Audition Advice

As I write this, aspiring music students anxiously prepare for university auditions. Meanwhile, faculty members hope that talented and teachable young musicians will arrive to join the ranks.

Here’s a little advice from the juror side of the table.

Relax! We’re on your side. We understand how nervous you are. We want you to play your best. Just be yourself, and concentrate on making music rather than trying to impress. Memorize. Plan to play your audition without music; however if allowed, bring the music in with you if it will make you feel less anxious.

Don’t warm up too much! Concentrate on tone, airflow, articulation and response, then put the horn down until it’s time for the audition.

Listen to your favorite music. Bring your iPod along and listen to music prior to your audition. The more music you have in your head, the more likely it is that music will come out of your horn.

Dress Comfortably. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable, but dress in a manner that indicates maturity, self-respect and a sense of personal style.

Don’t Fret Unduly. The difference between a “good” or “bad” audition is much greater to you than to us. As long as you prepare your material thoroughly and are not completely incapacitated by nerves, we’ll be able to hear how you play.

Finally, understand that getting into the program of your choice will not make you a musician. Conversely, not getting in will not prohibit you from being a musician. University is a few years out of a lifetime of study. If you don’t get into the program of your choice this year, go somewhere else or study independently, then reapply next year. The more you know when you arrive, the more you’ll get out of the program. In music as in life, those with determination and staying power are the ones who will succeed.

As Winston Churchill said: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Good luck!

About the Author

Chase Sanborn is a jazz trumpet player based in Canada and the author of “Brass Tactics,” “Jazz Tactics,” “Tuning Tactics” and “Music Business Tactics.” He teaches at the University of Toronto and is a Yamaha Artist. Chase has just released his fifth CD, titled “Double Double.” Visit him on the web at

About author

Chase Sanborn

Jazz trumpeter Chase Sanborn is a Yamaha Artist and an assistant professor of jazz at the University of Toronto. Chase is the author of a series of educational books and videos on playing music. His most recent is “The Brass Tactics 6/60 Routine”. Visit Chase on the web at Also visit

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