5 Tips for Students Before Their Orchestral Audition
When you’ve got a big audition pending, it’s quite normal to feel a certain measure of expectancy and nervousness. However, those jitters can make it difficult to play your instrument to the best of your ability. And since the quality of your performance will determine whether or not you earn a spot in the orchestra, finding ways to eliminate the anxiety that can harm your chances is a great way to ensure that you deliver a fantastic audition.
Being able to relax and focus will help you deliver an effective performance, one that dazzles the committee with your talent. Because they explore effective methods for developing personal calming influences, these five tips can help you prepare for your violin audition by reducing your stress right before you take the stage.
- Confident Practice and Preparation. Often, you know about an upcoming audition a few weeks in advance. If you’ve used that time to ensure that your violin and bow are in top condition, and that your physical and mental preparations have been taken, you can eliminate quite a bit of the nervous tension felt at an audition by knowing that you’ve practiced to advantage. Things like playing in various locations, knowing how to start strong at different places in your music, and regulating your tempo so that it shows off your ability are all helpful for creating effective practice sessions. These types of agile preparations help provide the confidence you’ll need to meet any unexpected situations and still deliver a great performance.
- Follow your routine. Many musicians follow a set routine when getting ready to perform. Methodically checking all the parts of your instrument, going through the same tuning routine you always use before playing (like adding the right amount of rosin to your bow), and other little steps that are part of how you get ready to play often have a calming influence because of their normality. Although you know in the back of your mind that this is an audition, carefully following your routine will help reduce tension by creating a sense of “the usual.”
- Use visualization techniques. Another way that you can calm yourself before your violin audition involves using visualization techniques. The same methods you use while “mentally rehearsing” are extremely beneficial for reducing stress and actually helping you play better during an audition. It works because your brain doesn’t actually make distinctions between mental activities and physical ones. When you envision yourself performing each note in each bar exactly how you’d like, your brain makes connections that are related to your muscles, and you’re actually creating muscle memory without any motion. Although you can read more about the effectiveness of visualization here, the main thing to remember if you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed is to stop, close your eyes, and project the images of your performance that you want to happen, rather than taxing yourself with possible mistakes and flaws.
- Employ controlled breathing strategies. Breathing techniques are very effective for controlling the level of pain or anxiety you feel. Indeed, it is one of the most widely recognized strategies used by women during labor to help relax. The basic technique includes:
- Inhaling for a count of five and slowly exhaling for the same length of time
- Increasing the count to seven and inhaling and exhaling for that length of time
- Gradually increase the breathing times until you feel a measure of relaxed comfort
Using breathing techniques will help you control your nervous energy, which will make it possible to deliver your best performance.
- More physical preparations. You can help make sure that the audition goes well and that you don’t face any additional headaches by practicing a few times in the exact outfit that you plan to wear for the audition. It’s not a great idea to wear a brand new pair of shoes that might feel too tight, or a beautiful flowing blouse that will possibly make performing certain bow motions difficult. Remove these issues by ensuring that you are comfortable in the clothes that you plan to wear.
Although an orchestral audition can be stressful, following these tips can help you limit the jitters that are perfectly natural before performing. You’ll be able to focus on playing your best, which is all anyone can ever do.