Audition season is here and excerpt boards are coming up. As you are collecting your ready-to-go lists, how about playing the 10-Second Game? Seeing as you'll likely only get one chance per excerpt on audition day, you might as well begin to sharpen your entry skills.
Practice nailing just the first 10 seconds of each excerpt. We are going for exact tempo, clean first notes, the right style, dynamics, intonation and all of the usual requirements that separate the men and women from the boys and girls. This is more important than you might think. Most audition committees can pick out winners in no time, and that goes as well for losers. Even though you may redeem yourself nobly as you continue playing, your attentive listeners may have already checked out and returned to their magazines. It's all about making a great first impression.
Remember, we're looking for perfect entrances. Don't get carried away and practice the whole excerpt. Be able to start on a dime. Control-players get paid well. Let's imagine a loud "ka-ching!" resounding each time you get off the blocks in fine form. Anyone ought to be able to compete with the greats for 10 seconds! Go for it. You can do this!