Audition Day Advice

Student asking question to advisor

Dun, dun, dunn... it's audition season.

Admittedly I loved being in the midst of the hustle and bustle of auditions. It’s exciting, overwhelming, and fun. You might be thinking Ava, how are auditions fun? Exciting and overwhelming, sure, but fun? My audition days were stressful—I’m not going to sugar coat it—but they can be enjoyable too. After having gone through the process myself, I’ve decided to jot down a small list of audition advice to help make your experience a positive one.

Change your perspective
I thought auditions were all about being perfect. Well, not perfect but making the least amount of errors. While displaying a healthy and practiced technique is important, you should also show your artistry, your individuality, your drive, and most of all—your love for music. After all, you’re auditioning for a conservatory, not a job in the industry. This is where you will hone your talents, develop your artistry, professionalism, intellect, and individuality while working towards a music degree. Show the audition panel why you should discover your path at their institution. Honestly, my SFCM audition was the best audition experience I had. I went through my day with this perspective and had a great outcome!

Calming down on audition day
Your energy on audition day will be high and trust me when I say this, all of the other auditionees will be experiencing the same rush. It can be difficult to calm down. In my prior blog post, Five Ways to Overcome Feeling Blocked or Unmotivated in the Practice Room, I wrote a bit about tree bathing. This concept is all about putting away your electronics and walking around a green space to clear your mind. On my audition day, I found that taking a second—finding somewhere quiet—and listening to some music was what I needed to stay calm. So here's a stress-relieving playlist I created for you to feel more settled.

Panicking in the practice room
What if I trip walking into the room? What if I forget all of my notes/words? What if, forbid, I have a hand cramp? Let me tell you, I have been there! I remember sitting in a practice room before my audition having a good ole panic about all the things that could go wrong. It’s taken some time, but I’ve found a few things that can solve this irrational and unnecessary thinking. If this ever happens, remind yourself how much you’ve put into your art. On your audition day, you might have a big urge to practice as much as you can, but I’d advise otherwise. Most times this causes extra stress, so remember that you’ve prepared all you can — you have everything you need. Close your eyes and breathe. When it’s your turn, warm up. After practicing your audition material, play or sing something that makes you happy, that way you can head into your audition in a calmer state of mind.

The moment before
When you walk into the room and introduce yourself, you have the opportunity to take a moment for yourself. If you struggle to center yourself in such a short time, you may find that saying something to yourself helps tremendously. Perhaps try, “Just have fun,” if you’re feeling the pressure. You could think, “Okay, let’s do this thing!” to pump yourself up. You could even try my mantra, “Thank you. Be here. Say something real.” This aims to thank those around me, remind myself to be present, and reinforce the importance of living honestly through music. However you use that moment, use it to your advantage so you can have a more positive experience.

The post-audition treat
So, you’ve completed your audition, wahoo! Feel free to take off those heels, or loosen that tie—you are done! Grab some ice cream, get your nails done, or have a pajama dance party in your hotel room. It’s important to treat yourself—you’ve worked so hard to get this far, and you deserve it!

Sending you high fives and hugs on your audition day or like us vocalists say “Toi, toi, toi!”

Ava Harmon ’21