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Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Greentubaguy » Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:23 pm

I have an audition this following week and I am required to play three scales of my choice, either 2 octaves or 3 octaves. Which scales do you guys think would impress the judges the most? F#? E?
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby jon112780 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:28 pm

Play the ones that sound the best. The judge will definately be a musician, but not necessarily a tuba player. He/she might not know (or care) what horn you have, or if you're playing behind a screen.

Play the ones that sound the best. Oh yeah, keeping a steady tempo and playing musically is just as important as getting the right notes.
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Bob1062 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:36 pm

Do 3 octaves in Z probable.
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby tubashaman2 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:48 pm

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Last edited by tubashaman2 on Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby The Jackson » Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:56 pm

If you aren't playing anything else that really shows your playing range, do a 3 octave scale that you can play well. E? Eb?
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Rick Denney » Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:53 pm

Play the three you know you can play most musically, which means with exceptional tone, perfect intonation, and precise time. Don't play the portions of your range that you cannot play with absolute security and great tone.

I would find it far easier to play the F scale in three octaves, but I don't think doing so would meet the requirement above, at least on a Bb tuba. The Bb scale would require complete security in the usually troublesome stretch just above the pedal.

I suspect you'll make a better impression playing Bb, Eb and F (the three easiest scales for me) with complete musicality and accuracy, compared to the next guy who plays scales in many sharps just because he knows which buttons to push.

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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby WoodSheddin » Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:28 pm

Doesn't really matter which scale as long as it sounds great. If you have the choice then choose the simplest ones which you sound best on. Sounding uncomfortable trying to play E major will not be nearly as impressive as playing Bb flawlessly.

The judges will be listening for sound, pitch, and absolute control of the instrument on the scales and not whether you got a particular fingering pattern nailed or not.

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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Greg » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:04 am

WoodSheddin wrote:Doesn't really matter which scale as long as it sounds great. If you have the choice then choose the simplest ones which you sound best on. Sounding uncomfortable trying to play E major will not be nearly as impressive as playing Bb flawlessly.

The judges will be listening for sound, pitch, and absolute control of the instrument on the scales and not whether you got a particular fingering pattern nailed or not.

Choose the most failproof.

Great advice. Second that.
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby imperialbari » Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:37 am

If you have a favourite 2-octave range, say F an octave below the staff through F in the staff on a BBb tuba, and if the rules permit doing so, you may play F major, one of the F minor keys, and F mixolydian.

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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby the elephant » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:28 pm

Blues Scales. Chicks dig 'em. Unless said chicks play the saxophone. Then play several in Dorian mode. Or you could go with pentatonic. But mostly weird chicks dig them

But if the panel is a bunch of guys then perform your three best sounding majors.

No one wants to sit around all day listening to a bunch of kids try to hack through scales they are not adequately prepared to perform. Since this is precisely what usually happens and these are to be *your choice* then go for what makes you sound the best. Good luck.
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Todd S. Malicoate » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:37 pm

the elephant wrote:No one wants to sit around all day listening to a bunch of kids try to hack through scales they are not adequately prepared to perform. Since this is precisely what usually happens and these are to be *your choice* then go for what makes you sound the best. Good luck.

Wade is exactly correct. It is a trick question, designed to trip up the more egotistical players. Play three simple scales, and play them flawlessly with as good as sound across the entire range as you can manage.

The judges could care less about your ability to play in foreign keys...they want to judge your sound from the lowest range to the highest. Simple and effective. Also, try to keep a consistent tempo throughout the scale, particularly if you choose to play three octaves. Don't be one of those players who struggles slowly in the lowest octave then speeds up in the higher octaves. Even quarter notes all the way, baby!

Don't "forget" to practice these exactly as you'll perform them at the audition - they're not as simple as they sound to do extremely well. Record yourself and pay careful attention to intonation and consistency of timbre from low to high to low. If you take the time to truly prepare these scales as you would any other piece of music, you have a chance to distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd. Good luck!
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Roger Lewis » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:27 am

I echo the replies for "ALL of them". What would better show your capabilities than to walk in and tell the judge to "pick three" and be able to nail them.

I go back to my theory that, Music is a language. Claiming to be a musician and not knowing ALL your scales is like saying "I speak Spannish, I just don't know any of the words". It just doesn't add up.

In any case, I wish you the best in your endeavors.

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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Mike Finn » Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:56 am

I don't really think judges will be impressed by the correct playing of scales, any more than I am impressed by a basketball player who makes a free throw or a first baseman who catches a ball thrown to him. It is possible, however, that they will be depressed when someone fails to play their scales correctly (or misses a free throw or drops the ball)... See what I'm getting at? Your scales (especially if you choose them yourself) are a "gimme". You don't get points for playing them right, you lose points for playing them wrong.
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So, choose the three that you play best (tone, intonation, time, articulation and tessitura) and really nail them. If you do impress the judges, it will be because of how you play your scales, not which ones you play.
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Roger Lewis » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:22 am

Great point, Mike.

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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby cjk » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:50 am

Greentubaguy wrote:I have an audition this following week and I am required to play three scales of my choice, either 2 octaves or 3 octaves. Which scales do you guys think would impress the judges the most? F#? E?



Guess:

"Greentubaguy" is either a quite young man and/or is auditioning for a community/educational/honor band thing of some sort. In other words, the audition is not at a super high level.

Whatever he is auditioning for is something that he can feasibly participate in, being a green tuba guy.

The safest thing to assume with the small amount of information at hand is that the judges will be expecting major scales. If the judges are not music educated (and in a community setting, this is very possible), playing anything but major scales might be considered scales with some wrong notes or just wrong.

I would play three major scales in three octaves. Personally, the limits of my upper range would determine what I would play. I would play something like E-flat major, E major, and F major, ie, two very "normal" band keys (a few flats) and one sharp key so that you show the judges you know what one is.

I would also play all three scales in the same number of octaves. If I were playing a 3 valve BBb tuba, the lowest note you'll have is a low E, so you might be able to do E, F, and Gb if you've got a solid Gb above the staff. If you don't have the Gb, I would do them all in two octaves.


Just my opinion,

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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Matt G » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:07 pm

Bb, Eb, F.

Two octaves.

Perfect pitch. Perfect time. Good sound.

Having had the "pleasure" of adjudicating players on "honor" band auditions, I would implore you to make the scales perfect. You need to practice them daily with a metronome and tuner, to make sure they are accurate. You need to record yourself to make sure that the sound is focused and not strained.

As mentioned above, scales are how the weak players are weeded out. When you hear students stumble through Bb or F, the audition is pretty much over. Knowing that they played Gb perfectly is nice, but no real brownie points are given. In fact, if the student pulled off tough scales just fine and hacked trough the lyrical and/or technical etude, they got the "How long did you spend on preparing the etude material?" question. I really was not concerned about the answer, but was rather trying to make a point that they need to manage their practice time better.

When given the option, I always had my students play easy scales, mainly because it took some pressure off mentally. They knew them all, just like every pro knows them all, but realistically there are "home" keys on every tuba. On a BBb contrabass, Bb, Eb, and F are the primary "home" keys, IMHO.

If you want to play *one* scale three octaves, that's fine, and F is a good one for that. However, again, the judges have an idea of what the tuba player really needs to be capable of in the setting they are auditioning for. As a judge, the high register (above Bb above the staff) really meant nothing in those auditions. The music being played by the applicants usually didn't require a stellar upper register. Even if the OP is auditioning for a regular concert band, consider the type of literature he will be playing. My guess is the standard stuff, of which Bb in two octaves and F in three would cover 99% of the notes needed.

Players that always got the "top" spots in auditioned honors bands were the ones who could hold their sound together under pressure. A good, refined sound wins the top chair every time. Consider this: What "role" does the tuba play in most band/orchestra settings? Then consider: What type of player is best for that "role". Is it the guy (#1) with fast fingers but a thin tone? Is it the guy (#2) with 4 octaves of F but bad rhythm? Is it the guy (#3) with a solid money register and good rhythm? Sure, they might all have potential, but the person I would seat at that moment would be the one who can be the bass voice of the group reliably. Guy #3 wins a lot. It confuses players with a 4 octave Bb scale why the guy with a 2 octave F scale beat them out, but when their sound gets lost in his, they usually come around.
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Rick Denney » Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:52 pm

cjk wrote:"Greentubaguy" is either a quite young man and/or is auditioning for a community/educational/honor band thing of some sort. In other words, the audition is not at a super high level....

I would play three major scales in three octaves.


Maybe my own limitations are confounding my perception, but why make the point that Greentubaguy is green and then suggest three-octave scales? How many really young players can play beautifully for three octaves? Especially when those three scales are themselves spread over half an octave? I don't have a 3-1/2 octave range now that I'd be interested in playing in public.

When I was in the 9th grade, we had a seating audition in the band at my junior high school. We were require to play five major scales (concert Bb, Eb, F, C, and Db) over a single octave, and then play a chromatic scale over our whole range. Everybody played for everybody else. 80% of the band started their chromatic scale half an octave below their lowest good note, and ended it half an octave above it. The effect was:

phaaaaaaaaart, phaaaaaaaaaaart, phaaaaaaaaaaaart, inhale, phaaaaaaart, phart, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, frack ,frack, fract, crack, crack, splat, and then back down again. There was not one student in the class who had a good-sounding range more than two octaves, even playing chromatically.

It did serve to demonstrate two points: 1.) the director was indeed able to determine the range of the player, and 2.) that evaluation did not correspond to the student's understanding of same.

We had a guy in that band who was prodigy on saxophone, who even then was playing pro gigs (yes, at age 14). He didn't start any lower or go any higher than anyone else, but played his chromatic scale in time with good tone. Hearing him do that, I trimmed off those half dozen poor notes, and attempted a narrower range than my section mates but played those notes better.

I had also memorized the fingering patterns for the scales by watching the trumpet players, but that's another story.

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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby cjk » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:44 pm

Rick Denney wrote:
cjk wrote:"Greentubaguy" is either a quite young man and/or is auditioning for a community/educational/honor band thing of some sort. In other words, the audition is not at a super high level....

I would play three major scales in three octaves.


Maybe my own limitations are confounding my perception, but why make the point that Greentubaguy is green and then suggest three-octave scales? How many really young players can play beautifully for three octaves? Especially when those three scales are themselves spread over half an octave? I don't have a 3-1/2 octave range now that I'd be interested in playing in public.



I dunno. I suppose "how green" is the question. Couldn't everybody play an F above the staff when they were a teenager? I had a fairly reliable "g".
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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby pgym » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:31 pm

cjk wrote:Couldn't everybody play an F above the staff when they were a teenager? I had a fairly reliable "g".


A lot of teenagers THINK they can, and a lot of former teenagers THOUGHT they could. The truth is (was), above the staff, most of them sound(ed) like a constipated moose in heat. :tuba:

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Re: Which scales will impress the judges?

Postby Mike Finn » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:46 pm

cjk wrote:Couldn't everybody play an F above the staff when they were a teenager?


I was the only tuba player at my small, rural PA school. No one told me I was supposed to play anything above the staff, I certainly nver saw anything above the staff. I was pretty pleased when I worked my way up to the top of the staff Bb for "Judas Macabeus" and "Air and Bouree." But high F? I'll borrow my favorite descriptor from Roger Lewis and admit that I would've sounded like "a blue jay farting in an empty silo".
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