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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceThe Business of Music(Moderator: BGuttman) Audition, win and don't take the job?
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yeodoug
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« on: Mar 14, 2012, 02:11PM »

Now and then a thread brings up this subject:

"If you take an audition, should you plan to accept the job if you win?"

I think the question is a fair one, and I find myself in agreement with my colleague across the pond, Chris Stearn, who recently wrote in another thread:

My personal codes mean that I would not apply for a job that I intended to turn down.  I think that would show a huge lack of respect for the people in the orchestra that I was applying to.

Others disagree.

I would propose this: I think you might feel differently about taking an audition and turning it down if you knew all along you would turn it down if you start serving on audition committees and you find the candidate you selected as the winner has turned you down and simply used your audition as a bargaining chip as his current job.

Everyone has their own reasons to take auditions.  Fundamentally people take auditions to win the position and take take the job.  That is, after all, what the enterprise has at its heart. 

Candidates who apply to take auditions have a vast number of resources available to them to get information about a job before they take the audition.  Orchestra contracts are available online (if you're a member of the Musician's Union or ICSOM or know someone who is), wage scales are matters of public record, etc. You can find out a lot about a job before you consider taking it.  Don't like what you hear or see?  Don't take the audition.

What I have a problem with is the person who takes an audition and knows before he takes it that he will not take the position.  For that person, the point of taking the audition is either to satisfy his ego, or to use winning the audition as a bargaining chip in his current situation.  Win an audition, get a raise at your current position, decline the new position.

I have seen this happen and I find it unconscionable.  What a person who does that is not taking into account is what that decision has done to the orchestra for which he has just auditioned.  A little insight from my own personal experience...

The Boston Symphony has only five opportunities in any given season to hold an audition for an open position.  Why?  The audition committee is made up of 11 Players from the orchestra.  We don't have auditions on vacation weeks, or during the Boston Pops season (when many players take weeks off without pay) or during our summer season at Tanglewood (since we don't have a facility for an indoor audition).  That cuts down the available times considerably.  Then three days need to be found when the audition committee will be available to hear auditions - a day to hear the CD round, a day for the preliminary round, and a day for the semi-final and final rounds.  A schedule needs to be devised with particular deadlines - deadlines for submission of the advertisement to the "International Musician Newspaper," a deadline to receive resumes, a deadline to inform candidates.  All of this doesn't just happen - it's the product of excruciating planning by the Personnel Office.

Then the section involved works to create the list.  It's not a 20 minute job.  It takes weeks of planning and thinking, of trying to figure out how to craft a list that gives you the tools you need to make up individual round to identify players you want to advance.  In the BSO trombone section, we don't just throw up the BSO part to "Ein Heldenleben" on the stand for candidates to play off of.  That part is full of over 100 years of markings.  So a member of the section copies the part and carefully removes all markings, creating a totally clean part that would not be distracting to candidates.  This takes time.  As does duplicating those parts into packets for all members of the audition committee.

Players give up three free days to serve on the audition committee.  While in the BSO committee members are paid a small stipend, I think most would much rather have the day off than some extra cash in the check.  Days off are precious things.  We're not doing this for the money - we're doing it to improve our orchestra.  A noble quest.

Then the members of the section spend time working together playing the section round materials.  This takes time.

On audition day, every member of the committee is hoping/praying that a winner is identified because they don't want to go through this all over again.

"But," you might say, "what's the big deal?"

Think about it.  What is the greatest negative thing to a section of a winner is chosen and he then declines the position?  You have to do it all over again.  Not next month.  And maybe not even next year if all of the auditions for that year are already scheduled. 

And what does that mean?  A year of substitutes.  Nice for the subs who get the work, but very frustrating for the section that was hoping to start the process of building their section anew. 

"But why not just offer the job to the runner up?"

It's not that easy.

If CANDIDATE A plays great, the committee hears all other candidates through the lens of hearing him play.  So CANDIDATE B might be a really fine player, but compared to CANDIDATE A, he isn't as impressive.  But if CANDIDATE B played without CANDIDATE A there, he might sound better.  Most auditions don't have runners up.  Most successful auditions are won by a person to takes over the audition and is clearly the winner.  The best audition is the one that has a unanimous winner.  Some orchestra contracts don't allow for the naming of a runner up that would then be appointed to the position if the winner declines.  It's just not that simple.

There was a cost.  When a player declines the position, hundreds of man-hours are lost.  Thousands of dollars are lost.  And an orchestra finds itself unable to make their section whole for at least another year.

Having served on audition committees where this has happened - a player wins a position and then declines, and we learn that he never intended to take the position if he wanted it -  I can tell you that this is extremely frustrating.  Extremely.  Frustrating. 

And, parenthetically, I would say that if an audition concludes and a committee can't identify a winner, that is also incredibly frustrating.  You WANT to hire a winner.  But if you can't, it is a heartbreaking decision because you know that you will have to do this all over again and you lose a year of trying to build your section anew.  Some people rant and rave that an orchestra's audition committee is stupid or doesn't know what they want when a winner isn't chosen.  Not so.  NOBODY is more disappointed when a winner is not hired than the audition committee.  Nobody.  Yes, all of the candidates spent their money to come.  But they will get another chance.  The committee is devastated when a winner is not hired - it is a very, very unhappy result but sometimes it happens.  A broken audition is never pre-meditated.

So I am with Chris Stearns: the time to decide if you are going to take a job is before you take the audition.  If you take the audition and win, take the job.  OK, OK, I allow for the extraordinary situation that comes up like you have an allergic reaction to the principal player's body odor when you play the section round.  But if you take an audition and win and decline the position and knew all along you would do that if you won, you have dished up a heaping of contempt on yourself from the audition committee that has just spent months trying to create a fair process that would result in the happy outcome of a winner to join their section. And, by the way, if you do this, you quickly earn a "reputation" and that is noted by players in other orchestras. I have seen it happen. It DOES happen. The contempt of your colleagues is the worst contempt of all.

At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal code.  Once you sit on an audition committee and you get burned like this, I think you might feel differently. I'm with Chris Stearn.  Think about it. Taking an audition and winning it is not a game. It's not a sport. It's not an exercise to stroke your ego or pad your wallet.  If you treat it that way, then you are looking at it the wrong way. The. Wrong. Way.

Professional driver on closed track who has heard nearly 20 auditions for the Boston Symphony and who has seen it ALL when it comes to auditions.  Your thoughts may vary.

-Douglas Yeo
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Douglas Yeo   

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« Reply #1 on: Mar 14, 2012, 04:48PM »

Mr. Yeo-

Thank you for writing this. I had no idea this much expense and effort went into the audition process, though I suppose I should have realized it.

The question I have for you, though, is whether the Orchestra's staff ought to ask questions like that when viewing resumes to determine who is allowed to send in CDs and who is auto-advanced.

Looking at Stacy's site, I see that four big-name trombonists were auto-advanced into the final round: Mr. Markey, Mr. Bollinger, Dr. Pollard and Mr. Hawes.

Of those, three seem as though they might have a hard decision should they be awarded the position, especially Mr. Bollinger who would be leaving Philadelphia at the same moment as Mr. Haroz, leading to that symphony needing to go through all the work of arranging an audition twice, while relying on subs for both chairs. As well as leaving Curtis seeking trombone professors

Should Boston have asked, upon viewing his resume, "Are you actually serious about pursuing this position and do you intend to take it should you win?" If they did, should they accept "Absolutely, I've already discussed it with my family and I'm very serious about this" as the bare threshold for admittance to the audition process? Or would "I've considered it, and I really love the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but it is a big change and I'd have to give it its due consideration" be acceptable?

Does it indicate anything that the BSO does not seem to ask this question, for that matter?

I agree with you regarding professional courtesy, but there's 6 billion people on the planet, each with his or her own personal ethics code.
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 14, 2012, 04:57PM »

This type of situation I have also seen in the educational world. Our school district "stole" a candidate away from another district in which she went through the hiring process with. She had both professional and person reasons for her decision. I believe one must do what they believe is best for themselves and their family.
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 14, 2012, 05:31PM »

We all have the right to work when and where we want - to pursue other opportunities - to better our current position -- to provide for OURSELVES and/or our families -- and the list goes on. It's nothing personal, it's business.

If someone takes and wins a position, the refuses it, but uses it as a "bargaining chip" at his current job, who is to say that player doesn't stay (with his big raise or other incentives) and make his current orchestra better? Happy employees make better workplaces, by and large.

And I say this with all due respect to Mr. Yeo and Chris Stearn.  I understand both sides of the argument -- I just don't think this is at all an easy topic, nor is it cut and dried. Quite gray, me thins....
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 14, 2012, 05:35PM »

Good questions.

First, let me say a few things.

What I'm writing here is not being written as a representative of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Inc.  I am giving my personal opinion based on my experience as a member of the BSO.  The discussions and deliberations of audition committees are CONFIDENTIAL for all the right reasons. Numbers of votes, numbers of candidates, comments about specific players - all of this is confidential. 

Also, for the record, I had no role or part in the recent BSO bass trombone audition.  I was not on the committee, I took part in no votes, and did not know who any candidates were who were invited to the audition or who played their way through the audition unless those candidates themselves told information to me directly, or after the audition was over when I spoke to some of my colleagues and some candidates contacted me. There is a lot of information that is "out there" that is false because people like to jump the gun and be the first to report a "scoop", not realizing that they don't have the whole story.  This is unfortunate.  Loose lips sink ships.  And destroy reputations. 

I also don't think that engaging in hypotheticals with names of specific players is useful since it is not for me or anyone else to question motives or build hypothetical conversations that can be easily misconstrued as being fact.  Better to leave discussions to "John Doe" rather than real people.  Rumors easily get started in cases like that and that is not fair.  People's reputations are at stake and given the power of the Internet and social media, it is easy for things to get out of hand quickly.

Now...

Every orchestra has its own audition procedure.  The musician's union would like anyone who would like to audition for a spot in any orchestra to have a chance to do so.  That is rarely practical - hearing hundreds of candidates over multiple weeks hardly can produce a good result because the committee would succumb to fatigue.  So orchestras devise systems that are as fair as possible in order to give as many people as possible - within reason - a chance to participate. The BSO's system is a matter of public record, and is part of the Orchestra's trade agreement.  It's not a secret.

With the BSO, all applicants submit a resume.  In the case of the recent bass trombone audition, I think several hundred resumes were received.  The BSO contract calls for a committee of three people - the principal of the section involved, another BSO Player named by the Player's Committee and the Orchestra Personnel Manager - to review resumes and independently decide what round an applicant should be invited to.  There are four options: invite directly to finals, semi-finals, preliminaries or be asked to make a pre-screening CD recording.  The BSO has general guidelines about what kind of player could be invited to particular rounds (based on their current position, reputation, etc) although the guidelines are advisory - there are not hard and fast rules.  The important thing is that decisions be made uniformly and fairly and consistently.  If a player got two or more votes from the committee of three to be invited to a particular round, they were invited to that round. In the case of the recent audition, a small number of highly qualified players were invited directly to finals, another small number of players were invited directly to semi-finals, and a number of players were invited directly to the preliminaries.  The rest were sent letters saying something to the effect that based on their resume, they were not advanced to the live round and they could make a CD recording.  This is not exactly a "cease and desist" letter which is how one TTF member described it in a post in another thread.

A great many people made CD recordings and on one day this winter, the committee sat down in a room and listened to all of them on a high-end stereo system.  A candidate needed to get ONE VOTE - the lowest possible bar - to be advanced to the live preliminary round.  A small number of people who made CDs were advanced to the live prelims.  Appeals are accepted until the number of players in the preliminaries up to something like 40 - that is the number that can be practically listened to in an 8 hour audition session which length is contractually proscribed.

But it's not over.  If your CD was not passed to the live round you could, on a first-come first-served, space-available basis, appeal that decision by contacting the BSO Personnel Office and sending two letters of recommendation.  If you get your appeal in early enough, you will be allowed to come to the live prelims.

STOP!

At this point, it should be said that there are a great many players in the BSO who were hired as a result of having made a CD or tape recording.  One of them is typing this post.  Even though I was a member of the Baltimore Symphony, I had to make a pre-screen tape when I auditioned for the BSO in 1984.  Mine was the only tape advanced to the live round. It is also true that there are players in the BSO whose tape or CD was rejected, they appealed, and they won the audition. The system works.  Your resume may not reflect how great a player you are.  So you make a recording.  If your recording is rejected and you still feel you're a great player, you can appeal.  Great players win auditions.  You don't win by getting lucky.  If your CD is rejected - the committee knows you could have recorded an excerpt a million times to find one good take - you probably won't play a great live audition.  But you might.  So we have this system in place that gives credit to people for their accomplishments and past/current positions, but also allows the "everyman" a chance to take part.

It's not for me or anyone to question the motives of anyone who applies for admission to the audition.  We want the best possible player and if players are invited, we assume they are interested in the position.  We can't/won't ask their motives.  People have their own reasons for taking an audition.

The point of my initial post was simply to say that if you take an audition and before you take it, you know you will not accept the position if you win it, and if you actually DO win it and turn it down, you have wasted everyone's time and a lot of money and have really set the orchestra back in their quest to build their orchestra and that is a very selfish act.  Certainly there are situations where a person takes an audition and needs to weigh information before making a decision to accept the position.  But I am speaking here of the premeditated intention not to take a position if offered it for the purpose of negotiating a better deal at your current job.  I make no apology for saying that is unconscionable and a selfish thing.

-Douglas Yeo
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 14, 2012, 06:33PM »


If someone takes and wins a position, the refuses it, but uses it as a "bargaining chip" at his current job, who is to say that player doesn't stay (with his big raise or other incentives) and make his current orchestra better? Happy employees make better workplaces, by and large.


I'm all for a person wanting to be a happy employee or take care of their family.  No disagreement.

Where I draw the line is when you do something to make yourself a happy employee or take care of your family at someone else's expense.  If you intentionally throw an audition by deciding beforehand that you will not accept the position if offered in order to "take care of your family," then you are hurting the orchestra, the section, and the audition committee.  So you get what you want - but at the expense of others.

-Douglas Yeo
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« Reply #6 on: Mar 14, 2012, 07:10PM »

I had a response typed to Mr. Matta, but you're reply got in before I could post. You said what I would've much more succinctly, and you have a voice people listen to. so I'll leave that.

In reference to the person who posted that they received a "cease and desist" letter; I believe they were referring to the letter they received after sending in their recording. When I said I know a great player who received a similar letter, I was most certainly referring to the letter he received saying he would not be invited to the live auditions after the committee had listened to his tape.

Most importantly, thank you Mr. Yeo for your thoughts and the time you spent articulating them for us here at TTF.
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« Reply #7 on: Mar 14, 2012, 07:22PM »

This is a great topic.

I almost hesitate to post, but had a couple of thoughts. What the heck. <<prepares to fan the flames>>

In higher education (music), one sure way to get a substantial raise is to receive a better offer from another institution. I haven't personally sought out other jobs yet, because fundamentally I agree with Doug. It is probably not respectful of the search committee's time and efforts when they have to deal with people who don't want the job.

On the other hand, am I being responsible to myself and my family if I am not trying to maximize my earning potential? Life is short and one's playing career could end at any moment.

On the third hand, part of the committee's job is to make you want to take the job. (This applies more to academia than to an orchestra.)

At the end of the day, winning auditions and having options is probably not a bad thing. Search committees in academia often ask the question "why do you want this job."  Candidates who don't have a good answer often get left out of the final round. Perhaps orchestras might take a similar tack to minimize their risk.
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« Reply #8 on: Mar 14, 2012, 07:39PM »

I'm all for a person wanting to be a happy employee or take care of their family.  No disagreement.

Where I draw the line is when you do something to make yourself a happy employee or take care of your family at someone else's expense.  If you intentionally throw an audition by deciding beforehand that you will not accept the position if offered in order to "take care of your family," then you are hurting the orchestra, the section, and the audition committee.  So you get what you want - but at the expense of others.

-Douglas Yeo

It is always difficult when speaking about hypothetical situations, but for me, if it were a decision between hurting my family  or hurting the orchestra, I would go with what is best for my family. I am in education and principals and teachers come and go based on various reasons. Some promised to stay and still left. I hold no ill will against them.
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« Reply #9 on: Mar 14, 2012, 07:55PM »

An orchestra audition is not much different from interviewing for a job.

The interview is actually a two-way evaluation.  They could decide not to take me, or I could discover that I don't fit.

I could think I want to play for XYZ orchestra.  But maybe when I meet the actual folks I might realize that I wouldn't be happy there.  The Orchestra thanks all the auditionees for their interest.  If I got to the finals and sat with the section for a read and discovered that I really didn't think I fit in with them, it may be too late to withdraw.  So I could thank the Orchestra for their interest and decline the position if offered.

Now there could be devious people who would apply for a chair in a different orchestra to try to extort a raise or change in work conditions where they are.  I'm not saying this is the case this time.  But there are lots of famous athletes who do it, too.

That said, we can't force a decision on anybody and really should sit back and let this play out.  I think Doug wanted to have this be more in the abstract and not directly related to the BSO.
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« Reply #10 on: Mar 15, 2012, 12:18AM »

I remember we had an audition for a job in our music school. Its not compared to a big orchestra but still. One man was the clear winner, but in the interview the first thing he told was he had no plan to take the job. He made that decision before the audition. He got the question why make the audition. He had a clear answear, to make the experience of doing an audition. This is a combined work with teaching and playing. So the audition have 3 parts. One playing part where they present them self as a musician, one pedagogic part where they make a concert for kids that are invited. And one interview. So its not an orchestra but lot of people and work are still involved.

I can understand if you are young and need the experience of doing an audition. But I don't understand it if you are more experienced and just do an audition just for your own experience or ego. Do this phenom happen often in big orchestras? Has it ever happen?

Leif
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 15, 2012, 05:55AM »

I can understand if you are young and need the experience of doing an audition. But I don't understand it if you are more experienced and just do an audition just for your own experience or ego. Do this phenom happen often in big orchestras? Has it ever happen?

Leif

The audition scene has become so competitive that some of the people who have found themselves in the biggest jobs are not only the finest players but also the kinds of people who really thrive on competition and come to enjoy that aspect of the process. More than one of those people have told me that missed the process of auditioning itself.

Furthermore, there is really nothing like preparing an audition to fine-tune your playing. There is only going to be one player hired for a position like this. You have to maintain a certain emotional distance from the outcome, and - at least for me - reminding myself of how much my playing is growing from the process of preparing for the audition is a strong motivation in and of itself.

Do either of those reasons justify taking an audition for a job that you have no intention of taking? I don't think so.

As to the specific question that started this thread, there are lifestyle and family decisions to be made for anybody considering a job change. If Jim Markey stays in his job at the NY Phil rather than moving to Boston, my assumption will be that those were his reasons. When Paul Pollard declined the position in LA, that was my assumption as well. They are both young men with young families that are extremely important to them. 

Doug, thank you for laying out so many of the facts as clearly and comprehensively as you have above. As you well know, there are many misconceptions about auditions out there, even among people who take many of them.
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 15, 2012, 06:29AM »

Quote
As to the specific question that started this thread, there are lifestyle and family decisions to be made for anybody considering a job change.

While it is true that some players take auditions with no intention of taking the job, I think the more common occurrence is that a player takes an audition thinking that they will take the job if it is offered, and  if an appropriate deal can be negotiated, but when the reality hits, they decide they are happier in their current position.

There are many things that cannot be  fully learned ahead of time about an orchestra.  What is the atmosphere in the orchestra?  How does the conductor interact with the orchestra, and the trombone section in particular?  What is the daily commute like?  How does the orchestra really sound on a daily basis, not just on tour or on recording?

All those elements can come into play after a trial period with the orchestra, and can cause a player to decide to turn the job down. 

We should all be careful about attributing motives unless we truly know the people involved and their thought processes.

Eric Carlson
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« Reply #13 on: Mar 15, 2012, 07:20AM »

I'm also a little hesitant to put my $.02 in, but here we go anyway. I have profound respect for Mr. Yeo and greatly appreciate his time and experience he brings to the discussion. My personal opinion about this matter is that I don't think I could mentally prepare for an audition unless I had a desire for the job, but for the sake of a good healthy debate...

My feeling is that Mr. Yeo's perspective is almost too closely aligned with those of the orchestra. Yes, going through all of that work to have a candidate turn their back on the orchestra must be incredibly frustrating, but this happens all of the time with other high level positions, CEOs, professional athletes, actors, etc. Why should a musician be held to a higher moral standard? How many other jobs does an A list player have to prove themselves by an audition for a job anyway? Again, my examples of the corporate sector or sports. I realize this is all just hypothetical, as orchestras have union contracts and so on, but looking at the audition and job market from a younger player's perspective, one should feel free to test the market. The player still has to win, which is a pretty difficult process in the first place. Having spent the amount of time it takes to prepare an audition thinking the entire time that I really want this job is a difficult thing to go through, especially when the odds of winning are slim. It's almost better going into an audition being able to know that I could take this job, or I could not. Is time wasted? Yes, but on all sides no matter the outcome. It would be interesting to see a study that calculated the expenses of an orchestra to hold an audition versus the expenses of all those who take the audition. I have my doubts that an orchestra's expenses would total more than all those taking part in the audition, but that is only my opinion until we can get the Freakanomics team on it.

The orchestra wants the best player for their group and the player wants the best orchestra/job/life/career/pay...the list goes on. For a player, choosing an orchestra is a life event. Orchestras have tenure process, they can remove players that don't fit well with their needs. Mobility for a player isn't as simple, life is just too short to be able to jump from job to job, assuming that one player could count on continually winning jobs that is. I'm sure that there are a multitude of reasons for players to take auditions and for as many reasons to take or decline a position if won. If a player decides that I'm going to audition for orchestra A just to get more money from orchestra B, what is really so awful about that? Firstly it only works if orchestra B ponies up and meets the demands of the player. Maybe it's a situation where the player is really happy with orchestra B, but feels that they are not doing as well as they should financially, even great orchestras don't make trombone players millionaires. Another scenario happens frequently enough when there are a series of auditions and a player wins 2-3 in a row and uses one orchestra against the other to leverage the best contract. Maybe this is apples and oranges, because the player isn't leaving one orchestra for the other, but it is clear that they couldn't have taken all of the jobs.

Anyway, I'm just throwing some logs on the fire. As I said, I personally couldn't even consider preparing an audition if I didn't want the job, but that's just me and I feel that people should be free to make up their own minds about their career paths without fear of being shunned by their peers.
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« Reply #14 on: Mar 15, 2012, 08:13AM »

More food for thought from someone who has seen the same problem in academia:

I agree that auditioning with no intent of taking the job is an action that violates ethical rules. The problem I see is that this isn't a one-way street. It's true that orchestras are greatly inconvenienced by players who win an audition but don't take the position, but what about the issue of orchestras which hold an audition process with no intent of hiring any of the people who are auditioning? I know several very good players who, at considerable cost to both their bank accounts and their allotment of vaction/free time, auditioned for groups only to find out that the committee knew all along who they wanted for the position, and that the auditions were just a formality. With this kind of problem going on, is it any wonder that those auditioning can sometimes be cynical?

Ethics run both ways. Many players begin to disrespect the audition process only after seeing that the audition process is frequently disrespectful to the players.
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Micah Everett

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« Reply #15 on: Mar 15, 2012, 08:54AM »

Wow. What a great thread--this makes the first time I've wanted to check TTF more than once a day or so in a LONG time.

I have nothing of real substance to add (so maybe I shouldn't). I agree that it would be unethical to take an audition for a job one had no intention of accepting, though there are certainly mitigating circumstances that would lead one to decline a job offer after seeing the realities of the situation up close. I don't think that Mr. Yeo was referring to that type of circumstance, however.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 15, 2012, 08:56AM »

With respect to the "audition for the sake of experience", most of those will be eliminated in the first round.  Admittedly, the Audition Committee is going to have to listen to a fair number of awful CDs to wade through the applicants.  There might be less if there was a good mock audition process at most schools.

Someone who puts in a CD and makes it to a higher level "on a fluke" may be someone like Carol Jantsch (forgive me if I spelled it wrong) who probably was quite surprised to actually win the position in Philadelphia.  I'm sure any conservatory student who puts in an audition CD and manages to make it not only to the finals, but to win the audition, will probably take the position if it is in a major orchestra.

Note that I think any young auditioner who is talented should  get the position.  Problem is that there are probably many more who only think they are qualified.
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Bruce Guttman
Solo Trombone, Hollis Town Band
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orch. President 2017-2018
John Beers Jr.

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« Reply #17 on: Mar 15, 2012, 10:08AM »

While it is true that some players take auditions with no intention of taking the job, I think the more common occurrence is that a player takes an audition thinking that they will take the job if it is offered, and  if an appropriate deal can be negotiated, but when the reality hits, they decide they are happier in their current position.

There are many things that cannot be  fully learned ahead of time about an orchestra.  What is the atmosphere in the orchestra?  How does the conductor interact with the orchestra, and the trombone section in particular?  What is the daily commute like?  How does the orchestra really sound on a daily basis, not just on tour or on recording?

All those elements can come into play after a trial period with the orchestra, and can cause a player to decide to turn the job down. 

We should all be careful about attributing motives unless we truly know the people involved and their thought processes.

Eric Carlson

Mr. Carlson,

Let me just say that I meant absolutely no disrespect, in fact, just the opposite. One of the positive and negative things about a community like TTF is that we have players in a large range of different playing circumstances discussing things as small and piddly as "What's better, a Schilke or Yamaha 51?".

That does get us into a little bit of trouble, though, when it comes to discussing sensitive and orchestral-political issues.

For me, discussing the best of the best in the trombone world is like discussing the best of the best in the baseball world. You might ask "I wonder if Roy Halladay is going to go become a free agent?" while playing on a community softball team.

Similarly, I might ask if Jorgen van Rijen might audition for the NY Phil spot if/when Joe Alessi retires, whereas you might feel uncomfortable speculating on the matter.

Your colleagues are personal heroes of mine, and I can never aspire to reach their ranks.

But, I'll admit that given that this is a conversation between people who feel that they must/should restrain themselves from saying anything about a current or future colleague and friend along with people who would be star-struck if they were ever given the opportunity to shake that person's hand.

I suppose that it's not fair to the other participants in the conversation for people to be talking from such different viewpoints, so I'll try, from here, to speak in a way and ask questions in a way that the people that I would want to answer the question (i.e. the people that KNOW the answers) would be comfortable with.
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"Progress is just another word for making bad things happen faster" - Granny Weatherwax
GetzenBassPlayer

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« Reply #18 on: Mar 15, 2012, 10:24AM »



Someone who puts in a CD and makes it to a higher level "on a fluke" may be someone like Carol Jantsch (forgive me if I spelled it wrong) who probably was quite surprised to actually win the position in Philadelphia.

I do not feel that this is a true statement or fair to the audition committee, the others who auditioned or Ms. Jantsch. I believe it cheapens their efforts, skill and judgments.
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Pro level? Pro level!  You make it pro, you make it good You make it loved and play nice Then its a pro level horn
Leif

I can justify my position with a trombone in my hands and that's good enough for me
Beware wise men bearing equations  C. Stearn
TillerTrom

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« Reply #19 on: Mar 15, 2012, 10:37AM »

More food for thought from someone who has seen the same problem in academia:

I agree that auditioning with no intent of taking the job is an action that violates ethical rules. The problem I see is that this isn't a one-way street. It's true that orchestras are greatly inconvenienced by players who win an audition but don't take the position, but what about the issue of orchestras which hold an audition process with no intent of hiring any of the people who are auditioning? I know several very good players who, at considerable cost to both their bank accounts and their allotment of vaction/free time, auditioned for groups only to find out that the committee knew all along who they wanted for the position, and that the auditions were just a formality. With this kind of problem going on, is it any wonder that those auditioning can sometimes be cynical?

Ethics run both ways. Many players begin to disrespect the audition process only after seeing that the audition process is frequently disrespectful to the players.

Bravo! Very well said. I agree 100%!!!
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...you are a trombonist.  :)  In short, you are a sucker.  You are being used.
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