4 Audition Tips for Musicians – Dealing with Audition Nerves

April 28th, 2014 by


In the weeks leading up to a big audition, it isn’t uncommon for musicians to spend night after night tossing and turning. The only thing more nerve-wracking than the audition is the fact that you’re so nervous about it. What if you’re so nervous when you sit down to audition that you can’t play?

There are a few things you can do to help calm those nerves in the days leading up to an audition. By following these audition tips for musicians, you may not be able to completely eradicate your nervousness, but you’ll at least be able to settle your nerves enough to do a good job.

Be Prepared

The more you practice, the more it will feel like second nature. Rehearse your audition piece effectively in the days leading up to the audition. By doing this, when you do show up for the audition, even if your entire body is trembling, you’ll be able to center yourself and play as though it’s something you do naturally. The old adage, “Practice makes perfect” holds true here. However, the night before the audition you should get plenty of sleep so you’ll awake rested.

Visualize Your Success

Often we spend so much time imagining total failure, we convince ourselves that’s exactly what will happen. Instead of visualizing yourself completely flubbing the opening notes, take a step back and imagine the entire audition going perfectly. Picture yourself as confident and poised, with the judges looking on in awe. Positive visualization techniques have been shown to have an impact on a person’s physical performance. Any time you feel those words of self-doubt creeping in, replace them with positive images and you’ll soon find your nervousness diminishing.

Use Meditation Techniques

Deep breathing has the ability to calm the mind. Through slowly breathing in and breathing out, your mind and your central nervous system will begin slowing down and relaxing. The act of focusing on your breathing also helps take your mind off of your stresses. Begin practicing breathing techniques in the weeks leading up to your audition, but you’ll also find it’s especially useful in the final seconds before the audition.

Keep Going

During the audition, mistakes can happen. While playing a piece flawlessly is certainly ideal, a mistake isn’t a big deal, especially if you handle it gracefully. If you make a mistake, keep moving forward. Judges may see your ability to recover from a mistake and come back even stronger as a sign of true talent.

Most of all, have fun. All you can do in any audition is your absolute best and sometimes, that won’t be enough to win it. In any audition, a musician is taking a bold step in performing in front of the others with the specific purpose of being judge. Since judges have their own personal tastes and predisposition, much of the decision will be out of your control. No matter what the outcome of the audition, be proud of yourself that you had the courage and talent to stand in front of a panel of judges and play your heart out.

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Thanks for the incredible support you and your colleagues serve my students. It really makes an enormous difference for their success in the profession.