How to Survive Auditions

It seems ironic to be writing this the week of my own audition, but maybe this time I’ll take my own advice. Every tryout has different music, judges, location, and scoring  process. But the most important difference is how well you prepared for the tryout.



Be sure you are practicing the right materials. You don’t want to show up to an audition and realize that you spent months practicing the Junior High material instead of the Senior High  material.

After you know you have the right material, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Don’t forget to use a METronome. I know they get annoying and that it gets frustrating, but the MET will be your best friend and keep you on track for the rest of your career as a  musician.


Make sure you know the time and address of your audition and be sure to be there not on time, but early. This is band: to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to be dead.

Make sure you don’t leave anything behind:

  • music
  • stand
  • headphones or earplugs
  • tuner and metronome
  • water
  • instrument

Leaving your instrument behind might seem impossible, but I promise it’s happened before. Don’t be that person… please.


Upon arriving at the location, find your tryout room, the practice room, the commons area, and the bathroom. Yes, the bathroom can be very crucial to the tryout process, especially if you suffer from nerves or need to escape the chaos of the practice rooms.

Performing well in an audition or tryout is a game and all you can do to get better is practice playing over and over again. The good players know how to make you nervous in hopes that you will mess up your etudes or scales. So be careful how you spend your time before your scheduled time, you don’t want to make yourself panic by paying too close of attention to the other musicians practice.


This is where the earplugs come in. Nothing is more intimidating than listening to people play the etude better than you can. The practice room is going to be full of all different kinds of people playing constant loud music. Some people will spend the entire time practicing, but that may not be the best idea for you. I find that the more time I spend practicing, the more nervous I get. Warming up with the posted scales and running through the cuts 2-5 times is enough to be warmed up and ready to perform well. DO NOT WEAR YOURSELF OUT.


If you’ve never tried out for anything before, you should know what kind of tryout you are walking into. There are two types of auditions: live and blind. Most of the tryouts I have been to have been blind. This means you will be performing your prepared pieces to a block sheet instead of a visible judge. This process ensures that there are no biased scores or placements.

In the audition room it is important to stay calm because if you make a mistake in there it will reflect on your score,  and no matter what, DO NOT TALK. If you talk, and the judges believe that it caused your judges to give you a bias score, your score could be eliminated, or you could have to tryout again.

When your judge or room monitor tells you to play a scale or etude, you are allowed to play one note before you begin. If you choose to do so, I advise playing the first note of the excerpt. TAKE YOUR TIME. Auditions normally run ahead of schedule because people begin playing the second the judge tells them to go. But you can take all the time you need. Before you play take a deep breath and pick a solid slow tempo. When I am nervous I tend to pick a faster tempo that will lead me to make more mistakes. Slow down and pick a comfortable tempo even if it isn’t the tempo marking on the piece.


Breathe. Relax. Don’t sit around waiting for a phone call or email, and don’t stand by the wall were results are being posted. Go have your fun.

But when results are posted remember that the biggest differences between auditions are the people your’e up against and the people judging you. You may get a really high score and get a low placement, or you could get a really low score and get first chair. Everything is situational and all you can do is work hard, learn the music, and perform.

Feel free to ask any questions about auditions or just let me know how yours went. I’d love to hear from you. Good Luck

Arkansas Winds 2017 Concert Schedule

Arkansas Winds

Arkansas Winds is a non-profit community concert band in Northwest Arkansas made up of volunteers. We perform throughout the year in our local communities bringing good music to the Northwest Arkansas area. Each of our performances is very unique and well put together by our director, Micheal Ferguson.

This year we will be performing 8 concerts including:






December 12, 2016


Krampus and Carols

Butterfield Trail Village

Fayetteville, AR


December 18, 2016


Krampus and Carols

Farmington Performing Arts Center

Farmington, AR


February 25, 2017


Myths and Legends

Farmington Performing Arts Center

Farmington, AR


April 29, 2017


Music of the Stage

featuring Carmen Sanders

Farmington Performing Arts Center

Farmington, AR


May 13, 2017


U of A Bumpers Commencement Pre Ceremony

Barnhill Arena

Fayetteville, AR


June 27, 2017


Red,White and Blooms

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Fayetteville, AR


July 4, 2017


Independence Day Celebration

Orchards Park

Bentonville, AR


July 10, 2017


U of A Music Camp

Fayetteville High School Performing Arts Center

Fayetteville, AR

Please feel free to visit our website here. To keep up with us and our upcoming  community band events and concerts send an email to If you are interested in joining check out our website or come to a rehearsal. We rehearse Mondays from 7:00-9:00pm at Farmington Performing Arts Center. Hope to see you at a one of our concerts! Let me know if your coming!


International Clarinet Festival 2016

Imagine walking through a 3 story maze of a school; hearing clarinet doodles from every direction. Each hall giving way to rooms filled with nothing but clarinets, music, reeds, and all things clarinet. That is exactly what the 2016 Clarinet Festival in Lawrence, Kansas felt like. The Festival, hosted by The International Clarinet Association(ICA) this last August. 5 days filled with competitions, concerts from international musicians, and lots, and lots of clarinet venders. The amount of clarinets I’ve seen in my life more than doubled. For a High School Clarinet Major pursuing a career as a musician, this was heaven. Clarinet Festival

At The Clarinet Festival

 I heard about Clarinet Festival from my private lessons teacher, Professor Nophachai. He knew I was looking to buy a new clarinet to take to college with me when I graduated and this seemed the perfect opportunity for me to see a wide range of instruments, decide which ones I liked and disliked, and get the best deal possible. I have been playing on my Buffet E11 for years now. It was an amazing instrument to start on, but I was ready to take the next step. After all you can only ever be as good as your equipment can allow. I originally went to Clarinetfest thinking I would come home with a brand new Buffet R13. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because the clarinet fest landed on a school week I could not participate Wednesday through Friday, but Professor Nophachai took the time to test and pick a few of his favorites for me to check out when I came down on Saturday.

Throughout my one day at Clarinetfest, I learned so much about clarinet. I had never been asked to describe how it felt to actually play a clarinet, how I liked the sound or the feel, or to compare it to that of another clarinet. But I quickly learned what I liked and didn’t like. Resistance quickly became the word of the day. I tried many different Buffet Clarinets including multiple R13’s, Festivals, and RC’s all while getting some minor free repairs done on my E11. After switching back and forth between so many clarinets, they all seemed to run together and feel about the same. Deciding which sounded the darkest or brightest became a challenge. That when my lessons teacher brought me to to RZ Woodwind Manufacturers vender. I was very skeptical at first, because I had never heard of RZ Woodwind Manufacturing before. RZ Woodwind Manufacturing is a company that makes handcrafted Czech instruments. At the RZ booth, Nophachai introduced me to the cofounder of the company and principal clarinet player of the Czech Republic, Milan Rericha. Milan had performed a recital earlier during the festival that I had missed so he picked up one of the clarinets and just started playing for me. I had never seen someone pick up a clarinet and just start playing a long and complicated clarinet solo. He made it look so easy.

Clarinet Festival


After trying the new RZ Bohem, the decision of which clarinet I’d go home with became easy. Milan got me all set up with my new clarinet, 3 barrels, a new BAM case, a silk triangle swab, and an autographed copy of his new album. After visiting all of the vendors including Pereira 3D printing, Clarineat Podcast, and all of the reed companies. Towards the end of the day I went to the Silverstein Works  concert including Milan Rericha, Rocco Parisi, Steve Silverstein, Raphael Sanders, Jiung Yoon, and many other Silverstein artists. It was an amazing concert with so many talented musicians. I had never seen a concert done with only clarinets and clarinet repertoire. I took the liberty of taking videos of parts of the concerts so that I could share them with you all. Check them out on the Videos page. 

Overall Clarinetfest was a blast. I met so many new people and got a ton of free stuff! Free , CD’s, music, water bottles, and lots and lots of free reeds. But most of all I got to listen to amazing clarinetists from all over the world. I am looking forward to going to the 2017 Clarinet Festival in Orlando, Florida this summer.