Each year the Irvine Unified School District and Irvine Public Schools Foundation are proud to feature hundreds of dedicated and hard-working musicians in the Donald Bren Honors Concert. This prestigious event highlights excellence in musicianship, teamwork, and community support for the arts through a selection of auditioned groups. 5th and 6th grade string students may audition to become a member of the Elementary Honor Chamber Strings and Elementary Honor Orchestra.
Over the years, many parents and students have asked how to best prepare for these auditions. Below please find a step-by-step explanation of the District process for auditions, as well as my requirements as the school music teacher.
Step 1: Receive Music & Practice
I will distribute audition music during class in late November. The audition music includes; one two or three octave scale (memorized) and two varying orchestral excerpts. There are two levels of violin music. Each school string specialist will determine what level is best for each violin student. There is one level of viola and cello audition music.
Students should begin to look over the music at home and decide if auditioning for the Elementary Honor Groups is a goal they would like to set. Many students first look at the music and think, “I will never be able to play this!” Please remember, the music is designed to be challenging. This audition music is for students who are looking to greatly improve their playing skills and desire challenge beyond their school orchestra. Like all learning, the audition music is learned one piece at a time. Students do not need to decide immediately if they want to audition. I encourage all students to take time and try the music at home.
Step 2: Audition Practice with Mrs. GK
I will hold Audition Practices beginning this week until the District Auditions in late January. In these practices, I will not only teach notes, rhythms, and tempos, we will discuss musical style, targeted techniques, and other audition tips. These practices are voluntary, however students are required to come to at least two audition practices with me if they would like to audition at the District Level. The Audition Practice Schedule will be set when the audition music is distributed in class.
Step 3: Pre-Audition with Mrs. GK
Each student must pass a pre-audition at school in order to receive a District Audition timeslot. Students will need to demonstrate a high level of performance and readiness. Exact pre-audition requirements will be provided to students who are interested in auditioning. Pre-Auditions are held before school and at lunch on three days. Students may sign up in advanced for a pre-audition day.
Please Note: It is an honor to represent your school at the District Auditions. Students are expected to play well and, more importantly, show the organization and maturity of leaders in the music classroom and at all Audition Practices. I reserve the right to not pass a student if they demonstrate poor behavior.
Step 4: Sign-up for the District Auditions
After passing the Pre-Audition, students will receive a District Audition Request Form with my signature. The Audition Request Form has detailed instructions about audition times and how to sign-up. Audition Practices at school still continue for any student looking for extra guidance.
Step 5: District Audition
While auditions may seem “scary” to some students, don’t worry! The teachers want you to feel comfortable and do your best. There are ten categories in scoring (most of these we work on in class every lesson!): instrument position, left hand position, bow hold, tone production, intonation, pitch, bowing, rhythm/tempo, musicality, and scale.
Each of these ten categories are worth 5 points, totally 50 points for a complete audition. Perfection is not the goal. It is extremely rare for a student to score a perfect “50”! Students are notified by mail if they are invited to be a member of the Honor Chamber Strings or Honor Orchestra. What is the difference between the two groups? The Honor Orchestra is comprised of Strings and Winds. The Honor Chamber Strings has only string players.