Auditions are around the corner and you have been practicing for months. Your priority should be to recharge your energy levels so you can perform at your full potential on audition day. Most students overlook this step and will get sick a couple of days prior to the audition, or feel physically fatigued the day of, due to over practicing at the last minute. What are some concrete steps to bring your preparation to the next level?
Imagining your best performance
Now is a good time to start visualizing your dream performance in front of the committee. Did you ever experience a performance where things just fell all in the right places? You felt calm yet energized, relaxed and powerful and overall played at your best. Perhaps there is a bit of concert magic for these special moments, but most likely, you set yourself up for experiencing such a great performance. In your practice breaks, turn off the light, sit down and revive these happy performance memories. Use this as a template to visualise your upcoming audition.
As most of our performances don’t exactly go according to plan (because we are human!), strive for excellence, versus perfection. If something happens, here are a few acronyms which you can use to recover:
These acronyms will help you get back into the zone and continue according to your initial plan!
Two nights prior to the event is when you should go to bed a little earlier than you normally do. It takes that much time for your body to process sleep! You can go to a normal bedtime the night before. Swap screen time for any Don Greene’s book on Sports Psychology applied to musicians. You can also practice meditation by simply bringing awareness to each inhale and exhale, and use body scanning techniques to mentally relax every part of your body, from the toes and up. Sweet dreams guaranteed!
In the week leading up to the audition, you might feel under more pressure than usual. You might feel more sensitive to criticism, experience ups and downs, and even take yourself a bit too seriously. My biggest wish for you at this stage is that you do everything that you can so you are in a good mood! Watch inspirational movies (I recommend Jiro Dreams of Sushi), or TV shows who make you laugh (always “The Office” for me personally). Get some light exercises to release endorphins and to get your blood flow moving. I practice yoga, and walk or bike to work. I would recommend any physical activity that your body is used to. Now is not the time to start CrossFit if this is not already part of your routine. Starting the day with a walk outside is an amazing tool to uplift your mood while getting some fresh air and exercise.
It’s all about character
My last tip for you is to write on a post-it note three keywords for each work (and movements) that you are playing at your audition.
Here are the three questions you will need to answer:
- What is the character (e.g festive)
- What kind of sound do you need to achieve this character? (e.g resonant)
- How do you make that sound? (e.g bow contact + speed)
Mock auditions in front of friends and family are a must. It will give you the opportunity to practice taking the time prior to each piece or movement to read these keywords. This will make your music making clear and convincing.
You are now genuinely and wholeheartedly ready! We are very much looking forward to hearing you soon and potentially working together next year!
*Shout out to my mentor Jean-François Ménard who passed down a lot of these teachings to me. Stay tuned for more Sport Psychology writings from me around mid-april!*