Audition Dos and Don’ts!


The following list of audition faux pas (blunders) is taken from actual auditions.  We share these with you because we want you to learn how to be successful in an audition.  We realize auditioning can be very difficult, but it is a skill, and you can improve your auditioning skills!  We hope this will be your best audition ever.  And if you’re college bound or auditioning for a school or honors group, the following list still applies.  Good luck!


  • Greet us by our names.  

  • Find out your private music teacher’s name and how to pronounce it.  “I don’t know” is not a good answer!  Also, use their full name or their title and last name.  For example: Mrs. Sanchez or Bill Benson.  Never refer to your teacher by their 1st name only.  

  • Learn the name of the piece you are playing and pronounce it properly.  When we ask, “What piece will you be playing?”  we do not want to hear “I don’t know, I always forget,”  “I don’t know, I forget the dudes name,” “I don’t know how to pronounce it,”  “This one, (student waves it around), or ”I have no idea.”  Learn it!  No excuses!

  • Like the piece you’re playing, learn the name of the scale you will be playing.  When we ask “What scale will you be playing?” we don’t want responses such as “This one,” (student gives us a music paper to see), or “G, I guess”.  Don’t guess, know!  Also, when you tell us the scale you will be playing, don’t use the word “just”.  It’s not “just a G scale,” it’s a G scale.  Don’t diminish what you are playing. 

  • Learn the definition of excerpt!  When we ask for the excerpt we don’t want a scale or your solo. 

  • If you make a mistake, keep going.  Don’t keep asking to start over.  Don’t make excuses about sweaty hands, just do your best.  Also, try not to make faces or body language that show disgust in your playing.  It’s usually better than you think!

  • Do know what is required at the audition.  Don’t tell us how you “didn’t know”.  Read the web site and follow instructions!  You look silly when you say you didn’t know you had to play an excerpt when 200 students before you knew. 

  • Follow directions in the music.  When it says to play the top note, do not play double stops.  Do not change bowings. 

  • Arrive early and do warm up in the warm up room.  Do not warm up in the audition room. 

  • Never tell us you just started your solo piece 2 days earlier.  Always come well prepared.  A piece you’ve only played for 2 days will never sound good.   

  • Dress appropriately.  Look like you care about where you are.  Sweat pants and torn tee shirts do not show that you care about your audition.  Dress modestly and comfortably, and show that you care with a collared shirt or dress.

  • These are just a few tips to help you have a successful audition.  Remember, the more prepared you are, the more comfortable you will feel and that will come across in your next audition!

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Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras

PO Box 4502

Thousand Oaks, CA 91359



© 2017 by Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras