5 Ways to Assure Yourself a Successful Audition
“Focus on the process, not the results, and win the day.”
By: William Shaub, Online Editor
As a professional union musician, I’ve managed to navigate my way through countless auditions, concerts and recitals of varying degrees of difficulty. Not only can auditions and the like be extraordinarily stressful mentally, but also burdensome physically. These straining conditions can often lead to undesirable outcomes and not just the outcome of the audition.
If you’re a musician, you can mentally ‘burn out,’ meaning that practicing and performing becomes void of any satisfaction. If you’re a dancer or gymnast, the physical stress and repeating of manoeuvers can potentially be life-changing. Examples like these exist for almost any profession, and extend into realms such as job or college interviews, standardized testing and important performances.
After a recently successful audition season that involved auditions for multiple music schools and interviews for specific universities, I’ve compiled a list of some ideas that ‘got me through a rigorous journey.
1. Focus on the process, not the results. Getting caught up on your audition’s outcome simply isn’t a good strategy for long-term positive results. For example, what happens if you don’t get, or do get, the desirable outcome? Have you improved and learned from your experiences in preparation? Focusing on the process will not only clear your mind of hypothetical distractions, but intensely improve your conception of what really matters.
2. While it might be impossible to stay legitimately relaxed and calm shortly before and for the duration of your audition, it’s important that you find your inner peace for as long as possible. Good preparation is relaxed, non-apprehensive practice that allows for improvement in technique. Stay calm in the days before your audition! Automatic stress impulses, also called nerves, will strike soon enough. Focusing on your inner peace is a great way to prevent spontaneous headaches.
3. Clear your mind twenty minutes before you enter the audition room. The audition is the worst possible time to analytically focus on your technique, and releasing comments and criticism from your mind will force you to rely on instinct. This can be done, for example, by taking a pencil and paper to your practice room and writing down absolutely everything on your mind as quickly as possible. Your natural ability to instinctually shine will be even more visible.
4. Take a friend or family member with you! My friend Tyler accompanied me to New York recently for an audition, and made the experience much less intense and coincidentally reduced my (typically high) level of self-criticism. Having a support system with you, whether it be friends or family, can make an audition season seem like a blip in a vacation.
5. Win the day. ‘Win the day’ is one of my favorite sports quotes from Chip Kelly, Head Coach of the Oregon Ducks (college football team). It’s a phrase that applies to virtually any profession. ‘Win the day’ simply means that all of the stress and concerns of other activities in the past or future needs to be set aside. Your focus should be on your audition today. In this moment, nothing else in the world matters but what needs to be done.