A doctoral dissertation by tubist Golden Lund from the University of Nebraska takes a look at one of the biggest challenges facing any perspective orchestral player – audition preparation.
In his document, he examines how different (successful) teachers prepare their students for auditions – looking for similarities and differences that may account for their success rate. The three teachers he interviews are Daniel Parentoni, tuba professor at Indiana University, Warren Deck, a former member of the New York Philharmonic and Julliard, and Mike Roylance, tubist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and teacher at the New England Conservatory, Boston University, and Yale. As Golden mentions in his document, these three teachers cover a large portion of the successful orchestral tuba auditions from the 1980s through today.
Each section (Intrapersonal Competency, Musical Competency, and Pedagogical Competency) consists of several questions that Lund asks each tubist. Here is a small sampling of some of the questions:
A. How much of the success of your students do you believe has to do with them already being great players when they come to you, and how much do you believe has to do with your teaching methods?
How do you balance the development of craft and artistry in audition preparation? Are these elements equally important to demonstrate at auditions?
How does your lesson structure change as an audition gets closer?
What is your philosophy on preparing the student mentally?
There are also some questions that are more specific to tuba, but lots of them focus on ideas and techniques that are easily adaptable to any instrument.
As someone who both teaches and takes auditions, it was very interesting by the similarity and variety of the responses. Often many teachers are tackling the same problem in different ways or provide a variety of approaches to a problem that they may take, depending upon the particular student and their needs or personality.
If you’re in the audition circuit currently or preparing to be soon (whether or not you’re a tubist) then check out the dissertation here and make sure to post any thoughts in the comments below!