The 3 Audition Archetypes

By Aralee Dorough

Read about the advantages and disadvantages of 3 audition mindsets or “archetypes.” Do you recognize yourself?

Strengthen all 3 at The Informed Flutist 2017! SCHEDULE

The Thinker 

The Thinker spends a great deal of time on research—the context of the flute part, the composer’s place in history and the traditions surrounding each piece. He or she makes a point of comparing different recordings, and can talk at length about their differences. The Thinker is inclined to apply the same forethought to all aspects of audition preparation, and thus can be an unbeatable player who is literally prepared for anything!

But Thinkers sometimes have a tendency to overthink. They have so many facts and caveats stored up that they have trouble deciding which are most important.  They  place undo importance on markings in the part—dynamics, metronome markings, or left-over pencil markings from someone else’s performance—rather than following their own musical sense. When it comes to playing at peak where it really counts, all the Thinker’s knowledge may not even come across!

The Athlete 

The Athlete is intent on getting results from the instrument. This flute jock eats arpeggios for breakfast, loves drilling technical passages and revels in the sheer resonance of the flute’s different registers. With great practice technique and a high level of accuracy, the Athlete is equipped to perform consistently  in round after round.

But being over-focused on the flute can create the possibility for musical gaffes, like playing too loudly for the situation or failing to delineate harmonically significant moments, which can indicate a lack of sensitivity and depth. These subtle mistakes pile up in later rounds or on the job, causing the player to be perceived as inflexible or just plain boring!

The Troubadour

The Troubadour plays from the heart, and gets to the essence of the music. When inspired, the Troubadour is on fire, winning everyone’s heart by sheer emotive beauty. The listener stops critiquing the separate elements of the performance and just enjoys as the music jumps off the page.  Troubadors sometimes surpass their own expectations. They often focus their very best at the audition because the pressure of the moment makes them respond with creativity and passion!

But if it’s just not his or her day, things can really go South quickly. Sloppy playing, silly, careless errors or rushing give the impression of a performance only half baked and rattle the player’s concentration, leading to half-hearted playing. Something unexpected, like being asked to sight-read or play an unlikely excerpt, can derail a Troubadour’s promising start into a disappointing outcome. “Too bad! What a pity!” says the committee, “that player started off so well.”

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