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?

If you’re worried this means you have to start practicing 12 hours a day, don’t worry – you don’t.

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

Umm…what does that mean, exactly?

Three practice “times”

Legendary violin pedagogue Ivan Galamian once wrote that practice has three parts, and that to be fully prepared for performances, we should be spending about an equal amount of time in each area. 

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

The second is all about figuring out how to make that happen, by working out all the 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 training ourselves to be able to play things the way we want them to sound the very first time, without stopping, from beginning to end (“performing time”).

Argh…there’s never enough time!!!

The problem, of course, is that it’s really tempting to spend all of our time in that middle third, in an effort to play everything as flawlessly as we can. Where we put off all the “musical stuff” or run-throughs in front of an audience until we have ironed out all of the technical details. 

Which seems like a perfectly valid way to approach things – except that it leaves our practice extremely unbalanced. Which we often don’t realize until we walk on stage, and feel our confidence drain away as we start wishing we would have practiced more. 

Of course, simply doing more of the same thing doesn’t usually solve the problem. In order to get different results, we often have to modify our approach. 

How so?

Three phases of audition preparation?

Rob Knopper is a percussionist. And over the course of 50-some auditions, developed an audition preparation process that culminated in his winning a position with the Met Opera Orchestra in 2011. 

Rob’s process has three phases too. And like Galamian’s three “times,” is designed to prepare you for the unique and specific demands of performing under pressure – not just for sounding good in the practice room.

As Rob and I compared notes on the research, and various systems and strategies for effective preparation, our conversations morphed into the development of a curriculum – and eventually, an online crash course and a live audition “bootcamp.”

Which best describes where you are at the moment?

No, I don’t have an audition system per se…

If your approach to preparing for auditions has felt a little disorganized or day-to-day, start with our free audition prep “crash course.”

You’ll learn:

  • how to ensure your audition preparation is more strategic and “balanced” (and discover what the heck that even means)
  • how to research your rep or list in a way that builds audition-day confidence from day 1
  • how to solve technical problems more effectively – and ensure they are solved permanently
  • how to catch all of the important little details in your playing that can otherwise be easy to miss – so that your playing has an unmistakable level of polish that sets it apart

Enter the email where you’d like the lessons sent below:

Yes, I have a system…but it doesn’t go up to 11

If you do have a system in place, but auditions still seem to be fall short of your best playing, you might be interested in our live, online, 8-week, audition preparation “bootcamp.”

You’ll learn all the essential elements of effective audition preparation, from the time you get the rep list to the moment you walk off stage. Like how to approach excerpt research, or how to seamlessly integrate mental skills training into your preparation. But we’ll also cover a bunch of advanced details, such as at-tempo note-learning methods and other counterintuitive practice strategies that prevent choking under pressure.

For more details, visit the course description here or watch Rob's 6-min ''wherefore an audition bootcamp?'' video.

Enrollment for the 2019 Winter Audition Bootcamp is now closed, but our summer session will begin sometime in spring 2020.

If you’d like us to let you know when enrollment opens up again, just enter your email address in the form below, and we’ll send you a few reminder emails when the time comes!