The Audition Coach: How to Win

Rebecca Raney
2 min readOct 30, 2021
Photo illustration by Rebecca Raney

It’s fall in California, and the cool weather reminds me of one thing:

Youth Symphony.

The auditions. The challenge system. The constant jockeying for position.

It’s the place where, as a teen, I learned how to compete. Here’s what I didn’t learn: That the real white-collar world didn’t play that rough.

For the next step in my cross-platform project — which involves teaching myself how to play the violin again — I’m introducing the “audition coach.”

The coach’s first video is linked below.

I’m not qualified to present myself as a music teacher. Not even on YouTube. But I did learn how to ace an audition, and it’s a skill that has helped me throughout my entire life.

When I first came up with the idea for the coach, I thought it would turn out to be satire — a character who offers all kinds of ridiculous advice. As it turned out, the character actually gives sound advice for competitive situations.

The coach’s first video shows how to stand out when you and half your competitors are playing the same piece from Vivaldi.

The satire remains, but in this case, it applies to a system that runs on brutal competition.

With this piece, my thinking on cross-platform storytelling has evolved. At first, I considered converting the first essay in the series into video. The essay was a conversation with my violin teachers, and it read well enough.

However, it would have made for dull video. I realized that I needed to do more than read a written essay on camera; I needed to adapt the themes of the essay to the visual medium.

With that revelation in mind, here it is. The first installment from the audition coach:

Let’s keep in touch! Follow this journey back to music in my free newsletter. Here’s the link:

Rebecca Raney — The Reckless Violinist

Newsletter landing page: Rebecca Raney — The Reckless Violinist



Rebecca Raney

Respectable journalist. Terrible waitress. Reckless Violinist. YouTuber/Novelist. Contributor at The New York Times. Follow at