Ready? Set? Audition!

imagesWith an important audition coming up, the following questions are often uppermost in a performer’s mind—”Am I going to be ready?” and “What do I need to do to be set or prepared ‘enough’ for this audition?”  In order to sing or play a successful audition, performers have to spend considerable time on the HOW and WHAT of their music and performing.  In other words, musicians spend a great deal of time focusing on what they want their music to sound like, and how they can play it or sing it in the best possible way.  Concentrating on the HOW and WHAT is the “Ready?” of “Ready? Set? Go!”  What about the “Set?”

Jeff Nelsen, former horn player for the Canadian Brass, in his TEDx Talk discusses how important it is that performers obsess about the WHAT and HOW in their performing!  It’s so easy, though, for performers to stop there.  When they do, their focus gets stuck—stuck on just getting what they want—impressing others, proving themselves to others, not losing or winning the part or the job.  When performers get stuck in this focus they find that their thoughts start running wild—analyzing and critiquing as they go, they start trying too hard,  they often play or sing to avoid making mistakes or having a memory slip.  If your performance or audition is just about playing or singing all the right notes and/or words at the right time and just so, then fasten your seat belt—it’s going to be a bumpy ride.   You’re going to have a hard time feeling “Set.”

Ok, so how can you be “Set” for that audition coming up?  In order for performers to be set and actually feel ready is to trust your preparation and focus on getting mentally prepared to perform.  What then, should you focus on?  What about your WHY?  Nelsen suggests that when musicians focus on the WHYs—the reasons behind their performing—their performances and auditions get easier and better.

No time like the present.  Take a minute—right now—to write down five reasons WHY you perform.  Why do you do what you do?  The following are only to jump start your process of discovering your own unique WHYs.  (At the bottom of this page is a green button to print this article.  Print it and fill in your own WHYs.)

My WHYs:
  1. why do I perform?
  2. what is my story?
  3. what is it I want to share?
  4. why did I choose to perform in the first place?
  5. how does performing make me feel?

“Ready! Set! AUDITION!” Drill

When you are practicing and preparing for your audition, keep your focus on the WHAT and HOW—your music and how you want it to sound.  Then, at least a week or two before the big day:

  1. Shut off the WHAT and HOW thinking and declare your practice complete.
  2. Decide that you are “Ready!” 
  3. Get “Set!” by shifting your focus to trusting your preparation and sharing your WHY with whoever will listen. (especially those who will make you nervous)
  4. Simulate your audition as closely as possible and play or sing it at least 10 times.
  5. “AUDITION!”

Would love to hear how this works for you.

Want to learn more about how to develop your own unique pre-performance routine and your most effective mindset? Then, check out The Relaxed Musician:  Mental Preparation for Confident Performances, A 14-Day Plan   Download Day 1 of the workbook and audio to see how the program can work for you.  With purchase, you will receive 2 great bonuses—Your Pre-Performance Checklist and the e-book, Letting Go of the Need to be Perfect!

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