Whether you’re a singer or musician, if you do covers or originals, attending auditions comes with the territory! Many see it as a nerve-racking experience, the pressure is on, the spotlight is on you and it makes even the most confident performers a little nervous. Your mindset can really make or break the audition, so it’s important that you try to stay calm under pressure and change your perspective of the situation. While singing auditions and music auditions, in general, can be a source of anxiety, they are also great opportunities for you to meet new people, advance in your career and more. Your mindset might take a while to work on and it will become easier the more experience you have, however, being well prepared goes a long way in helping you feel self-assured. Here are our top 10 music audition tips that will help you nail your next audition!
Being prepared for an audition goes beyond simply learning the songs and playing them well. Most bands and businesses will want to see that you’ve done some research on them and you’d be surprised how many people actually skip this step! Finding information about the band or the company will not only show your interest and enthusiasm but also help you identify what they’re looking for. Doing your homework gives you a direction on how to approach the audition, what style of music to practice and qualities you could highlight on the big day. This brings us to our next point…
Depending on the audition requirements, you’ll either have to pick a song that suits the potential employer or a piece that represents you the best. Ideally, the two will cross over. If you’ve already done some research as per the first tip, you’ll know which direction to follow. When it comes to choosing the right song, particularly, if you can perform anything you like, it’s tempting to show off and pick something that pushes your abilities. Try to avoid that and choose a song that still highlights your talent and skill, but also one you feel comfortable performing and have played live before. You need to account for nerves on the day, so picking a piece that you can play well even under pressure will ensure you come across professional and confident.
How to prepare for an audition the night before? The answer is, you shouldn’t. Unless it’s last-minute notice, always start practising as early as you can and schedule in extra practice time if required. Do this within reason, of course, don’t rehearse to the point of damaging your vocals or sustaining any injury, however, it’s important you put in the time to prepare yourself. If you’re busy and on the go, listen to the repertoire as you perform other tasks. It will help you familiarise yourself with the songs, their structure and lyrics. Fitting in 10-20 minutes when you have a break is better than nothing, so use your time efficiently. Pay extra attention to areas that need improvement to make the most out of practicing.
Food, hydration and sleep play a key part in our overall wellbeing and it’s important that you’re in a healthy state for the audition. In the days leading up to it, nourish yourself with healthy foods, get 8 hours of sleep at night and drink plenty of water. Following a healthy lifestyle helps you cope with stress a lot better and allows your brain to work at its best, assisting with concentration and memory. Take some water with you on the day and have a healthy meal before, but make sure you aren’t too full and bloated for the actual audition.
You will either want to fit in with the band or company you’re auditioning for or wear an outfit that will match your personal brand and image. Whichever it is, it’s important that you are comfortable during the audition. Tight or ill-fitting clothes will distract you from the performance and items that will make you too hot or too cold could make the whole experience uncomfortable, impacting on your level of playing. Go for appropriate attire for the job but keep your personal comfort and wellbeing in mind. Good hygiene practices and clean, ironed clothes can also make a huge difference to how others perceive you.
Before the audition, ensure your equipment is in working condition. Replace any guitar strings as necessary, check if you need to change or charge batteries for any devices and bring everything you need with you on the day. Coming well prepared and ready to play will indicate that you’re a reliable musician and that this will be standard practice for future shows.
Singing audition tips often mention the importance of breathing exercises, however, these can be useful for any musician. They will help you relax, stay present and get more oxygen to your brain. If you can, try to practice well in advance so you can reserve the day of the audition for other activities that take your mind off the audition stress. Hang out with your friends, go for a walk or focus on something else to take the pressure off.
Looking and playing the part is great, but what makes you stand out as an individual? Don’t get lost in trying to emulate everybody else, find your individual qualities and highlight them. Also, being confident in an audition is great, but don’t overdo it by acting too cocky. Above all, other people want to know that you will get along well and create an enjoyable work environment, so don’t be afraid to show your excitement for the role instead of playing it cool.
Musicians often don’t play just one role (pun intended), so it’s great if you have more skills to offer. Being able to drive and having your own transport is a huge advantage. Are you able to sing backing vocals, or perhaps contribute to some promo material because of your graphic design skills? They may not seem relevant to you, but they make a difference and show that you have additional abilities that will benefit everyone involved.
You may feel that your audition hasn’t quite gone to plan. Maybe you let your nerves get the better of you or just felt it wasn’t your best performance. Your first instinct is to just get out of the room as soon as possible, without saying goodbye, but don’t give into it. Chances are, you didn’t do as badly as you thought and storming out will actually just come across rude and jeopardise your chances more than your performance. Always remain professional and maintain a positive attitude. You never know, you may be given a second chance or you could be auditioning with the same people later on in the future. It’s always best to leave a good impression, there are infinite chances for you to run into them again in a similar setting.
We hope you enjoyed our 10 music audition tips. As with a job interview or any assessment, the key take away is to always be prepared, do your research, practice and remain professional and approachable on the day. Remember that the people auditioning you aren’t setting you up to fail and this is a great opportunity for you to show others what you can do and how far you’ve come in your musicianship. Auditions become easier the more you attend them, so don’t be put off by a couple of bad experiences, think about what you can learn from them instead. Then go ahead and apply that knowledge to the next one!