Auditioning Tips for Musicians
“Think of every audition like a chance to perform and you will have fun doing it!” – Erica Schroeder
Auditions have always been a very stressful part of music and art-making.
The level of exigence and the way in which the auditions are being done nowadays were drastically different some years ago. The whole field has become exponentially more competitive with people traveling around the globe trying to earn a position.
That pressure can really affect our performance. That can even make us forget that usually, we are not a part of the decision-making. What is our recommendation? Instead of focusing on everything besides the music, it is more productive to focus on ourselves, the preparation process and playing. In the end, the goal should be to have fun doing it!
It is crucial to realize there will always be factors you can not control and influence but the thing that is in your hands is your own preparation. The best way to calm your nerves is to know you have done everything possible to be prepared.
That means making a long-term plan, having daily goals you can achieve, recording the process during the development as well as recording yourself and reflecting. Using a mirror while playing and recording yourself can help immensely in becoming more aware of the movements and choices you are making. Try to let your body move and vibrate with the music. You need to be moved by it and to have fun doing it!
In order to get your music to the next level, it is important to incorporate slow practice in the preparation. This allows the muscle memory to learn every move it has to implement and become aware of it.
The first two basic elements that eliminate the candidates are rhythm and pitch. Our holy grail in this case is the metronome! Start practicing with the metronome even in the slower tempos and step by step rise the speed to the actual tempo of the piece you are playing.
In order to have your rhythm under control, you can use the rhythm subdivision and different rhythm patterns that you can practice daily on your scales and/or daily exercises.
Paying attention to the details
Paying absolute attention to everything that is written in the score is something that differentiates candidates that pass to the next round. Knowing the music you are playing, not only your own part but also the piano accompaniment or the orchestra parts is a must.
Having the background knowledge about the composer, style and the period when the piece was composed will help you with finding the style of playing that is suitable for that particular composition.
This is something that has been spoken about much more in professional sport than in the arts but can definitely influence the quality of the preparation of our performance. In order to overcome the nerve game that occurs in concerts and any types of auditions, it helps to imagine the space you will be playing while practicing at home.
Try to be as detailed as possible, think about the stage, the lights, the people that will be listening to you, and think about the beginning tempo of the pieces you are playing. The more detailed you get the more helpful it can be.
One of the most beneficial things you can do is to play for people and go over your repertoire. The feedback from your colleagues and friends will help you improve and you will go over the audition process several times before actually doing the audition. The point is to go through as many nerve-racking scenarios before going on the actual stage.
Our body and mind are the key part of this process, so it is very important to take care of your alignment, movement, and overall balance. In that way, we can prevent the injuries and the chronic pain that might happen along the way. Making sure you have enough time for your friends, hobbies, and family will give you a healthier relationship with music, and ultimately, your life.
Music is the most important
To conclude, keep in mind that no one ever listens to music to count the bars or the mistakes – people do it because they like it. Next time it gets nerve-racking, think about musicianship and the beauty of the music itself. That’s why we’re all here, to have fun doing it 🙂