An open letter to musicians about auditions
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You’ve practiced for months trying to perfect the piece. You’ve gotten nervous and anxious. You’ve waited and waited for your turn to go and play. This is your chance to show them what you can do and how you play. Now you play and try your hardest not to mess up. One mistake can throw you off. Afterward, all you can do is wait. Wait for the results. When they are finally posted your heart skips a beat when you see the list and start scanning for your name. Sometimes you like the results, and other times they are not so pretty. This is the thought process of an audition.
Auditions can be a terrifying process and anxiety can make or break your audition. Too much nervousness can cause you to mess up more in your audition, but it is good to be a little bit nervous since it will keep you focused. Auditions usually go better when you are relaxed and play like you do everyday when you are not under pressure. If you put too much pressure on yourself, one tiny mistake will throw your entire audition. A little bit of confidence can make a huge difference.
With auditions it is difficult not to be nervous, especially you are auditioning for something you really care about or want to continue in the future. One way to avoid anxiety is to not overthink the audition. Do not have the mindset that if you do not make what you are trying out for, your life is over and you will never be successful. One audition does not determine the rest of your life. Other auditions will come along.
You also have to keep in mind who you are up against and how many people you are up against. Sometimes you will be up against people who are at a very high level and if so, not getting in does not mean you are not talented. For example, North Penn Wind Ensemble audition results just came out and some people were left feeling proud of themselves and others were left disappointed. WIth a school as large as North Penn, it is possible that some of the top musicians in the school will not be in the top group since there are so many musicians.
The easiest way to feel more comfortable in your audition is just practicing. The more you prepare, the more comfortable you will feel. Practice until it is impossible to mess up. If you know that you put in the necessary work for the audition, you will be more confident and play better.
If you are picking your own piece to audition with, do not pick something overly difficult. It is better to play an easy piece that you sound well on than a difficult piece that you are not 100% on. If you are assigned a piece, try to make it your own. Play more than what is written on the page. Think about the person you are auditioning for. They have to listen to the same piece over and over again, so interpreting the piece in a unique way will work in your favor.