• Meghan Lyda

ILMEA Cello Audition Guide: Waltz of the Wicked

Welcome to part 3 of my District 1 Junior ILMEA cello audition guide! Today we’ll be learning some tips and tricks for the two excerpts from Mozier’s Waltz of the Wicked.

Grab your cello, music, and a pencil, and let’s get to it!

Here are some fingering options to get you started:

Enter your email at the bottom of this page to be sent a PDF with fingerings for each of the excerpts.

Now let's get into the piece!

Overall character:

Slightly emphasize the first beat of each measure for the waltz (dance) feel. Bringing out the accents, glissandos, and dynamics will give the slightly off-kilter “wicked” feeling to these excerpts.


  • Since these excerpts move at a good clip (quarter note = 152 eventually) we need to start by practicing under tempo. Start with a metronome around quarter note = 50.

  • Once the whole excerpt is solid at that tempo, increase the speed 5 bpm and play it again.

  • Increase the speed in increments of 5 bpm until you reach your maximum tempo for that day.

  • Pick it up again the next day at 50, slowly increase the speed until you reach your maximum tempo again. Hopefully it's slightly higher than yesterday.

  • Eventually you'll get to 152 or at least very close!

Excerpt 1: m. 30 - m. 37

Measure 30

  • Bowing: begin the first up bow at the middle of the bow

  • Crescendo: Gradually increase the weight and bow speed to make the crescendo

  • Dynamics: The softer your mp is, the stronger your forte will sound, so start softly!

M. 31

  • Sustain sound: stay forte, even in the upper half of the bow.

  • Dynamics: You’ll have to play fortissimo at the end of the excerpt so save room (don't be at your max volume when you play forte)

M. 32

  • Left hand: barre 1st finger for the first three notes, and release it when you play 2nd finger C natural

M. 33

  • Shift: 1st position to 2nd position.

  • Extension: Make sure 1st finger is on C natural (a whole step away from 2nd finger)

M. 36

  • Musicality: strong accents with heavy bow!

  • Dynamics: Now we are at fortissimo - the loudest you’ve played in the whole piece!

  • Rhythm: hold the quarter note for close to its full value, and then make a fast bow lift

Excerpt 2: m. 86 - m. 93

M. 86 (plus pick-up note)

  • Glissando: shift slower than you normally would, and keep the weight of the bow and your left hand in the string during the shift.

  • Accents: increase bow weight and speed.

M. 87

  • Intonation: check in with a tuner for the 1st finger G#

M. 88-89 (plus pick-up note)

  • Don’t run out of bow! Get to the upper half on the first slur, and use a slow up bow for the next slur.

M. 90

  • Accents: The downbeats aren’t accented anymore!

  • Articulation: use lots of bow weight at the beginning of each note, and stop the bow in the string in-between notes to create the staccato articulation

Follow along with this recording! Excerpt 1 begins at 00:41 and excerpt 2 begins at 2:00.

Happy practicing! Enter your email below to be notified when the next part of this guide is posted, and to receive a pdf with fingerings for all of the excerpts.

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