Back when I was a youngster (whoa…did I really just say that?) auditioning for a regional or all-state event was a much different process than it is today.
Auditions for IMEA (Indiana Music Educators Association) sponsored events, meant waiting for audition music to be distributed to the band directors and learning the music without any recorded reference materials. Fortunately for me, I had a private teacher to help, and I can remember having lessons specifically geared towards competition music or audition pieces.
Fast-forward to the 21st century and horn players can get their audition music online and on-demand.
Finding recordings of audition music can be as simple as pushing a button.
It is really that simple…
OR is that TOO much work for you young whipper-snappers? You and your high-falootin’ INTERNET and fancy-free TECHNOLOGY!!?
When I was your age we worked hard!!
AND WE LIKED IT!!! OH MY NO PLEASE HELP MY CAPS LOCK IS STUCK OH NO TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF PLEASE HELP MEEEEE…
But I digress…
For an enterprising horn student, YouTube is a treasure trove of recorded materials: solos, etudes and audition excerpts. Chances are that if you are working on an etude for an audition that it is recorded online somewhere.
What follows is a brief overview and is not meant to be a comprehensive list.
If you live in Oklahoma, Eldon Matlick will most likely have your audition materials covered on YouTube. In addition to providing live recordings of the materials, he offers helpful tips and performance suggestions.
If you live in Texas, Ryan Palmer is someone that you will want to get to know.
If you happen to watch one of his videos, you will also get a promotion of his Tuning Sleeve (which John has reviewed previously.)
For students in Louisiana, James Boldin will most likely have your materials covered. If your audition piece is Kopprasch, he will most likely have it online for you to listen to – no matter what state you are from.
Of course there are many other videos and channels to explore and these are only a few examples found offhand.
To close out this brief overview, we must absolutely point out the terrific work being done at one particular YouTube channel. With over 2,500 subscribers and 2 million video views, YouTube user Hornsolos has more-or-less cornered the market in videos of orchestral excerpts for French horn.
If orchestral excerpts are your focus, the Horn Solos channel should be one of your first stops. Each video focuses on a single excerpt and in many cases, several versions of a single excerpt are available to watch and compare.
With all these resources available as models to emulate and learn from, there is really no excuse left for a student to show up unprepared for an audition.
Of course for a determined, self-motivated student, showing up unprepared will never be an option.
That being said, the time and elbow grease required in the “old days” – of going to a library and researching recordings by hand – has been more-or-less rendered obsolete in the Digital Age.