From memory or not?

<p>Many of the top schools require all of the audition repertoire be played from memory. But where the solo Bach or the etude need not be from memory, does it hurt your audition to pull out the music?</p>

<p>Which instrument are you interested in?</p>

<p>For strings, piano, and voice, it would be very rare for anyone auditioning to ever use music at the audition (except, perhaps, for a very low-level program, but even there, I think it would be preferable to play from memory). </p>

<p>For wind instruments, I think that using music for orchestral excerpts is the norm (and no advantage would be gained by playing them from memory) and using music for etudes is not unheard of.</p>

<p>If a student playing solo Bach still needs the music, then I would suggest that they have not invested sufficient time to adequately learn the music at a high level (or that their memory skills are so weak that they should never consider a performance degree but would probably be fine for a music ed degree--this is not to suggest that a music ed degree is in any way a lesser degree, but just that it isn't preparing a person to perform and that teaching music doesn't require memorizing it). So, even if memory is not required for solo Bach, I would strongly recommend having it securely memorized.</p>

<p>The etude is a different matter: assuming that we are talking about an etude that would never be performed in public (e.g. Mazas, Kreutzer for violin or Czerny for piano etc.), then I think it would be fine to play with the music if the school allows that--I don't imagine that any of the auditioning panel would have their Kreutzer or Czerny memorized. On the other hand, if the "etude" is a Paganini Caprice for violin or a Chopin Etude for piano (both of which are commonly performed), then I would be inclined to memorize--these works have sufficient musical merit to justify spending the time necessary to memorize them.</p>

<p>If the auditioner suffers from nerves and memory issues, then playing from memory might hurt them more than using the music if they end up not playing their best due to memory anxieties.</p>

<p>The question is not for me or my son so I kept it general. I was hoping that you would respond Violindad as you have a knack for great answers. The reason why I asked the question is for the benefit of those who have passed prescreens and the others who are now facing audition day. I asked it because there are top programs that do allow for the option on some pieces, and I thought insight from those of you who have experience in these matters might help the players auditioning.</p>

<p>Even for "low end" programs, if your student has the solo memorized they should perform without the music. It can help with scholarships since it shows that you can memorize it. Son, music ed/performance major, at a state school played the solos from memory but did pull out the etude music but didn't use it. He had practiced everything so thoroughly they were all memorized. Plus if your student has performance anxiety having the pieces memorized can help reduce stress on auditon day especially if they accidently knock the music off the stand which has been known to happen.</p>

<p>I think your scholarship point is an excellent one, momofbassist.</p>