Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What to Pack for the Audition

Job hunters need to have in their portfolio five qualifications that will make the employers' selection process easy. Unfortunately these skills cannot be jammed into your suitcase at the last minute. All-night cram sessions just prior to the interview/audition will not work. These winning qualities will best be evidenced when they have been carefully ingrained over time. They must become automatic.

Not only will you win points at your audition, but you will also have great confidence under pressure. No need to be overwhelmed. All five are quite doable. The good news is that you have daily opportunities to be building these attention-grabbers as much as you like. Keep all five on the front burner, well-prepared, simmering, and ready to serve.
Audition committees are looking for these, so pay attention and don't disappoint. Guaranteed - if you impress listeners with each of these, your job hunt is over.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Charles Saenz at CCM

Pictured are Trumpet Professor Charles Saenz and pianist/accompanist extraordinaire Solungga Fang-Tzu Lui, both from THE Bowling Green State University in Ohio. They visited CCM last week for a master class and recital. What a perfect kick start for the fall quarter on the very first week of classes! Beautiful playing and first rate coaching.

Charles plays with confidence, accuracy and wonderful musicianship. What a treat to sit and listen. Mr. Saenz's program began with Shchedrin's In the Style of Albeniz played with perfect agility and character. Their performance made you think "seductive subtlety". Wouldn't be surprised to see this work programed on a number of this year's recitals. It's a fun piece with nifty challenges.

Torelli's Sonata G1 in D major was next without the customary piccolo trumpet tuning difficulties!! It was gracefully played and nicely controlled. Trills and details had clarity, and phrasings were graceful.

Martinu's Sonatine was next. This work is not on many top 10 lists to my knowledge, but definitely worth studying and performing, especially for those looking for some interesting non-standard rep. This Sonatine definitely merits a closer look.

Mr. Saenz continued with the Karl Pilss Sonata. His approach which focused on refinement and style made this work more appealing and worth putting on the front practice burner. He demonstrated a nice flow over those rough angular lines. It sounded well sung.

Ravel's Habanera concluded the recital. This little piece likewise seems to be getting more fame of late. It's a nice classy filler for a recital, but not as easy as it may first appear. Great recital program and performance!

Things learned and general bullet points taken from the master class in no particular order:
  • Breathe bigger and in time.
  • Be bold.
  • Begin phrases well.
  • Control vibrato.
  • Intensity should match the musical line.
  • There can be a slight space between quarter notes for energy and clarity. Be able to use variety of articulations by design, not convenience.
  • Chains of sixteenth notes need direction.
  • All lines must have purpose.
  • Problem spots are usually preceded by a lack of total control just ahead of a danger zone. Be secure before the scary moments come upon you.
  • Legato matters. Smooth and well shaped lines are impressive.
  • Play listening games. Pick an issue and listen for it. For example: Monday - starts day; Tuesday - releases day; Wednesday - dynamics day; Thursday - shape, phrasing and intensity day; Friday - accuracy day. Saturday - football and change of pace day; Sunday - take a break day! Be creative but be productive. Every day - keep it fun and challenging.