After being on a few audition panels recently, I thought I would share some ideas on what to do and not do when you go into an audition.
Do - Be Early!
This gives you time to warm-up your instrument and allow you to get in the right mindset so you can do the absolute best you can.
DON'T - Show Up Too Early
Showing up too early can make your mind wander or even worse you might warm-up or practice too much and waste your chops.
Rule of thumb:
Show up with enough time to warm-up properly, locate the room, and perform. An hour to an hour and a half suffices for Honor Band auditions depending on the player.
Get to audition room 10-15 minutes early to give yourself time to find your audition location and be ready.
DO - Be Courteous and Respectful
Say hello and ask any important questions you have at the very beginning. Remember, Someone is taking time our of their day to listen to you play.
DON'T - Ask to Play Something Again
The people in front of you are trained to adjudicate what you know. Often they will know whether or not you know something before you make a mistake. Replaying an excerpt or scale only lengthens the process and is unfair to all the other people auditioning.
DO - Take Your Time When Performing
There is no rush to play everything through. We are often nervous and just want to get it over with, but most mistakes happen when we rush through things. Take a second and think about what you are playing before you play it. Getting into the mindset of what you are doing and will help you play with intent and confidence.
If you have a question, try your best to ask before you play the excerpt. Asking in between multi-part excerpts will often break the thought process of the listener and might make them forget all the great things you just played.
DON'T - Come in Looking Like You Just Rolled Out of Bed
Think of an audition as an interview. It is a professional environment where we need to dress with the intent to be professional. Some of these auditions are across a large area with many schools. Try your best not to wear anything that will indicate which school you attend. Clothing with your school logo can create an unconscious bias and might work for or against you. If you want to have the best experience possible, dress for it.
DO - Make Yourself Comfortable Before Playing Anything
The goal is to play your best so make sure you are in the best position to do so.
DON'T - Talk About How Nervous You Are
I have a sincere belief that your level of nervousness correlates with how prepared you are. The more comfortable you are with the material, the less nervous you will be. If you talk about how nervous you are it will show and affect your performance negatively.
No matter the outcome remember the fact that you did something that most people fear more than deadly snakes. Performing is an act that exposes your vulnerabilities to a lot of individuals. In our minds, we often think we are judged by the imperfections in the art we chose to share. More often than not, the audience is in awe of the at that is taking place in front of them. The sooner we realize that is not our vulnerability on display but the art that we create, the faster we become comfortable with performance. I see it more as having a passionate, intense conversation with someone as opposed to giving a big speech in front of a bunch of people. It's probably not a bad idea to think that right before you perform that the experience will be better than being in a room full of deadly snakes or any other fear you might have. It might put things into perspective. Any way you look at it, you are much braver than those who decided to sign up and not show up, and that counts for a lot and is an important quality to have as you move into the real world.
Feel free to add your own tips or experiences down below.