Yet again, we have started the countdown to another All State Saxophone Audition for the state of New Mexico.
Time to start practicing scales and etudes! To be sure that you are ready for the audition, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a private teacher or friends who play your instrument.
Jazz All State
The Jazz audition will consist of your Chromatic Scale, Swing Etude, Funk Etude, Sight-Reading, and Blue Monk with Improvisation. The Chromatic Scale and Blue Monk with Improvisation must be performed from memory. The Etudes and Blue Monk will be played with a backing track.
Music and Information can be found here on NMMEA’s website.
Classical All State
The regular Band audition will consist of the Chromatic Scale, two random Major Scales, Slow Etude, Fast Etude, and Sight-Reading. The Slow Etude is #11 and the Fast is #2. Both etudes are from “48 Studies for the Saxophone” by, Ferling.
I prefer this copy of the book since it has one etude per page instead of squishing two of them together on a page. It is way easier to read and personally, I feel less stressed out when my music isn’t super small and difficult to see. Below is an affiliate link to purchase the book. I do earn a small commission if you purchase through this link.
Major Scales: Bob Eason has written out the Full Range Major Scales with both low and high extensions. I love this handout because it includes options for saxophones with and without High F# keys. Find them here to view and download them from his website. This handout will work for all saxophone voices since judges will ask for a scale in the saxophone’s key, not the concert key. Luckily, they don’t make you transpose! If you really want the Tenor and Soprano transpositions, they can be found here.
- Don’t forget to practice your scales! They are the first things the judges hear you play. Full Range is preferred versus one and two-octave scales. Many students think the etudes are more important to learn, but they are equally important! If you play the etudes really well but your scales subpar, you won’t get the result you’re hoping for.
- Quality over speed! You don’t get a choice with the jazz etudes since you must perform with recordings, but take your time on the classical etudes. Judges would rather hear a slower and smoother etude versus a fast but sloppy performance.
- Practice the etudes slowly then work up to faster tempos once you have mastered rhythms and notes.
- Perform the audition material in front of family or friends. I find this helps me find any week spots in my performance and helps me work through the nerves. It’s almost harder to play for friends and family since they know you!
- Listen to recordings of the etudes so you are sure you are playing them correctly. Even steal a bit of someone’s musical phrasing or style from their recording and interpretation of the music.