Thursday, February 19, 2009

armchair audition critic

I seem to have abandoned my blog at just the moment when my main subject -- preparing and taking orchestral auditions -- may be on the verge of hipness. I'm referring, of course, to the YouTube Symphony Orchestra project, and the recent flurry of interest in the brave souls who decided to post their audition videos online.

One of them happens to be my friend, violinist Donovan Seidle. To watch Donovan's video, surf over to the YouTube Symphony audition site and then search for:


I won't tell you how to vote, since the blogosphere is a democratic place, after all. However, if you do happen to vote for Donovan, and he gets chosen for the orchestra, there's a chance he might let me post an infamous recording of a contrabassoon audition -- I start to crack up just thinking about it, and so it would be a great thrill to have it here.

For me, watching YouTube auditions is fascinating and at the same time frustrating. There is such a variety of musicians, pieces, and recording conditions, at first I wasn't sure how I would begin to judge them. It quickly becomes easy to eliminate people, however, either for poor intonation, or for flawed rhythm. Even in these finalist videos, most I watched had noticeable rhythmic problems -- dotted rhythms were swung, long notes were shortened, etc.

It seems as though these problems would be easy to fix. If I wanted to be a prick, I could message those people right now, point out the problems, and improve their audition chances immeasurably. If someone doesn't notice it themselves though, I wonder if anything I can say will help them much. Oh well.