’The player with a solid grasp of the basics usually has more chance of getting a trial’ - insights and advice on auditions from the LPO double bassist
I’ve been at the London Philharmonic Orchestra since 2018. The audition process was not blind, so I just walked in to a hall where the whole panel greeted me. It was a very friendly and welcoming experience.
My trial consisted of two month-long patches, stretched out over a year and a half. I did eight auditions for other orchestras before getting my LPO job. Awkwardly, the only time I got asked to sight read a piece in an audition, I was given a bit of the 1812 Overture that I should have been able to muddle through. I was completely screwing it up, so I tactically made my bass ’slip’ on the floor in order to have another go at it. I don’t think the panel were impressed by my playing, or my dodgy scheme.
My top advice for auditioning musicians is to triage your practice in order to make sure you prioritise basics. I would always aim for correct notes, then rhythm, then intonation, then phrasing, then musicality. As much as I enjoy hearing auditions where the player is aiming for pure inspiration, the player with a solid grasp of the basics usually has more chance of getting a trial.
Oh, and always try and play with a nice sound!
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Watch: How to play The Marriage of Figaro on the double bass
My audition journey: Milan Milisavljević, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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