I was wondering what the general thought is behind preparing symphonic pieces for an audition for band at a University. The pieces have already been chosen, so what I am considering is whether to somewhat strictly follow the sheet music given, or if I should take recordings into consideration (assuming they are credible).

For example, one of the pieces I'm preparing is Beethoven's 9th symphony on timpani. Throughout the piece, the tempo markings seem to be quite a bit higher than several credible recordings I have looked up. Or in certain places there are small breaks or pauses for lift that I could incorporate.

Would it be wise to go by the recordings? My apprehension is that the auditioneer might not have heard the same recordings as I, so he might mistake my "musicality" for not following the music correctly.

  • Ahdunno... Just ask them when you get there? I suppose you should be able to play it both ways, and be able to change it on the fly. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


In my experience performing in front of critical audiences, if you are able to convince them of your intent in a masterful way they will allow your interpretation and any personal variations to stand on its own merits.

Specifically speaking:

  1. Prepare the piece with attention to every detail on the page - correct notes, rhythms, articulations, dynamics, any other discrete or explicit information you have.
  2. Absorb interpretations (variations in style, tempo, nuance/exaggeration) of others and combine with your own ideas of how you wish to convey the piece.
  3. Rinse and repeat until you have the exact idea of the piece in your head and you follow that as you prepare to perform.

When I listen to auditions - I listen equally for both precision and coherency - not for a preordained version or interpretation.

Hope this helps and good luck!

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