and chapter summaries to stay on track.
The only con, in my opinion, is the lack of detail in the previous 2 weeks to the 6-week program: the Conditioning phase. It would be really helpful to see examples of what types of exercises she uses to “get into shape” during this phase of preparation.
Her words regarding the outcome of the process,
“Once I devised this 6-week system and began using it, I felt two really amazing things that I had never felt before an audition. The first was the belief, real belief in my heart, that no one, not one person at that audition, could have out-prepared or worked any harder than I did. The second came after I played, that no matter what the committee said, I already felt like a winner for the immense progress I had made and for the invaluable tools I had accumulated on this journey to audition day. Nothing could ever take that away from me. My level had been raised, my game forever upped.”
This book is a MUST HAVE for audition preparation! I’m looking forward to using this process for a few upcoming competitions and auditions. Now we see who can be the most prepared!