Junior Euphonium: Audition Solo 1B, Moderato
This solo consists primarily of two-measure phrases, so all of the breaths should be on the barlines between them. Random breaths in the middle of the phrases would make it sound like the player is running out of air. If you have the capacity, measures 5-8 may be played in one breath. A breath on the barline after measure 10 may be helpful in setting up the cantabile style of the next phrase. Make sure the pitches are connected in measures 11 and 12.
The remaining challenges of this study are all the details with dynamics and articulations. The advantage will go to those players that communicate them. Record yourself in practice to make sure that the four listed dynamic levels are heard clearly. There is wisdom in the advice “play the louds louder and the softs softer.” Also make sure the slurs, tenuto markings and accents can be heard. Sometimes we will think we are doing something, but when we listen to a recording we find it does not sound exactly right. In ending b, measure 25 make sure to play a dotted-eighth / sixteenth and not a triplet on count three. The judge will be listening to see if this rhythm contrasts properly with the triplets in measure 27.
Clinic Euphonium: Audition Solo 2B, Allegretto con anima
The tempo markings here deserve a special look. Adjusting from 92 to 72 can be challenging. Practicing with a metronome and feeling the speed of these contrasting tempos will be essential. The change of subdivision from triple in the 6/8 to duple at the 4/4 will also challenge many players. Again, the metronome in practice is essential. There are no problems with phrasing: the melody is in four-measure phrases and all of the breaths should be on the barlines between them. Random breaths in the middle of the phrases would make it sound like the player is running out of air.
Do not be surprised by the sound of measure 27. The sixteenth note C-sharp going to B-flat is the “harmonic” form of the minor scale. In measure 43 the accents and articulation markings mean the normal 6/8 grouping of six eighth notes into two groups of three is changed to three groups of two. Make sure the tempo stays steady. Practice with a metronome and make sure that downbeat of measure 44 lines up with the click.
Senior Euphonium: Audition Solo 3B, Andantino
This solo features a meter change from 4/4 to 6/8 with the metronome marking remaining the same. The important thing is not so much whether you choose to play the piece at 72, or whether you decide that a slightly different tempo might work better for you. Once you select a tempo, simply keep it the same with the time signature change. The shift to 6/8 is set up very nicely with the triplets in measure 5. These should sound exactly the same speed as the three eighth-note groupings starting in measure 9. In measures 5 and 6 make sure that the dotted-eighth sixteenth notes on beat three do not come off sounding like a triplet with the first two noted tied together. Make the long longer and the short shorter. Look carefully at the rhythmic shift in measures 13 and 14: the first half of measure 14 is different.
As with all auditions, the advantage goes to the players that observe all the details with dynamics and articulations. Record your practicing. Even the most experienced players sometimes think they are playing something the way they want, but the recording tells them it is not exactly right. Ending “b” has some very tricky rhythms, particularly in measure 33. Some players have trouble placing the first sixteenth note precisely on time, more often coming in slightly late. I would suggest that in practice you place an eighth-note F on the downbeat to clearly give the feel the beginning of the measure and how the next sixteenth-note fits after it. Once you are comfortable, replace the eighth rest and see if your rhythm feels more secure. If you are practicing with a metronome you can be fairly confident that you have it right if the C-sharp in measure 33 lands right on the click.
Download these performance notes [pdf].