As a musician, an audition is one of the most stressful experiences you will have. It’s essentially a job interview and a performance in one, all for those who hire the best musicians in the world to play for their orchestras. It’s as intense as it sounds, but there are things that you can do to make things a little easier.
First of all, you need to play as much as possible when you’re not auditioning. This, of course, means knowing the repertoire for the audition inside and out, but it also means finding opportunities to play other things. Playing keeps your skills sharp, especially when you find chances to play for someone other than yourself. These opportunities also allow you to relax and have fun, which is often totally different from auditioning for a position that could be your livelihood.
Play in a Large Space
If you can, try playing your instrument in a large space to get an idea of how you will sound when you audition. Auditoriums, empty concert halls, and even school gyms will be better than a tiny bedroom or practice space. Just don’t force yourself to have a “big” sound when you play. Play naturally, and the right sound will come to you.
Don’t Worry About Not Having the Best Instrument
Yes, it’s nice to have an instrument that is hundreds of years old and worth thousands of dollars, but that isn’t as important as your ability to play well. It’s better to sound great on what amounts to a high-end student instrument than to sound mediocre on something worth more than most people’s homes. Focus on your own musicianship and technical skill instead of the quality of your instrument.
Be Prepared for Stage Nerves
Stage nerves can be the undoing of even the best musicians, but while there’s no way to know exactly how you’re going to feel until you’re on stage, you can at least get used to how it feels to play with a racing heart. Before you practice your repertoire, try getting some exercise to elevate your heart rate and work on calming yourself down before playing.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Almost nobody aces every audition, so don’t get discouraged if things don’t work out. Even the best musicians fail at auditions more often than not. Think of these so-called failures as learning experiences, and focus on how you can improve for the next audition. Music should be enjoyable for the musician and the listener, so don’t let one audition ruin something that should give you so much joy.