Going on an audition, whether it's for a conservatory or a band, is one of the most stressful experiences of any musician's career. The jittery nerves, the clenched muscles, the sweating hands and brow – most musicians have experienced them before heading into an audition. But the key to managing the stress of auditions is to be well prepared, so here are ten tips for auditions.
Get Plenty of Rest
Make sure to get a good night's sleep the night before. If you have trouble falling asleep, do some soothing activities like reading, taking a hot bath, some yoga, and so on. Don't let yourself stay up until all hours the night before an audition – you'll regret it!
Remember to Eat
While some musicians may become stressed enough that eating is difficult, don't skip out on nutrition. If necessary, eat small and easily digestible meals to keep you sustained throughout the day. While you shouldn't eat immediately before an audition, try having a snack an hour or two before your audition time.
No matter what your instrument is, make sure to drink lots of water. Water helps your brain stay sharp and functioning at peak capacity. Keep a reusable bottle handy and hydrate throughout the day so you'll bring your A-game.
Whatever you're planning to play for your audition, start preparing your material early. Know your pieces intimately – the lyrics, the melody line, the dynamics. The earlier you start, the more confident you'll be – and the less stressed out you'll be, too.
Ask for Feedback
If you study with an instructor, ask them consistently for feedback when you're preparing your audition material. Ask other musicians as well. After the audition, make it a point to thank the auditioners for their time and for feedback on your performance. This kind of feedback will help your future auditions go more smoothly if you know what you need to work on.
Be Prepared to Talk
A lot of people you'll audition for will ask you questions about yourself, like what your personal interests are, where you grew up, and other information of note. Be prepared to talk about yourself – it's a great way for both sides to see how you'll integrate into a new department or band.
Come With Questions
Don't go into an audition room, play your piece, and then just leave without asking anything. Ask what the goals of the act or department are. Ask what they are seeking in terms of contribution. Cook up a few questions you'd like to ask prior to the audition and remember them.
Be Prepared to Play More than Pieces
For music school auditions or auditions for large or prestigious ensembles, you'll have to play more than just the pieces you've memorized. Scales, arpeggios, and sight singing exercises are often part and parcel to an audition, so prepare those skills accordingly.
Know Something About the Organization
If you go to an audition knowing nothing about the school or act you're auditioning for, you'll come off as lackadaisical and disinterested. Know a little bit of its history and achievements before you attend your audition, and if it comes up, remark on what you know.
Treat It As a Performance
Every audition is a performance, and it's okay to have fun with it. Go into every audition with the intent of putting on the best performance you can – treat it like a miniature concert. Thinking of it this way will make it an opportunity to have fun and show off your best stuff.
Most musicians will go on hundreds of auditions during their lifetime, whether for music degree programs or ensembles they want to join. These tips will help you audition successfully – whether it's your first or your hundredth.