Got an Upcoming Audition? 4 Ideas to Wrap Up All That Prep!
If you're back to music school, 'tis the season for seating auditions, placement auditions or mock auditions. Not to mention the plethora of auditions that bands and orchestras are holding this fall!
Wonderful audition resources are vast and plentiful. Just check out:
- The Bulletproof Musician run by Noa Kageyama https://bulletproofmusician.com/
- Honesty Pill run by Christopher Still https://www.instagram.com/honestypill/
- Audition Cafe; here's their interview with audition coach Jeff Nelsen: https://auditioncafe.com/article/audition-success-101-whats-your-story/
- Performance Success, Audition Success, Fight Your Fear and Win, or any book by Don Greene; here's a list https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/23329.Don_Greene
- Michael Thornton (french hornist of LA Chamber Orchestra/ Colorado Symphony) and Carolyn Christie (former Montreal Symphony flutist) are both private audition coaches - and have shared truly incredible ideas with us in Thrive (um... so you should join b/c did you know, there are three new options to join?): https://www.music-threesixty.com/thrive
- AND OUR PERSONAL FAVORITE - THE AUDITION LAB and PODS hosted by yours truly and Ralph Skiano here at Music360! It's a complete 360 course on audition prep based on Skiano's book Behind the Screen, A Winner's Guide to Preparing for Auditions: https://www.music-threesixty.com/audition-lab
All of the above offer thoroughly solid advice about what to focus on (like the three T's of tone, time and in tune), how to get your mind right, how to practice and record, what to do before and after your audition, who to play for and how often, personality quizzes so you can get to know yourself better, the ins and outs of propranolol (aka inderal or beta blockers), adversity training... and the list goes on.
We know you're serious about your prep, and have likely heard of all these people and books and programs....
Ixi here and, having just sat through 3 hours of auditions last week and knowing that many of you have your own coming up, am offering a few thoughts that I hope can solidify all your preparation and give you a sense of grounding.
Ready? Here they are:
1. The committee is FOR you! They WANT you to do well. They're not some sort of evil jury who is out to get you. It really truly is a supportive body of people. The cliché of "thank you, next" isn't true in 99% of cases.
2. Bring the boldest version of yourself. The most unapologetic you. The one that has conviction in your ideas, then performs with confidence of knowing your interpretation is the BEST.
3. Take musical risks. This is challenging because our first instinct is to play it 'safe'. Play all the 'right notes' and we'll pass. Often playing in the box will backfire, leaving you giving the jury a monotone, I don't want to say boring, but boring rendition. Instead, try finding your freedom of expression! Trust your prep and step out of that box.
4. Finally, don't think of the audition as a test. It's a performance, even if you start with demonstrating scales. In a performance, your goal is to communicate with, evoke emotions from, or engage with your audience. You can think of the audition as a way to make your listeners simply just have a better day. At the very least, your playing will be delivered with more joy.
Bonus tip: Please, please, please, please, please, please, please. Don't suck all the life out of the music when playing at a piano dynamic. Piano doesn't mean lifeless. Think of p being present, pleasing, polished, posh, pretty, powerful, perky... whatever floats your boat.
Auditions are part of a musicians life, and can look and feel different between school and pro. You can't control how they're run, what's asked, how the judges will vote, or how others will play - - but you can learn a lot about yourself, how you react to adversity, how you best deal with scary situations, and continue to evolve your approach.
I hope these 4 things help you with the latter!
Drop any other pearls of wisdom you've gleaned in your own lived experiences in the comments!