It seems ironic to be writing this the week of my own audition, but maybe this time I’ll take my own advice. Every tryout has different music, judges, location, and scoring process. But the most important difference is how well you prepared for the tryout.
MONTHS BEFORE THE AUDITION
Be sure you are practicing the right materials. You don’t want to show up to an audition and realize that you spent months practicing the Junior High material instead of the Senior High material.
After you know you have the right material, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Don’t forget to use a METronome. I know they get annoying and that it gets frustrating, but the MET will be your best friend and keep you on track for the rest of your career as a musician.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Make sure you know the time and address of your audition and be sure to be there not on time, but early. This is band: to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to be dead.
Make sure you don’t leave anything behind:
- headphones or earplugs
- tuner and metronome
Leaving your instrument behind might seem impossible, but I promise it’s happened before. Don’t be that person… please.
Upon arriving at the location, find your tryout room, the practice room, the commons area, and the bathroom. Yes, the bathroom can be very crucial to the tryout process, especially if you suffer from nerves or need to escape the chaos of the practice rooms.
Performing well in an audition or tryout is a game and all you can do to get better is practice playing over and over again. The good players know how to make you nervous in hopes that you will mess up your etudes or scales. So be careful how you spend your time before your scheduled time, you don’t want to make yourself panic by paying too close of attention to the other musicians practice.
IN THE PRACTICE ROOM
This is where the earplugs come in. Nothing is more intimidating than listening to people play the etude better than you can. The practice room is going to be full of all different kinds of people playing constant loud music. Some people will spend the entire time practicing, but that may not be the best idea for you. I find that the more time I spend practicing, the more nervous I get. Warming up with the posted scales and running through the cuts 2-5 times is enough to be warmed up and ready to perform well. DO NOT WEAR YOURSELF OUT.
IN THE AUDITION ROOM
If you’ve never tried out for anything before, you should know what kind of tryout you are walking into. There are two types of auditions: live and blind. Most of the tryouts I have been to have been blind. This means you will be performing your prepared pieces to a block sheet instead of a visible judge. This process ensures that there are no biased scores or placements.
In the audition room it is important to stay calm because if you make a mistake in there it will reflect on your score, and no matter what, DO NOT TALK. If you talk, and the judges believe that it caused your judges to give you a bias score, your score could be eliminated, or you could have to tryout again.
When your judge or room monitor tells you to play a scale or etude, you are allowed to play one note before you begin. If you choose to do so, I advise playing the first note of the excerpt. TAKE YOUR TIME. Auditions normally run ahead of schedule because people begin playing the second the judge tells them to go. But you can take all the time you need. Before you play take a deep breath and pick a solid slow tempo. When I am nervous I tend to pick a faster tempo that will lead me to make more mistakes. Slow down and pick a comfortable tempo even if it isn’t the tempo marking on the piece.
AFTER THE AUDITION
Breathe. Relax. Don’t sit around waiting for a phone call or email, and don’t stand by the wall were results are being posted. Go have your fun.
But when results are posted remember that the biggest differences between auditions are the people your’e up against and the people judging you. You may get a really high score and get a low placement, or you could get a really low score and get first chair. Everything is situational and all you can do is work hard, learn the music, and perform.
Feel free to ask any questions about auditions or just let me know how yours went. I’d love to hear from you. Good Luck