Rob & Noa's
Audition Prep Cheat Sheet

Have auditions been frustratingly hit or miss?

Where despite countless hours of practice and hundreds of perfect repetitions, your performances still fall short of the level of playing you know you’re capable of?

Don’t worry – it doesn’t mean you have to start practicing 12 hours a day.

It might just be that you need to make a few adjustments to your audition timeline, and ensure that your practice is more balanced.

…and what does that mean, exactly?

Three practice “times”

Legendary violin pedagogue Ivan Galamian once wrote that practice has three elements, and that to be truly prepared for performances, we ought to distribute our practice time thoughtfully amongst each of the three areas.

The first part involves figuring out what you want a piece to sound like (“interpreting time”).

The second entails figuring out how to make that happen, by working out the various technical and mechanical issues involved (“building time”).

And the third, of which he said we usually do too little, too late, is making the shift from practice mode to performance mode, and playing it through from beginning to end, just like a performance (“performing time”).

Never enough time…

The problem, of course, is that it’s tempting to spend all of our time on technique and mechanics, in an effort to play as cleanly and flawlessly as possible. 

Which seems like a perfectly valid use of time – but leaves our practice extremely unbalanced. Which we often don’t realize until the day of an audition, when we walk on stage, and feel our confidence drain away as we realize that we missed something important in our preparation…but can’t put our finger on exactly what.

So how does all of this relate to audition preparation?

Three phases of audition preparation

Rob Knopper is a percussionist. And over the course of 40-some auditions, developed an audition prep formula that culminated in his winning a position with the Met Opera Orchestra in 2011. 

Rob’s formula has three phases too, and nicely complements Galamian’s ideas. So we put together a 12-point audition cheat sheet, with key practice hacks to implement at each stage of preparation. We think you’ll find it to be a handy tool in planning out your audition prep timeline.

It’s a free download if you’re already subscribed to the weekly Bulletproof Musician newsletter – just enter in your email to download.

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