Preparing for a big audition can be downright nerve-racking. If not taken seriously musicians can overlook truly important opportunities and miss out on being invited to the gig. Here are “9 Great Tips for Preparing for an Audition.”
1. Know your Audience
Having an insight into what type of group you are auditioning for will provide you a better idea of what is expected. You should be able to come away with what style of music they perform, what pitch they play at, their strengths and weaknesses. As an audition candidate you can prepare yourself and fill the need for that ensemble.
2. Play for Someone That Doesn’t Play Your Instrument
It is easy to perform for someone that plays the same instrument you do. Feedback will often be specific to the workings of your instrument. Instead, seek to get a different perspective from a competent musician. Since this source may not have an expertise on your instrument they could possibly have recommendations that you have not heard of.
3. Record Yourself
What you perform and hear is not always what the audience picks up. This is particularly due to the the body’s difference in external and internal hearing. In addition, if a musician really wants a musical effect to happen they sometimes think it is happening when it isn’t. Record yourself. You can find high quality options to do this. Many smart phones now have quality recorders however, I recommend external recorders such as the H4nPro.
4. Have a Full Range of Dynamics
Those hosting auditions want to hear the full range of someone’s expression ability during an audition. This would include ranges from pppp to ffff. Being able to control these dynamic ranges and still maintain control of the instrument is something that often sets auditioners apart.
5. Visualize Your Environment
Try to visual the actual room you will perform in. This is something professional musicians and athletes do all of the time. Image the process of waking up, the process of warming up and how you want to interact in the audition room. Rather than being reactive in the audition room try manifesting confidence by creating a plan and implementing what you envision this small piece destiny will look like.
6. Pace Yourself
Image yourself playing your sight-reading perfectly. The only way that this is accomplished is if you you pace yourself. When you receive the sight-reading music, mentally scan and find the hardest chunk of music. Examine that portion of music and finger it to the tempo that you feel you can play it perfectly. Use that tempo for the rest of the piece so that it is consistent and in time. However, be sure to make adjustments if fluctuations in time are notated in the music.
7. Use a Journal
Use a journal and write down everything you do during your audition preparation process. This would include when you wake up, what you eat, what you do for a warm-up and how long you practice. You may find that trends start to develop. Further analysis may show certain trends create a better result for your playing than others. As a result, you can follow and act on the processes you feel give you the best chance to prepare yourself for an audition.
8. Listen to the Excerpts
Next, it is important to recognize that often the excerpts provided to you, for your audition, come from some type of professional musical work. That means there is a high likelihood that there is a professional group that has recorded your excerpt. Most importantly, you have the perfect opportunity to listen to that recording and pull out the musical nuances that other professional musicians have chosen to express.
9. Have Fun
Finally, most people go into music because it is fun and it makes them feel good. Don’t forget why you choose to be a musician. Continue to motivate yourself based on this love of music and aesthetic experiences you have. Do your best to reflect on this in your audition.
Ultimately, auditions are an assessment tool to rate, rank and select possible candidates for a musical organization that is about expressing themselves. Depending on the organization, forms of expression vary greatly. The prize for winning one of these auditions is an invitation to join in the group. Consequently, outlets for musical expression exist in abundance around the world. If you are driven to audition for any group, always do it for right reasons, make the commitment to do it right and you’ll always achieve a level success.