Turn Your Audition Prep up to 11

w/ Noa Kageyama & Rob Knopper

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 chatted further about various systems and strategies for effective preparation, our conversations morphed into the development of a curriculum and a live audition “bootcamp.”

We also put together a self-guided course to help you begin crafting your own structured audition preparation process. It’s one of the insider goodies that’s available to subscribers.

If your approach to preparing for auditions has felt a little disorganized or haphazard, you might find the free audition prep “crash course” to be a helpful place to start.

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