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Music Careers

Topic: Music Careers
young girl auditioning for music school and how to prepare yourself

Music School Audition - How To Prepare

Posted by StringOvation Team on Jan 23, 2017

If you want to become a musician, there’s no getting away from the fact that you’ll have to endure a number of music auditions for both your education and your eventual career. In fact, your music school audition plays a key part in preparing you for other interviews later on, and knowing how to ace your tryout now can prepare you for tougher ones in the future. The following tips and strategies can be used to help you get ready for any music audition, regardless of how intimidated you feel.

Understand the Rules, Regulations, and Requirements

The best way to fail your music audition is to neglect to learn the rules. Every audition is different. Although they will all have some elements that are the same, knowing the differences can help you either succeed or fail. For example, if your audition is only supposed to be a certain length of time, but you go over or under that amount, no matter how great you play, you could be disqualified. Likewise, if you’re supposed to play a certain portion of a piece, but you learn the wrong measures, your efforts will be in vain.

Learning all of the requirements and rules is crucial for any type of audition. Take the time to read them and write down exactly what you need to know. That way you can start off on the right foot with your future school.

Know Your Music

Most school auditions will have a specific piece (or pieces) of music to learn, and they may or may not allow you to play a personal selection. In any case, you must know your music so well that you can play it perfectly. When practicing a new piece, start off very slow. Reduce the tempo considerably, that way you can train your muscles to play it correctly the first time. Use deliberate practice techniques to ensure that you can correct any execution problems and that you don’t overwork yourself. Giving yourself plenty of time to prepare is a must.

Practice Tips

Because an audition can be stressful, you should try to arrange your practice so that it will mimic the situation. For example, see if you can arrange for some time in an auditorium (if that’s where it will be), and have some friends and family act as your audience. Many community centers and public schools will allow you to either rent or request time at a place that will be similar to the audition stage. You can also ask your current teacher for venue ideas. When you practice, try to recreate exactly what it will be like during your audition.

  • Clothes: Wear garments that won’t hinder your performance. Loose sleeves, giant collars, or tight shoes—no matter how awesome they look—will only serve to distract you while you’re playing, so they should be avoided.
  • Sight Reading: If sight reading is part of the audition, practice using new pieces of music or download some music apps that will help you sharpen your skills before the big day.
  • The Day Before: Make sure that you eat a balanced meal the night before your audition. If you think you might get jittery, light snacks that are high in protein are a good idea for breakfast or lunch. Also, prioritize your rest. You don’t want to be sleepy because you fretted all night.
  • Breathing: Knowing how to reduce stress through controlled breathing techniques can help you calm any pre-audition nervousness.
  • Visualize Success: This is a mental technique that has proven effective for athletes in a number of sports and works for all sorts of situations. The concept involves clearing your mind of everything but seeing yourself performing. Basically, when you visualize and hear yourself playing exactly the way you want to, your brain won’t recognize the difference when you are actually performing your audition. It’s a technique that’s also taught for self-defense.

Be On Time

This is really a no-brainer, but being on time (or early) for your audition can have a big influence on the way you perform. If you have to rush to get there, you’ll be flustered; but if you get there and have plenty of time to get ready, you’ll be more likely to play well.

Ask for Help

Don’t underestimate the power of previous knowledge. Your current instructor has probably undergone a number of auditions, so ask for his or her suggestions. Your teacher will probably have advice (like don’t change your strings the night before a big audition) that can help you avoid making mistakes, and they’ll also offer a great dose of confidence.

Getting ready for a music school audition doesn’t have to be stressful. Just make sure that you’re prepared and you’ll be able to showcase your talent exactly how you’d like.

Music resources for students