Whether you are recording an audition tape for a summer festival or submitting for the preliminary round of a professional audition, your recording must stand out from the crowd. After all the notes and rhythms are under our fingers and we are finally ready to record, we often wonder how we can separate our recording from others. Here are three tips I suggest potential candidates consider when recording an audition tape.
Be musical. Make music and really sell your product. Often, players strive for perfection. I would much rather hear an inspired musical performance instead of a "safe" performance. Strive for a performance that exhibits your maturity and depth. It goes without saying that the right notes and rhythms must be in the right places. What you do with those notes and rhythms is what will separate you from others.
Record with the highest quality equipment possible. Not all of us have the opportunity to use a professional recording studio; this is not necessarily needed. You can record using a digital recorder or even a good microphone plugged into your computer and it can sound wonderful. The key is to record in a space that naturally sounds amazing. Additional effects such as excessive reverb and obvious post production methods are not needed, and most good listeners can tell when they are implemented. Make your recording sound as natural and un-doctored as possible.
Be professional. Do not submit anything that you're not 100% proud of. If you are not satisfied with what you hear, record it again. You are your best critic and know when you are playing at your best. Listen to your recording many times before you decide to send it. Are you playing with good timing and rhythmic accuracy? Are you playing with the best tone quality you can possibly produce on your instrument? Are you consistent in each given excerpt? Are you creating an engaging atmosphere? Once you are satisfied that you have captured the best possible version of your playing, then it is time to submit your recording.
Have fun and use the recording experience to learn something about your own playing. Take stock of where you are in your development and continue to grow.