The Notebook

Let’s talk about the printed music that comes in the audition room with you. Just a few guidelines – no rocket science here, but you’d be surprised how many folks create stumbling blocks for themselves by ignoring this basic advice.

Music That Stays Open
If you bring actual scores (anthologies or piano/vocal scores), please be sure that they stay open easily. My library science friends cringe when I break the spines of my scores, but that’s one of the things they made us do in Piano School to toughen us up. If the book won’t stay open, the pianist can barely play, let alone collaborate with you on a higher musical/artistic level.

Hide & Seek
Regardless of whether you bring a book or a notebook, please mark all of the pages carefully – with easy-to-read and clearly marked tabs. If the panel asks for the Donizetti aria, you don’t want to have to retreat to the rack to thumb through the book for the pianist. You want to use those precious seconds to prepare yourself for the next aria.

Page Turns
All copied music should be double-sided.

Sheet Protectors
Generally, avoid sheet-protectors. Strictly, if they are non-reflective, they should work, and some pianists don’t mind them. But it’s always dicey to know which plastic is going to be reflective in which light situations.

Mark your cuts extremely carefully. There can be no ambiguity about where a cut begins or ends. Cover cut material with white paper. (Then don’t change your mind about wanting to sing what’s covered up.)

Please write in your cadenzas (or at least an approximation of how they end) so the pianist doesn’t have to guess about when to meet you at the finish line.

Don’t use a copy of the music that has every single note that you or your teacher has ever written in it. It’s hard to read past all of that stuff, and some of it is downright misleading.

Missing Music
At least once every season, someone offers an aria that’s not in his/her book. Or sings something that’s missing a page (usually the last page.) It sounds so basic, but it’s alarmingly easy to do. The notebook does a lot of work for you during the audition season, and it requires careful, thoughtful attention. It’s the most basic stuff that’ll get you every time.

Short and sweet today. We’ll talk about the pianist him/herself in week 5.

Tomorrow, another highly subjective discussion: audition attire.

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