Do you want to play piccolo in an orchestra? You should start working on the solos in the book Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo, even if you don’t have an audition yet.
The excerpts can be tricky, so you need as much practice as you can get. Then, you can be better prepared when an audition comes along.
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What Is the Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo Book?
The Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo book contains famous piccolo solos from orchestral works. It’s very similar to the Jeanne Baxtresser books, which you may have and use for your C flute.
However, this book is by Jack Wellbaum, former solo piccolo of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. But if you’ve used the Baxtresser book, you’ll find the format of the Wellbaum book is pretty similar.
I first got this book when I was in college and started focusing heavily on the piccolo. While I had other piccolo books, I wanted to start learning orchestral excerpts on the instrument.
Like the flute version, this one comes with commentary and piano accompaniment to help you practice. You can tell my copy of the book has gotten a ton of love.
- Compilation of many famous excerpts
- Commentary on the excerpts
- Same printing as the parts in a piccolo orchestral audition
- Piano accompaniment
- Edited by a piccolo soloist
- Somewhat expensive
- Doesn’t have every possible excerpt
Why Reference Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo
If you’re trying to decide if you should get a copy of Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo, you should know as much about it as possible. That way, you can make sure you’ll get good use out of it.
Here are my favorite aspects of this orchestral excerpt book.
Learn the Standards
As much as I love to see players learning new music, we still have to learn the standards. If you want to audition for the piccolo spot in a college or professional orchestra, you need to learn some excerpts.
Since the Wellbaum book has a lot of standard excerpts, you can work through them. Then, when you find out about an audition, you may already know a lot of the required repertoire.
This book has excerpts from Beethoven to Brahms to Tchaikovsky. It’s an excellent resources to have whether you’re a piccolo student or teacher.
Compiled by a Symphony Piccolo Player
Jack Wellbaum played the piccolo with the Cincinnati Symphony for 40 years. I think that gave him plenty of experience to compile some of the most common piccolo excerpts into a book.
He had to play a lot of those pieces, and I’d assume he played at least some of them multiple times. I’ve seen a lot of flute and piccolo books that are edited or compiled by other musicians.
That may be fine for your beginning method book. But when it comes to something serious, like an orchestral excerpt collection, it’s good that a piccolo specialist contributed to the project.
Another excellent feature of the book is that it contains written commentary. Before you jump into an excerpt, you can read about it and learn about special considerations.
For example, the Bartok Romanian Folk Dances excerpt shares the translation of the movement title. Wellbaum also shares some tips from his experience playing the excerpt regarding tempo and dynamics.
The commentary for every excerpt is a bit different. But it can be particularly helpful if you don’t have access to a private piccolo teacher who can guide you.
You can practice the piccolo excerpts on your own as much as you want. But it can help to practice them with someone else before you take an audition.
Most people can’t play the excerpts with a full orchestra, but the book comes with piano reductions of every excerpt. So if you know a pianist, you can ask them to play with you.
Then, you can practice staying in tempo, and you can figure out how the piccolo part fits in with the orchestra. By the time the audition rolls around, you can feel more confident about your performance.
Other Orchestral Excerpt Resources for Piccolo
As much as I love the Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo book, it’s not the only resource. If you’re serious about pursuing the piccolo (or even the flute) in an orchestra, you should use multiple books and tools.
That way, you can prepare as best as possible for your next orchestral audition. Here are some other resources I recommend using to learn piccolo orchestral excerpts.
Trevor Wye Practice Book for the Piccolo
The Trevor Wye Practice Book for the Piccolo has a slightly misleading name. It’s more of an excerpt book and less of a practice book, like his coordinating flute books.
This book has even more orchestral excerpts than the Wellbaum. My biggest gripe with the Wye book is that the excerpts aren’t in the standard print of an orchestral piccolo part.
But you can at least use the book to learn the piccolo part. Then, you can use a different version to perform if you happen to get to play a piece.
I used this book to learn an excerpt of Smetana’s Bartered Bride before I got the full part. That helped me prepare for the first rehearsal in an orchestra a few years ago.
If you want to learn more about this book, check out my full review.
Specific Audition Books
If you have a specific piccolo orchestral audition coming up, your best resource is one that comes straight from the college or professional orchestra. When I was in graduate school, for example, we could access a PDF online.
The PDF had all of the flute and piccolo excerpts for that year’s ensemble placement audition. I’ve also seen plenty of professional orchestras share PDFs of the different excerpts they require when they have an audition for the piccolo.
As soon as you think you may want to do an audition, download the PDF. Then, you can make sure you learn the music using their chosen edition, including tempos and other markings.
Individual Piccolo Parts
Maybe you want to learn a specific piccolo orchestral excerpt and focus only on that. If the piece is in the public domain, you can head to IMSLP and see if they have the full part there.
The excerpt is a great place to start, but it can only tell you so much. You can use the full piccolo part to learn even more music and learn how the solo sounds in the context of the larger part.
Unfortunately, getting your hands on piccolo parts that are still under copyright isn’t as easy. But you can look at renting the part, or you can at least use your ear and listen to the full part while practicing the excerpt.
Who Should Buy the Book Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo?
Many flutists can benefit from having a copy of Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo in their music library. If you’re looking to buy new music, consider if this book can benefit you.
Here are three types of flute players I’d recommend the Wellbaum book to.
Aspiring Orchestral Flutists
Of course, if you want to play the piccolo in an orchestra, you need this book. However, even if you want any flute spot, you should still learn the solos from Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo.
Many second flute auditions will have some sort of piccolo requirement. You may not need to play as many piccolo excerpts as you would in a piccolo audition.
But you can expect to play at least a few. The last thing you want is to lose the perfect job because you didn’t have a good handle on the standard piccolo orchestral excerpts.
Flute and Piccolo Teachers
Maybe you have no plans to audition for an orchestra yourself. If you currently have private students or want to get more private students, you should get the Wellbaum book.
You never know when one of your private students will want to audition for an orchestra. If you have the book, you can show them some of the solos they’d have to play.
Then, they can get a copy of the book to work from at home if they still want to go into the orchestral world. You may not have any piccolo students now, but you never know who will want to learn the piccolo in the future.
You may not want to play in an orchestra or teach privately. But if you want to specialize in the piccolo, it helps to study some orchestral excerpts every now and then.
These excerpts are a big part of the overall piccolo repertoire. You can use them as etudes to help improve your tone and technique and then apply what you learn to solo or chamber music.
I think the book is an excellent resource to use if you plan on playing the piccolo in any capacity. You may not use the excerpts themselves in a performance, but you can use the same basic concepts.
What Excerpts Does the Book Include?
Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo includes solos by:
- and more!
Will You Buy Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo?
The book Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo is an essential part of any piccolo players music library. You can use the book to prepare for an audition or simply practice the piccolo.
Get yourself a copy today so that you can learn some piccolo standards!