I have a solo etude for 2 mallet marimba and I have to perform it tomorrow for an audition. Unfortunately I have not yet learnt a section of it. Would it be OK to skip the section and a way where it transitions very cleanly?

The section, if played, would be out of time: wrong notes everywhere, and with no flow at all. The rest of the piece is fine.

This is not too important an audition. I would still give it my all, but there was a series of unfortunate events preventing it from getting completed.

What can be the best thing that can be done now?


Tell them the situation. 'I didn't have time to prepare all of this. Would you like to hear the part I HAVE learned?' Spare them the sob story about your dog dying etc. They'll either say yes or no.

If you're auditioning for a chair in a band, part of the job is being able to play, part is being reliable in preparing for performances. However much you plead that this was a one-off and will never happen again, they won't believe you. Probably rightly.

But also, lighten up about the whole thing. This isn't officer selection for the Prussian Army with unsuccessful candidates handed a revolver and told to 'do the decent thing'. It's musicians who want to recruit other musicians. They WANT you to be good, not to knock you down.

  • Nobody on an audition committee is going to listen to candidates making excuses. – PiedPiper Jun 24 '19 at 13:32

There's nothing you can do at the last minute.
The whole point of an audition is so that the jury can hear how you play the piece they set. If you can't play all of it as written, then you are wasting your time and the jury's by going to the audition at all.
Somebody else will be prepared

  • Well, to be fair, if the OP is, for example, in a Junior High band and the director is auditioning everyone just for the experience, then the rules aren't that stringent. But certainly in any competition for chairs, failure to be prepared is audition failure. – Carl Witthoft Jun 24 '19 at 13:02
  • @CarlWitthoft If it's just for experience then it's not an audition. – PiedPiper Jun 24 '19 at 13:33
  • It's a practice-audition, and it's IMNSHO a good thing to do with kids. The first time you sit in a room, playing all by yourself, with one or more jurists, can be a scary experience. – Carl Witthoft Jun 24 '19 at 14:51

Well, compare the event to an event where you would play at a concert or recital. In that case you would skip that section and make the transition you suggested, wouldn't you? The result would be you make a great performance.

What else can you actually do apart from withdrawing from playing the piece?

Your question regarding whether it is OK to skip that section can only be answered by yourself, since you are the one knowing the conditions for the audition.

  • When I played solo (classical) piano music in recitals when I was young, I was always told to play the entire piece, and so I always did to the best of my ability. I never could clean out all the mistakes from any of my performance pieces--the remainder of the mistakes seemed to pop up in random places in the piece. – Dekkadeci Jun 23 '19 at 11:19
  • @Dekkadeci that makes sense, but I got the impression that PiedPiper's situation is much worse. A mistake here and there and/or some wrong notes don't matter if you keep the flow and the overall musical line. But if that is missing and it is also not a student recital but an audition then it starts getting quite a problem. – Lars Peter Schultz Jun 23 '19 at 14:12
  • @PiedPiper Sorry, it was of course Justin I meant. I guess I wrote the wrong name because I was writing from my smartphone and didn't have a full overview or something like that. I apologize. – Lars Peter Schultz Jun 23 '19 at 22:55

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