I am in the midst of preparing for my first audition in about a decade. Wowzers! As I work through this process, I thought you might find it beneficial to hear about a couple of things I’m keeping in mind to help me thrive during the audition prep phase. Not only am I shifting away from dreading the audition process, but I am also embracing all the great things that come with this kind of intense work.
The audition is a tool for MY artistic, personal, and technical growth as a musician. Often, we view auditions as assessments. How well we do (or don’t do … ahem) determines our value as a musician. I’m awesome because I advanced; I’m terrible because I didn’t. But, that is simply not the case! Instead, I choose to use the audition to help me meet my overall goals. I have control over the success of the audition for myself because I determine what success looks like for me. Did it help me get in shape? Heck yeah! Was I able to play for colleagues I otherwise wouldn’t have? Yup. Did I prove to myself that I can show up consistently in the practice room and honor this goal without quitting? Totally! Whatever your personal goals are, try to determine how the audition can be a tool to help you get there.
I hold the result of the audition with an open hand while also fully believing that I will win it. For me, being All In on believing I can win the audition is important. It keeps me finding solutions when I’m frustrated, helps me to continue to elevate my playing, and it gives me a resource of encouragement as I pursue this demanding work. But, in the end, I know that I don’t have control over what happens that day - what kind of player the audition committee is looking for, how my nerves will show up, or any number of other variables I have no control over. And so, I release the events of that day from my control and show up the best I can at in that moment.
I have strong mental discipline around allowing negative and defeating self-talk in my head. I am no longer a musician who will shame herself into … anything. I don’t believe I suck, I don’t believe any of it is too hard, I don’t think I’m never going to “get it.” But those thoughts still come up! Those are well-worn neural pathways that still get triggered. However, when I see an unkind, self-sabotaging thought I either reframe it to something that is actually true OR, if I can’t do that, I take a break. What I don’t do is sit in a shame spiral thinking I can practice my way through it.
I choose to trust my unconscious. I am intentionally laying the groundwork for my unconscious to work on my behalf through visualizations and guided meditations. I am feeding my unconscious beautiful, nourishing images and feelings and trusting that it will work on my behalf as I prepare for the audition. If a new practice strategy comes up for an excerpt, I try it. If my intuition is telling me that today I need to listen more than I play … I go with that. I believe my unconscious is working alongside me to meet my goal. I trust that inner wisdom.
Auditions don’t need to be overwhelming and soul-crushing. In fact, they can be powerful tools to fast-track your progress on big goals.
How about you? What has the audition process been like for you? Send me an email and we'll find time to chat about it!
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Founder of The Musician's Mindset
Katie is a certified life coach dedicated to helping musicians overcome stage fright and believe in their own unique artistic voice. She believes live classical music is a powerful antidote for the division, pain, and loneliness pervasive in the culture and strives to support all artists to confidently share their work with the world. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, three kiddos, a dog, a snake, and a goldfish named Orca.