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Violinist Cho-Liang Lin Shares Tips on How to Impress a School Audition Panel

"What are your best tips for impressing a school entrance audition panel?" We threw the question over to Taiwanese–American violin virtuoso Cho–Liang Lin to seek his advice.

School auditions can be daunting for many as they could determine your future career as a musician. How can we best leave a great impression on the school entrance audition panel? VC reader Raymond was keen to know.

What are some auditioning tips that you know of? How do you calm your nerves before an audition? Please leave a comment below, we are keen to know your thoughts.


Cho-Liang Lin violin

Photo credit: Sophie Zhai


Violinist Cho-Liang Lin Shares His Best Tips on How to Impress a School Audition Panel


Dear Raymond,

School entrance auditions tend to be short. 10-15 minutes. It's actually rather similar to orchestral auditions many applicants will face later on. When time is short like this, the mind must not go blank because of nerves. You must be really tuned in to your own playing–checking on intonation, pacing, sound quality and the acoustical environment. In a dry hall (or room), you will do yourself no favors by pressing hard. A hall with lots of reverb might mean you can play with more articulation.

Faculty members tend to ask you to jump from work to work. So, prepare the audition by jumping from work to work also. Ask friends to hear you play the audition material and ask you to stop mid-phrase and start another work.

Warm up well. Play through the first 5 minutes of every work on your list as you warm up. Prepare to have your best playing at the get-go. There is no time to warm up as you play. The short duration means you don't need stamina.

Play your best immediately. Always play the way you want to play. Don't play the way you think the faculty wants you to play. And smile when you see the faculty there. Know that everyone wants you to do well.

– Cho-Liang


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Violinist Cho-Liang Lin is lauded for the eloquence of his playing and for superb musicianship. In a concert career spanning the globe for more than 30 years, he is equally at home with orchestra, in recital, playing chamber music, and in the teaching studio. Performing on several continents, he has appeared with the orchestras of New York, Detroit, Toronto, Dallas, Houston, Nashville, San Diego, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; in Europe with the orchestras of Bergen, Stockholm, Munich, and the English Chamber Orchestra; and in Asia with the orchestras of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangkok, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan.

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