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 Upcoming auditions
Author: Morrigan 
Date:   2002-11-16 23:50

Hi guys. As some of you know, I have an audition coming up for a music college (In Australia). 'Aussie Nick' is auditioning too!

This is the college I didn't get into last year, and am trying again.

I just was wondering if anyone could give me some final advice regarding some things I consider areas I may 'screw up' in.

Mental Preparation.
My usual preparation for any performance is not to change my routine for the day. I notice a lot of people make some special occasion of the day, however, I don't change a single thing in my routine. This keeps my mind off things.
However, this time, I'd like some more specific help on what I'm thinking just before I go in. The most difficult time for me is the 20-minute tram ride there - I go mental because I have nothing else to think about! I don't really know many ways of stopping my mind from racing.
During the performance/audition, I can usually keep my mind focussed and in control. However, when I stuff something up, even slightly, I keep thinking about the mistake and can loose control. I've been practising performance without self-criticism with my teacher, but is this enough? It seems to be working, at any rate.

The interview is very important, and makes up for about 50% of the audition - and they ask some very tough questions!
Last year I 'babbled' and said too much, mostly irrelevant. They will ask things like "Why do you want to be at this college?", "What do you have to offer the college?", "Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?" and "What would you say are your strengths are weaknesses?"
I already have these answers, but again, my problem is in my mind - keeping it clear and not babbling, and remembering to say what I planned to say.

Well, thanks in advance for your help guys, much appreciated!

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 RE: Upcoming auditions
Author: Aussie Nick 
Date:   2002-11-17 01:54

I know that you really want to get in and you think this place is top stuff, but do you really think it's worth changing who you are for? I realise you have to mentally prepare and give lots of thought to how you are going to handle the questions, but I am always completely honest and don't hold back too much. It's a bit different for me, and in some ways harder because I am transferring and not entering at 1st year level.

I can't help you with the 20 min tram ride. I have that problem too, I just try and deal with it. In regards to playing and having slips, you have to expect that. They are not going to care too much about little slips, but you can't afford to lose control by thinking back to it. Just pretend they are non-musicians and they wouldn't have a clue what you stuff up. Just try and cover it and show some professionalism about the situation. Maybe it will work better for you if you think to yourself "I'm not going to stuff up".... but personally I would rather mentally prepare myself for it because, especially playing from memory, you can expect to have a slip or two at some point. Each time I play through one of my pieces, the Spohr, I have a slip or two usually in a different place. I don't let it bother me too much because I think about the overall picture I am putting across.

Good luck and I'll see you at the auditions.

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 RE: Upcoming auditions
Author: Aussie Nick 
Date:   2002-11-17 02:10

Author: Aussie Nick (---.syd.iprimus.net.au)

Why does this always say I'm in Sydney when I'm in Brisbane? Sorry, this is a bit irrelivent :)

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 RE: Upcoming auditions
Author: Ella 
Date:   2002-11-17 05:24

I came up with a stress-reducing tactic that worked pretty well for my last audition: set an egg timer for 5 minutes. Spend these 5 minutes thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong. Then tell yourself that you are done worrying, and you will be if you trust yourself. After this there is nothing to do but try your best. I didn't "win" the audition, though, so I don't know how much my advice is worth :-( Ahh, well, c'est la vie. Best of luck!

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 RE: Upcoming auditions
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2002-11-17 05:41

One good thing to deal with stress is to "shake it out". When I'm stressed, I work out or run or something, but I don't think that's a good idea since you have to have wind to play. Maybe just shake your hands and loosen your fingers. It works for me.

As for that twenty minute ride, lots of things. You may want to bring music. A walkman or discman, and listen to the piece you are going to play. Or listen to something totally unrelated if you want to be distracted. There's tons of things to think about that AREN'T that particual audition, so maybe try doing some of that. One thing though, make sure you think positive. It really does help. If you think you're going to be successful, if you think you're going make little to no mistakes, more than likely that will happen.

Also, when you practice for it, practice as though you're performing. Start playing, and if you flub a note, continue as though you were getting graded. It's easy to stop and think about what you did wrong, but less natural to continue through the mistake so make sure you can do that if you're really worried about it.

But all this is just advice from an amateur who isn't even pursuing performance in college. So my last piece of advice is to only take what you WANT from my advice. Cause I have a tendency to give bad advice! lol. GL. Saw you're website, a little upset that the journal wasn't kept up to date! hehe


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 RE: Upcoming auditions
Author: Brenda 
Date:   2002-11-17 14:31

A suggestion for the 20-minute ride: Take your printed music out and mentally listen to it, remembering where you want the dynamics, where you'll breathe, how you want to phrase the piece and so on. With a pencil in hand to mark something you really want to remember, it can be a beneficial rehearsal without the clarinet in hand.

Also, about the interview, write down what you'd like to say. The action of writing and then reading what you've written will better engrave in your mind the main points you want to express and should reduce the babbling. Realize that you're going to forget something, or even add something on the spot that you didn't write. While playing realize that a note or two WILL come out wrong, and just convince yourself you aren't going to care about it. Enjoy the thrill of playing (hopefully) in a place where you can hear a lucious sound. Be positive!!

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 RE: Upcoming auditions
Author: Bruce 
Date:   2002-11-18 08:36


Music isn't my area of expertise, but I've conducted a number of interviews associated with hiring professional technical employees. Knowing that, you can use these thoughts as you see fit.

Writing down your key points is a good approach to handle the questions you expect. However, you can use a similar approach on unexpected questions by taking a breath and thinking about the key point or two of your answer before you respond.

When someone rambles on, the cause is often one of two things. It can easily happen if they start talking before they've really thought about what to say. It can also happen when they feel a need to share eveything that comes to mind hoping some comment will work.

Taking a moment to think first and chosing only a couple of key points helps.

If it feels like you're taking a bit too long to think, simply say "that's a great question." If a question really suprises you, instead of saying "I've never thought of ...", say "that's a different perspective than I generally ..."

If the interviewer wants to take a question further beyond the first couple of points you share, they will ask for more.

If you catch yourself talking too long, simply say "well, those are the main reasons" or something similar and stop.

If one question does not seem to go well just move on to the next. Be careful about revisiting questions. It seldom helps and often hurts.

Sit up, thoughtfully break and then regain eye contact as you think about your answers, these moments of thinking show interest in the questions and respect for the interviewer.

Finally, as already pointed out, be your true self. I've not met you, but I know for certain that you are much more interesting than any person you might dream up to fit what you think they want. You will and should flavor your responses to meet expectations to some extent, but stay true to the real you. Doing this will make you more confident. That leads to success.

Best Wishes!

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 RE: Upcoming auditions
Author: d dow 
Date:   2002-11-18 10:48

I have been on audition committees before with our orchestra and can say the following will help you when you perform:

1Be prepared. If you know your stuff and are relxed this will have an affect on you and the way you project the music and your personality in the music

2 Tempi, practice your music at a variety of tempos. You will be expected to play the nasty spot over again to test your composure.

3 Sound and dynamics are very important...when someone on the panel asks you to play a given pattern differently than the way you practice it they are also looking that you practiced a pattern or phrase a variety of ways.

4. Reeds...haVE number of fine working reeds that are ready to go!


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 RE: Upcoming auditions
Author: Ken Shaw 
Date:   2002-11-18 20:38

Morrigan -

Keep it simple.

1. Make sure you have at least 4 good reeds.

2. Go to bed the night before at the same time as usual, or, at most, 1/2 hour earlier.

3. Swear off alcohol and anything else 48 hours in advance.

4. The interviews are mostly about how well you get along with the interviewers. Treat them like adult friends you trust. Give honest but simple answers. Your best qualities are your talent and your determination. Your worst quality is excessive perfectionism.

5. During the audition, play a little slower than you think you can. Evenness is more important than speed. If you go too slow, and they ask you to go faster, you'll have already practiced the passage.

6. If you're on a stage, pick out someone in the audience and play directly to that person, trying to make that person feel your spirit. Do the same thing if you're in a studio, with someone across the room.

Break a leg, and a reed. Let us know how it goes.

Best regards.

Ken Shaw

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 RE: Upcoming auditions
Author: Dave 
Date:   2002-11-19 16:28

The killer question in any interview is "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" The strengths bit is okay, but so many interviewees fail on the weaknesses bit. The "correct" way to this question lies in turning the question around and making your weaknesses sound like a strength. A good one is to say that, in your enthusiasm, you tend to take on too many new projects, more than you can handle, but you have learned to step back and prioritise things. Something like that.

Remember that everyone babbles in interviews and the interviewers are far less likely than you are to notice it. It's a given that someone who really cares about the position they are being interviewed for is going to be nervous. Just don't get too flustered by it.

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 RE: Upcoming auditions
Author: Rick 
Date:   2002-11-23 18:52

Don't think about the color green!...g Can't do it can you?

Here are some prep tips that I know work from athletics.

Every nite from now until then, just sit in a quiet place, close your eyes and imagine the entire event. Getting up, eating, the ride, the audition, the interview with everything going perfectly!

On the tram ride, do the same thing, close your eyes and just hear yourself playing an absolutely perfect audition. Watch yourself give a perfect interview. In fact it is so good the panel cheers and comes up to congradulate you!

Most likely you will allow some doubts into your thoughts. Ok, but when you do see yourself messing up, you always recover so gracefully and artfully that it doesn't matter.

The fact is that like the green, you cannot not think about a suggestion, so the best way to prepare mentally is to constantly focus on positive, not negative. Thinking about negative accomplishes nothing, but reienforce that aspect.

There is a rather famous story about a British Woman Olypic Shooter who for 3 years sat for an hour every night and imagined herself shooting a perfect score in the Olympics. Shot after shot she saw them land on the X. Then she imagined herself walking up to the podium and having the Olympic Gold placed over her neck then standing as the natiional anthem was played. At the end of the 3 years she did everything she imagined she would, the first woman in history to shoot a perfect score.

Knock em dead kiddo!

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