day 7: the perfect daily practice session

it's day 7 of the 12 days of auditions! it's the video series where each day i cover a different topic on how to take auditions. yesterday was day 6: how many hours a day should i practice?. make sure to join the auditionhacker facebook group to see the rest of them. 

here's the video transcription:


at one point or another, everyone, and i mean EVERYone, has walked into the practice room, and had no idea what to do that day. and when you’re getting ready for an audition, don’t you just want to know the right answer - what’s going to work? Your practice session should be simple, it shouldn’t waste any time, and it should be powerful and get you ready to win the audition. So here’s the 3 part practice session that I used every day before my winning MET audition: the warm-up, the run-through, and the body of work.

when you’re preparing for an audition, you’re living an audition lifestyle. so if you can make your practice routine mirror audition day, then when you get there it feels like it’s just another day, which it is. you don’t know how audition day will go, but you can pretty much count on having a little time to warm up and run through your excerpts before you go play the audition. so build your daily practice sessions the same way.

so how do i prepare for an audition?

find out. enroll in my new online mini-course called how to advance in an orchestra audition 101. it's free and it'll be delivered started on november 10th straight to your email.

step 1: warm up

you start audition day with a warm up, so let’s warm up every practice session. duh. your warm up has two main purposes when you’re prepping for an audition. first, it’s a collection of exercises that explores what your instrument can do. scales, register, dynamic range, extended techniques, anything. it gets you in the zone, makes sure all that stuff still works, and you can experience playing your instrument once before you play your excerpts. second, you can do technique building work. what’s hard about your excerpts? find exercises that push you to get better at those skills, so that they’re easier during the run-through.


step 2: the run-through

next, do the run-through. and it’s JUST a run-through - don’t stop and futz with things. your runthrough shows you the real life state of your excerpts right now. it’s not how they sound after 3 hours of work, it’s how they might sound at the audition… after only a warm up. then you can decide what needs real work.


step 3: body of work

third, and this is the main part of your practice session, your body of work. this is stuff you already planned to do that day - self-recording an excerpt, or maybe a mock audition, and it’s also new things you just noticed during the run-through. 


and that’s it: you’re done. some people do a warm down. ask you teacher, or try it out yourself, but i never did one.

rob knopper

hailed by @nytimes and james levine as needing 'louder triangle notes'. recorded delécluse: douze études for snare drum, percussionist in @metorchestra.