Tips for a Successful Audition
Leah's Tips on Confident Auditions:
To give your audition with confidence, you need to learn how to play when you’re nervous. Playing before a room full of critical ears can be very scaring and nerve racking. If you’re not prepared to deal with nerves, you might find that shaky, sweaty hands, or memory slips keep you from playing your very best. So, to prepare, play your audition material in lots of strange places. For example, play in different rooms of your home, or even on the staircase. Play at your school, and if you can, find a stage to play on. If possible, play you audition in front of a practice audience. Remember, when you’re playing a practice audition, you should include the scales, sight readings, and any other components that they are going to ask you in the real audition. Have your practice audience choose the scales, or sight reading pieces at random for you. Good luck!
Christy addresses these questions for a successful audition:
1. How can the student feel best prepared for an audition outside of practicing?
The student needs to know exactly what the judge is looking for and what the goal of the audition is.
Most judges are looking for a musician that is prepared and can play or sing with confidence and a good tone. A student can achieve this by preparing for the performance for many weeks. A few days before the performance the student needs to get plenty of sleep. The morning of the audition the student needs to eat a good breakfast. Before the audition the student needs to have a good warmup on their instrument. Once they are in the audition it is important to relax and show confidence that they are prepared and ready to take on the reward from achieving good results in the audition.
2. What unusual practice methods have you found successful in preparing?
I mark my music with color pencils or a yellow highlighter to help me be aware of changes of tempo, dynamics or accidentals.
3. Is it better to be nervous or calm during an audition?
It is better to be calm during an audition. Being nervous may bring on emotions that show that a person is out of control and leads to making playing mistakes. A person that is calm is well prepared and shows maturity and ready to handle the reward that is being reach through the audition.
4. What should a student focus on for a last minute audition?
Good musicians are always prepared for last minute auditions by practicing consistently on scales, sight reading and technical passages. Good musicality shows that one is prepared for those last minute auditions. When asked to play for a last minute audition be sure to understand all that is required to perform, what the judge is looking for and be calm.
5. A lesson from one of my audition experiences:
During my 11 years of piano lessons in my childhood and teenage years I auditioned for district and state piano competitions. Requirements for the competition were to perform theory exercises and three memorized pieces of music. I had prepared for months and felt very confident about the audition.
When I performed for the audition I played through my theory requirements and two prepared pieces. I started to play my third piece but I could not remember the first two notes of the piece. I finally asked the judge to please give me the first two notes and he kindly helped me out. I was able to complete the piece and made high ratings.
The lesson learned from that is that when you make a mistake or forgot a few notes don’t let it miss up the whole audition. Stay calm, take a deep breath and try to recover from the mistake. The judge does not expect a perfect performance but a performance that shows you are a good musician and can recover from mistakes and can continue to make the rest of the performance a success.