Don’t Audition



1. Technical Prep- working on all the techniques that are used in the rep or may be asked for in the process of the audition. Making all of said techniques readily available upon request.

2. Mental Prep- preparing your mind for the multiple effects of the audition: anxiety, distractions, extended time of focus, recalling information (tempos, characters of pieces, etc.), negative self-talk, over analyzing during performance, etc. Visualize, meditate (breathing, body scan, mentality programming/mantra, yoga), audiate. 

3. List Prep- listen to recordings, get tempos (base, reasonable slowest, reasonable fastest), character of pieces (word or phrase to describe it), phrasing choices (traditional, personal). Learn the notes, memorize if possible, establish sound concepts, play with metronome (slow practice, shifting strong beats, accent every X number of bars, etc.). Play with recordings, play by yourself, experiment/improvise on elements in the piece, mock auditions alone/for x number of people. Play as if you are always performing, even as you practice. Who are you playing with, how do you fit in, how would you play it in the orchestra/how does it differ from the audition way/does it differ at all?

4. Self Prep- get to know yourself. How do you respond to different stimuli, what is your self-talk like, are you happy with your progress, are you frustrated, are you scared, are you disappointed, are you happy, etc. Connect with, face and understand all of the inner issues, and you will grow and increase your esteem and resolve. Develop a positive self-image that is strong enough to withstand all negativity.

How I Approach Auditions


1. Excerpts should be note perfect- If you can play the excerpt note perfect at least ten times in a row, it is ready for the audition. This increases your chances of you correctly executing it at the audition.

2. Everything must be in time- While performing the excerpt, no unintentional pushing or pulling of the tempo should occur, at all.

3. Everything must be in tune and have consistent timbre- Intonation should be as flawless as humanly possible, and you should develop your ear to hear even the slightest change in intonation during performance, as well as your reaction time to correcting that change. This also includes the color or timbre of the notes. The color and quality of the notes should not change unintentionally, but remain consistent throughout each piece. 

4. Every sound must be appealing and appropriate- The sound must match the character and style of the excerpt, and be consistent throughout the excerpt. 

5. Do at least 1 mock audition- You don't want to go into the audition completely blind, so do at least one test run before you take it. This allows you to observe how nerves affect your playing, and assess how you can adjust when they arise.

6. You must be comfortable- If you are not comfortable with being uncomfortable or playing each piece, you are not ready.

7. Everything must be musical- convincingly express a musical idea.

How I Go Through an Audition Round


1. Don’t audition- just present your interpretation of the music. Let everything else, any other conceptions of what the event is or should be, go.

2. Stay in the moment- do not try to predict the future, or remain in the past.

3. Subjective labels cloud judgement- looking at things objectively will prevent negativity or false senses of security from entering into the process and the actual event of auditioning.

4. Play the way you want- do not try to figure out what the panel wants. Simply play the way you prepared and want to express the music as.

5. Do not compare and despair- do not compare your current state to anyone else’s. You are your own unique musician and no one will do anything the same way you do it. Do not try to make up for whatever you think you lack based on their performance, experience, technical ability, etc. There is a big difference between aspiring to be, and comparing the current state.

6. Let go of controlling the minutia- you only have control of your conscious self. Whatever that entails, your preparation physically, mentally, musically, etc., are the only things within your control. Let go of everything else that is out of your control: the weather, audition time changes, unexpected events of any kind, who is in your round, who is on the panel, etc.

7. Do not ponder on who is in your round- it does not matter who is in your round. Do not let it affect you in any way.

8. The silence before you play- what do you do within the moments after, “This is candidate 7,” and your first note? Establish this and it will help stabilize you in between each excerpt.

9. Be quick to make drastic adjustments- if asked to make changes, make them and make them big. If what we do is not working or audible because of the hall, assess what you have to do to fix it, and do it on the next excerpt or run through.

10. Commit- make strong choices. Whatever you decide to do, go for it and do it at its, appropriate, maximum capacity.

11. Accept and let go of failure- be ok with things not going your way. What is important is the process leading up to the event, not the event itself. If it works out, you will still be progressing, if it doesn’t work out, you will still be progressing. Don’t make that one audition, your “only chance,” your, “make it or break it,” moment. “Ever tried ever failed. No matter, try again, fail again. Fail better,” Samuel Beckett

12. Don’t hide behind technique in fear of rejection- allow yourself, your interpretation, your musicianship, your being to be heard through the music. Do not play technically perfect without taking risks, or making musical decisions in the moment, in fear of making a mistake, doing something that they don’t like, etc.

13. Fear of success- invite the possibility of succeeding. Let go of the paradigms created for yourself through negative events, and occurrences of failure. This goes hand in hand with a healthy self-image.

14. Assess and manage your perception- objectively look at everything. Do not place speculative attributes to whatever happens, during the process of auditioning and the day itself.

About My 9th Audition

Ways I coped with my Nerves

  1. Slow, deep, deliberate breaths

  2. Breathe normally but pay attention to the feelings or sensations of breathing

  3. Stay in or return to the present moment

  4. Relabel what is happening

  5. Fact check your thoughts

  6. Have a distraction prepared

  7. Staying hydrated

  8. Eating a banana

  9. Reduce caffeine/sugary drinks

  10. Accept and process the feelings

  11. Expose yourself to nerves often

  12. Learn what triggers your nerves/find an antidote for each trigger

  13. Challenge negative beliefs

  14. Engage in slow, deliberate movements

  15. Carry a special object

  16. Find ways to feel at home in any space

  17. Count something

  18. Get enough sleep

  19. Exercise regularly

  20. Seek professional individual help

Trust Yourself