Junior Flute: Audition Solo 1A, Allegro con spirito
This etude provides some interesting and fun challenges to work on! Let's take a look at some important things about this piece. First, it is in ABA'form. That means that the music you hear at the beginning (we'll call that the A section) comes back at the end (m. 23). The middle section, the B section, is different in one major way that I talk about below. The A' section (pickup to m. 23-end) is very similar to the music at the beginning.
The A Section (m. 1-14)
- This part of the etude is in the key of C minor. Although the key signature has three flats, which might lead you to think of E-flat major, you will notice that this music has a different sound. It will be helpful to get the sound of the key in your ear before you start practicing the etude by playing the C minor scale. The notes are: C D E-flat F G A-flat B-flat (or B natural – you can practice it both ways) C
The A' Section (pickup to m. 23-end)
- This part of the etude is also in C Minor. We call it A' ("A prime") instead of just A, because the music is very similar (in fact, m. 1 and m. 23 are the same) but not exactly the same for the entire section.
- Try practicing the A section and then the A' section (skip the B section for now).
The B Section (pickup to m. 15-m. 22)
- Notice the key change at m. 15. You are now no longer in C Minor (3 flats) but have changed to C Major! Practice your C major scale along with the C minor scale so you are sure you can hear the difference between minor and major (this will help you be able to tell if you are playing the right notes).
Now let’s take a look at the phrases in this etude. As you know, phrases are musical sentences. They tell us which notes should be grouped together in a musical thought. Here are the phrases in this etude:
- Phrase 1: mm. 1-4
- Phrase 2: mm. 5-8
- Phrase 3: mm. 9-14
- Phrase 4: mm. 14 (beat 4 pickup)-mm. 18
- Phrase 5: mm. 18 (beat 4 pickup)-mm. 22
- Phrase 6: mm. 22 (beat 4 pickup)-end
Mark these phrases in your music so that you can remember where they are. Practice each phrase separately; that is, don't just play through the entire etude when you are learning it. Practice phrase by phrase and think about these questions:
- Are you playing the right notes, including accidentals?
- Are you in the right key?
- Are your rhythms correct?
- Are you following the dynamics written in the music by the composer?
- Are there other markings you should follow like accents and mood words (dolce, cantabile)?
- You will notice that this piece has a lot of B-flats but it also has a lot of B-naturals! I suggest using the B-flat thumb key (long thumb key) and sliding over when you need to play B-naturals, but you can also use the 1+1 B-flat fingering if your band director prefers that you do that. Whichever fingering you use, make sure you're aware of which Bs are B-flats and which are not!
- Breathing: Many times in this etude there are rests that allow you to get a good breath. Make good use of that time to take in lots of air – this will help you get more air into the instrument and have a bigger, fatter sound!
Here are the places you should breathe:
- End of m. 1 if necessary
- End of m. 2
- End of m. 3 if necessary
- End of m. 4 in rest
- End of m. 6 in rest
- End of m. 8 in rest
- First beat of m. 11 in rest
- First beat of m. 12 in rest
- First beat of m. 13 in rest
- Beat 3 (rest) of m. 14
- After beat 3 in m. 16
- Beat three of m. 18 in rest
- In eighth rest in m. 19
- In eighth rest in m. 20
- Beat 3 of m. 22
- End of m. 23 (or m. 28) in rest
- End of m. 24 (or m. 29) in rest
- End of m. 25 (or m. 30) in rest
Get a pencil and mark these breaths in your music to remind yourself!
- Now it is time to think about the mood you want to create when playing this etude. The tempo marking at the beginning ( Allegro con spirito) translates from the Italian to mean, "fast and lively with spirit". Think of a mental image that is fast, lively and spirited. Maybe you imagine someone dancing, or maybe the music reminds you of a color like red, yellow or orange. The important thing is to use your imagination to make the music come alive.
- In bar 5, the composer gives you another mood word: cantabile, which means "in a singing style". You’ll notice that from this point in m. 5 to about m. 18, there are lots of slurs in the music, which means that the notes will be connected and smooth. Think of a mental image that reflects this change from the staccato notes in the first phrase.
- In bar 15, you’ll see the word dolce which means "sweetly". You can make the music sound sweet by keeping the notes very connected and changing your tone color.
Clinic Flute: Audition Solo 2A, Allegretto con brio
This etude is in ABA' form, meaning that the music at the beginning comes back at the end. The music in the middle is different (the tempo changes and the melody is different).
- A section: mm. 1-17
- B section: mm. 18-34
- A' section: mm. 35-end
Practice the A section and A' sections together, then go back and practice the B section. At the end of your practice session, play through the entire piece.
It is important to keep the phrasing (musical sentences) intact throughout the etude. Most of the phrases are four bars long, but there are some exceptions.
- Phrase 1: mm. 1-4
- Phrase 2: mm. 5-8
- Phrase 3: mm. 9-13
- Phrase 4: mm. 14-17
- Phrase 5: mm. 18-21
- Phrase 6: mm. 22-25
- Phrase 7: mm. 26-29
- Phrase 8: mm. 30-34
- Phrase 9: mm. 35-38
- Phrase 10: mm. 39-42
- Phrase 11: mm. 43-46
- Phrase 12: mm. 47-end
- Phrase 10: mm. 39-52
- Phrase 11: mm. 53-end
Mark these phrases in your music so you know where to breathe (almost always at the end of the phrase) and how to group the notes.
- Use the second trill key for the c-d trill at the beginning and at mm. 9 and 35.
- Find the patterns in the music. There are several arpeggios used. Since you probably practice arpeggios when you play scales, it will make these passages easier if you recognize what they are rather than reading each note individually.
- Mm. 7-9: notes of the C major arpeggio
- M. 10: A-flat major arpeggio
- M. 11: C major arpeggio
- M. 12: A-flat major arpeggio
- Mm. 18-19: a minor arpeggio
- Mm. 25-28: a minor arpeggio
- M. 30: B-flat major arpeggio
- M. 31: A-flat major arpeggio
- M. 32: E major arpeggio
- M. 41: C major arpeggio
- M. 47: A-flat major arpeggio
- M. 48: C major arpeggio
- M. 51: C major arpeggio
- M. 55: A-flat major arpeggio
- M. 56: C major arpeggio
- There are a lot of BIG leaps in this etude (for example, in m. 14). To make these leaps sound good, remember that your air speed has to increase to go from the low register to the upper register AND the aperture has to get smaller. To go from high register to low register, the air slows down a little bit and the aperture gets larger.
- The sign you see at m. 33 is called a mordent. It is a type of trill, but you should only go alternate notes one time. Play E-F-E quickly at the beginning of the downbeat and then hold the E for the remainder of the dotted quarter note. Use the E-F trill fingering for this: finger E and lift the second finger of the left hand for F, then return to E.
- This etude is a waltz; it has three beats per measure, with the downbeat being much heavier than the other two beats. When it is up to tempo, you should be able to feel it in one big beat per measure. To get the feeling of the waltz, dance around the room – count in a fast three, but make sure that your whole foot goes down on count one. On counts 2 and 3, stay on your tip-toes. This will help you get the feeling of the heavier downbeat and lighter beats 2 and 3.
- The B section, mm. 18-34, is quite a bit slower. The mood marking also changes. At the beginning, it is Allegretto con brio – moderately quick with brilliance. At the B section, it is Moderato, sempre dolce – moderate and always sweet. Make sure you reflect the difference between brilliant and sweet in your tone color.
Senior Flute: Audition Solo 3A, Andante cantabile
- Start learning this piece without the flute. Make sure you know where each eighth note falls in the music. It can be helpful to mark big vertical slashes through the first and third eighth notes of each bar (big beats 1 and 2) and smaller slashes through the second and fourth eighth notes of each bar (off-beats). The rhythm of this excerpt is intricate and you will save a lot of practice time if you take a look at it before you pick up your instrument.
- Start practicing under the marked tempo of quarter=76 with your metronome beating each eighth note. A good place to start is eighth = 100 (same as quarter = 50).
- Suggested places to breathe:
- After beat two in m. 2
- At the end of m. 4
- At the end of m. 6
- At the end of m. 9
- At the end of m. 11
- M. 15 – turn the tied A on the downbeat into a rest and breathe there
- M. 17 after the high E
- M. 21 after the high A
- M. 24 in one of the eighth rests (don't breathe in both rests because it will likely cause you to lose time)
- M. 26 see previous comment (letter i)
- M. 27 on beat 3
- M. 28 at the end of the bar
- M. 30 in the 16th rest
- M. 33 at the end of the bar
- M. 35 in one of the eighth rests
- Isolate the big leaps and practice them separately. For example, in m. 10, practice going from the low D on the downbeat to the next note (A) –practice those two notes only. The air speed should be increase on the lower note in order to make the big leap. The airstream also gets directed higher and the aperture becomes smaller for the higher notes.
- It is helpful to look for patterns that you know, like scales and arpeggios, in the music. For instance: the sextuplets in m. 15 are a chromatic scale. Knowing this can make it easier to play. In m. 20, the first four 16ths are an A major arpeggio and the second four 16ths are a D major arpeggios. The sixteenth note triplets in m. 22 are also an A major arpeggio. If you practice these patterns (chromatic scale, arpeggios) before you start working on the etude everyday, these measures will be much easier when you reach them in context. See how many other patterns you can find in this etude.
I hope these guides have been helpful for you! Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. I will hold an All-State Prep Workshop at USC in Columbia on Dec. 12 where we will talk about these and other ways to prepare for the All-State Band Auditions. Email me for more information – I would love to see you there! Good luck and happy practicing!
Dr. Jennifer Parker-Harley
Associate Professor of Flute
USC School of Music
Download these performance notes [pdf].