Grace Notes: The importance of orchestral excerpts

Every year at Trinity Laban, we have an orchestral excerpt exam in January. At first I didn’t really see the point, if I ever had to play these pieces I’d learn them when I got my part before rehearsals and learning little bits of them seemed pointless.

However, in the last few years I’ve auditioned for orchestras and schemes and had to play excerpts. And every single time these excerpts were ones that I’ve had to learn for my module at Trinity. This has saved hours of stress and panic every time. Instead of spending ages listening to and researching the pieces, I can just go to my excerpt folder and I have them, pre-researched, learnt and ready to go!

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I’m currently in the process of auditioning for Masters Programmes, and for one of them I have to play excerpts. I’m so glad that I’ve had to learn them before, because if I was learning them all from scratch, along with the two main pieces I have to play as well, I don’t think I’d cope.

So my advice is, make sure you learn your excerpts well because you never know when you’ll need them!

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