By Brian Worsdale

Honor Orchestra of America Coordinator Brian Worsdale shares his insights for your students on the process from audition to the final bow as a member of this national honors orchestra.

Deciding to audition for anything requires a great deal of confidence. Through encouragement from your teachers and your loved ones to yourself you make a decision to put yourself out there to be judged by others that you have what it takes to get accepted to something you have applied to. Musicians, athletes, and performers all have this process take place long before they even think about college applications. This process can be a lonely one at times so work on assuring yourself of not only your abilities but your desire to make this special.

When you decide to audition for the Honor Orchestra of America you are making the same decision as hundreds of students throughout the United States. To take part in something that brings you together with other musicians from across the country is a special event. Here are some thoughts about the entire process from audition to acceptance to your trip to Indianapolis and finally to the final bow.

The Audition

  • Give yourself time for the audition. Don’t try to squeeze it in between a plethora of other things. The mental preparation for an audition through the internet is just as important as any audition you travel to. Give yourself an hour before the audition to get yourself prepared.
  • Play to your strengths – Demonstrate reliable skills in the piece you choose.
  • When you play music in an honor ensemble like this, it is important that we know you have confidence in the work you selected. Don’t overreach.
  • When auditioning, be in a well-lit room with little to no reverb.
  • With or without an accompanist or recording, make sure the work you are performing is at a reasonable tempo to the work and that you give us as much music making as you can. (An on camera audition will sometimes not have the best audio so making sure you play with dynamic and rhythmic contrast is important).

The Acceptance
If you are accepted into the Music for All Honor Orchestra of America, that’s great! If you are not invited to take part this year, take heart you did something amazing by auditioning to begin with. We don’t all pass our driver’s test the first time around (it took me two times in high school) so ask for the feedback we are willing to offer and take our audition again.
This is where our participant relations team joins the conversation with you as a member of the Honor Orchestra of America. There will be lots of information thrown to you but remember that the experience is all about what you do to prepare and what will come as you get closer.

Practice, Practice, Practice
As a member of the Honor Orchestra of America, you are now part of an orchestra that will only experience their sounds together on the first day of rehearsal of a three-day rehearsal block. Having your music prepared is an important part of this process. Since practicing like this can be a solitary experience, do something special: Take the music to your teacher! They have endorsed you being a part of this awesome experience. Be sure to ask their advice as to preparing your music.

I have found myself on the road more and more these days and I try my best to remember that there are important aspects to travel that happen before hand.

  • Careful Packing – Be sure you have everything you need (participant relations helps with this)
  • Careful Health – Sleep well before your flight. Drink water before and during your flight. Flying can dehydrate you and I always take airborne or some other immunity booster before I travel (but ask your parents how this works for you).

The First Day
You will see that the schedule is jammed packed with rehearsals and we do all we can to give you time away from your instruments as much as possible. Know your limits and make sure you stay hydrated and healthy while on this special trip.

Meet People. During a meal, be sure to sit with someone you have never met and introduce yourself. Make new friends. Part of this experience is about making friendships that could last a lifetime.

The Performance
Be sure to enjoy every experience from the beginning to the end. Your conductor will take good care of you and the performance is JUST the beginning. You have taken a journey that few have traveled and it will be something you will have with you for years to come.


Remember to Have Fun!