David Valbuena: "I like to make sure that I can feel my feet on the ground before I play."
Young musicians ages 16–19 interested in applying for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) must submit an audition video as part of their application. The video is a key piece of the application process, requiring applicants to perform specific orchestral excerpts, select and play a solo piece of their choosing, and answer a few questions on camera. Clarinetist David Valbuena, who recently prepared a sample audition video as an example for interested applicants, answered a few questions about his process.
I decided to play the third movement of the Poulenc Clarinet Sonata for a few reasons. First of all, it is a piece that I studied a lot this past year and felt very comfortable with it. Also, I feel like this piece comes very naturally to me and lets me show off the stronger parts of my playing. The most important reason is that it is one of my favorite pieces in the clarinet repertoire, and I love performing it.
I practiced, and listening to professional recordings helped a lot.
I imagined what the orchestra sounded like before I started to play. It helped to understand what my tempo would be, and more importantly, how the excerpt would sound in context. I try to make sure that both the listener and I can hear the orchestra in our minds as I play the excerpt.
I just smiled. (Not too much, though.) Also, I like to make sure that I can feel my feet on the ground before I play. It’s a little quirk I have that reminds me where I am and what I’m doing, and helps me to stay focused and not freak out.
Not much. I just thought about it on my way to the recording session. I wanted to leave it up to the moment. It feels kind of awkward to recite a predetermined answer to a question in front of a camera. But that’s just me. Everyone is different.
Practice = confidence = a higher possibility for success.