ASK THE PROS | Violinist Qian Zhou - "Maximising the Odds of Your Audition Tape Being Accepted" [ADVICE]

"What are the keys to ensuring your audition tape has the best chance of being accepted?" We threw the question over to violinist Qian Zhou

Qian Zhou

The Violin Channel member Zhao Tang from the United States was keen to know: "What are the keys to ensuring your audition tape has the best chance of being accepted?"

We threw Zhao's question over to Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Head of Strings and Singapore International Violin Competition Jury Chair, Ms Qian Zhou.

"Hello Zhao,

Thanks for your question.

We received more than a hundred applications from the world’s best young violinists who wish to compete at the Singapore International Violin Competition.

The best tapes we have listened to all have the following elements:

Beauty of Sound

It is important to use a good instrument, or else you won’t achieve truly beautiful sound. You then need to play beautifully as well, of course. The sound quality of an audition tape is also key; use a professional recording studio and heed their advice. Be in a soundproof room, with excellent acoustics.

Technical perfection

There should be no mistakes at all in an audition tape. If you slip up, you should record the piece again. Mistakes are very noticeable in recordings.

Exaggerate musical phrasing

In a recording, you must ensure you emphasise your musical phrasing. Exaggerate how one phrases and structures, more than you would in a live performance.


It is very important that you review your tape in full, and make sure it is free of mistakes and that it is your best work. You can also learn from listening to yourself on tape, and work on perfecting any issues. It is important to study yourself and then implement the learnings so you can improve.

Top Tips:


- Be daring with your playing

- Try to relax when doing your recording


- Practice during recording: it can be exhausting and frustrating

- One should not record more than 3 takes for best results

Wishing you all the best, Qian"


A graduate of the Shanghai Conservatory and the Peabody Conservatory, Qian Zhou is a former 1st prize winner at the China National Competition and the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud International Violin Competition | She serves as Head of Strings at Singapore's Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music - and as Jury Chair of the Singapore International Violin Competition

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