A Music Audition
Great Job! If you have decided to do some auditions and are reading this guide, you will be well prepared for success. Included is the best advice that I’ve got for helping you (or your child) pass your auditions, feel confident, look great, sound great, and achieve your true potential.
There are many reasons to take auditions. You might be auditioning to get a job or a gig. Or you might audition into a music college or conservatory program. Or a specialized high school or middle school like Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, or the Juilliard Pre-College division. Or maybe its the band program at your high school or middle school. We routinely help students prepare for the auditions into these programs.
You might even take an audition to practice auditioning just so you can be more prepared for a more important audition. The first step is to define your goal. What do you want to get from the audition?
- Do you want to pass the audition?
- Do you want to gain audition experience?
- Do you want to meet new contacts?
Part 1. Planning for audition success
No matter your goals, the next step in achieving excellent results in your audition is to plan for success. And to properly plan you need information. Because knowledge is power. Below are the questions that you should ask to better plan for your audition. These will help you be super prepared to achieve your best!
Research the answers to the questions below. Some of this information may not be available a year in advance. At the very least, you will want to know the audition requirements and the audition date.
If this information is not published yet, look at prior year’s requirements and dates. Auditions usually follow the same formats and are held at similar times each year. You can plan for an estimated date.
365 Days before your audition – Gather essential information about the auditions
- Date – What is the audition date?
- Time – What is the audition time?
- Location – What is the location of the audition?
- Directions – What are the directions to the location? Be sure to check schedule changes, road construction and closures, and anything that might be out of the ordinary.
- Travel Time – How long will it take to get to the audition? Be sure to include extra time for emergencies like rerouted trains, or traffic on the highway.
- Required Music – Is there a set piece required? Is there specific music that I must play?
- Music Requirements – If I choose my own music, are there specific requirements?
- Memorization – Is the music required to be memorized for the audition?
- Time Limit – How long will I have to perform?
- Skills – Will I be required to demonstrate skills like playing scales or sight reading?
- Resume – Is a resume required? How many copies should I bring?
- Headshot – Are headshots required? How many copies should I bring?
- Dress Code – Is there a specific dress code required?
Audition Equipment, Facilities and Resources
- Backline – What gear will be provided, such as microphones, amplifiers, PA system?
- Instruments – If you play an instrument that is not portable or able to be set up quickly such as piano, drums or organ, will an instrument be provided for you to use?
- If so, will another instrument be available for warm up?
- If so, how will you schedule rehearsal or warm up time?
- If so, will another instrument be available for warm up?
- Warm up space – Will there be space to warm up or rehearse before the audition?
- How do I schedule space, if required?
- Waiting Area – Where will I wait for the audition?
- Auditors – Who are the auditors? Do you know their work, preferences or bias?
- Accompanist – Will the organization provide an accompanist? Will you have the opportunity to rehearse with the accompanist if so?
- Point of Contact – Who is the point of contact at the organization on audition day?
- Check In – With whom should you check in? Where and when?
Audition knowledge is power
These are many questions. You will do best to answer them all. The more information you have, the more prepared you can be. And the more comfortable you will feel as a result. One of the leading causes of anxiety is the unknown. You can remove this anxiety simply by knowing more about the audition.
Create your audition timeline
Knowledge acquired. Now let’s plan! The following audition plan is optimal. Due to time constraints, you may have to make some changes as required to the deadlines.
However, for first time auditioners or for important auditions, try to take every step in this guide. And take them on the recommended timelines. This will give you the best chance for success.
Take a backwards planning approach to auditions. Start with the audition day, and plan backwards to earlier events. This will help you pick an appropriate date to start your preparation. This is better than picking a random start date and cramming everything else in.
Students do not always know how much effort it takes to be completely prepared. Professional musicians will take 9-18 months learning a solo program, or more. It’s not realistic to make significant gains is short periods of time.
We sometimes have parents or inexperienced musicians call and ask for help preparing for an audition 3 weeks away. There are many things we can do to help you prepare in such a short time, but you should not expect any big improvements in this time frame. In 3 weeks, we can work on presentation, presence, and some minor musical fixes. But very little musical progress can be made in such a short time.
For important auditions, you should expect to spend about a year preparing if you want a more positive outcome.
- 0 days – Audition day
- 1 day prior – Audition preparation, pack your bags
- 7 days prior – Mock audition
- 10 days prior – Finalize audition checklist
- 14 days prior – Audition for another gig or do a practice audition
- 60 days prior – Complete your application materials
- 70 days prior – Test audition
- 80 days prior – Develop audition answers, greetings
- 90 days prior – Gather missing information
- 90 days prior – Expressive performance, open mic, friends/family
- 140 days prior – Developmental performance, open mic, friends/family
- 180 days prior – Repertoire is memorized, fully learned