how to not get nervous for auditions?

how to not get nervous for auditions?

how to not get nervous for auditions?    19:24 on Wednesday, January 12, 2011          

Account Closed
(5 points)
Posted by Account Closed

Hi! I am wondering, what do you guys do before an audition, infront of a band, or in a private room, to not get nervous? i always start shaking and im really tired of it cause i always dont perform well then. any tips? thanks!

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    22:40 on Wednesday, January 12, 2011          

(130 points)
Posted by TBFlute

There's no way to not be nervous, if you really care about what you're doing. Shakes, though, are entirely manageable.

Avoid caffeine right before performing. Avoid talking about your nervousness, because you want to focus on everything you do right, not what can go wrong. Deep breaths, some stretching, and a bit of inane babble to whoever feels like listening can really calm you down.

I know a few of my fellow musicians who have prescriptions for beta blockers before they perform, but you don't necessarily need pills to control your shakes. Personally, I enjoy the feeling I get after a good performance, and the rush of adrenaline is part of my whole performance experience. Just practice hard, play your best, focus on playing beautifully, let the notes fall into place, and have fun!

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    06:12 on Thursday, January 13, 2011          

(1743 points)
Posted by Patrick

TB is correct, all the advice is good.

one way to deal with this is to practice your audition/performance before you do it, like a dress rehearsal, that way you get used to being nervous, simulate the nerves.

nerves are completely normal, most great performers get stage fright

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    07:52 on Thursday, January 13, 2011          

(51 points)
Posted by Kshel

Make sure you breathe deeply. Higher levels of oxygen will help you think more clearly and calm you down. Also, focus on the music-- don't look around at the audience until after your performance.

If you approach it as a performance that you've worked hard on and deserve to do well, you will feel much better about yourself rather than saying things like "I'm not ready" or "I really don't want to go through with this." Get excited about it!

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    08:28 on Thursday, January 13, 2011          

(152 points)
Posted by CessiMarie

I definitly agree with the others advice. Another thing that helps me when doing any kind of public performance of something that is important to me is to decide that it's ok to worry a little beforehand but when it is time to play it's time to focus on the playing itself, and not on the audience or other concerns. You have been preparing for the event and might be extremely well-prepared or not. When it is time to play there is not much you can do about it anymore. You cannot go back and practice more or change you mind totally about how to play a certain section, and consequently there is no need to worry about those issues at that point. The best thing you can do is to trust the preparation you have done, and to do the best you can at the occasion. Simply enjoy the moment.

Performing anything live is a risk. Sometimes you do great and sometimes not. Nonetheless, if you don't do the audtition there certainly is no chance you will get into whatever you are auditioning for. So the audition is actually an interesting opportunity that is worth the effort and that you can enjoy.

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    17:59 on Thursday, January 13, 2011          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

Here is what you really want.

He's got two books out for musicians. This man is wonderful genreous individual and is very good at what he does. You don't have to do individual studies, the books are great and written well.

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    10:44 on Sunday, January 16, 2011          


I get superrrrr nervous too! and because my music teacher is a !****! he always gives me the solos and !***!. its nerve wracking! one tip is imagine someone, anyone, who you really like, sitting in the audience watching you and you want to impress them. a crush, or just someone random. or do what i do; pick a cute guy in the audience and play it "for him".
i hope i helped you out a little!
- becca

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    08:44 on Monday, January 17, 2011          

(152 points)
Posted by CessiMarie

LOL, I just love that reply, Becca! Please, come back and let us know how things went.

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    17:04 on Monday, January 17, 2011          


WELLL i have a performance exam tomorow so i'll tell you how things went :P
there's this really cute guy in my class....


Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    10:14 on Tuesday, January 18, 2011          

(89 points)
Posted by goldenflute

There's probably not one good answer. It all depends on what works for you and you've gotten some good advice already. What I try to do is get into the music itself. Focus on the music, not the crowd. Make yourself a part of it and do not let anyone or anything outside of it distract you. Play as if you are playing for yourself and your own enjoyment. Then, as someone else said, only when you're finished, should you acknowledge the audience. By that time, they will be applauding your great performance!

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    08:46 on Tuesday, January 25, 2011          

(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Performing "nerves" are unavoidable. But you can learn to manage them to a certain extent.

1.- You should be very sure of the parts you play and feel comfortable when playing them. Otherwise it could be you are not fully prepared. Still, you can play like that anyway if it is already committed.

2. Avoid coffee and caffeine-loaded drinks. They will increase your nerves. But I suggest you also avoid alcohol at all, as well as any tranquillizer pills or any medicament. In my case, two beers as suggested above could put me out of combat and force me make a hundred butterflies. But everybody is different.

3. Play many times in front of others, friends, family, neighbours, even at a public park if possible. If you cannot do it, try at least to imagine you are playing in public when practising.

We should reach a moment when playing in public becomes not so different than playing at home or at school. Not fully equal, yes, but as closest to it as possible.

All these things will take time, so if your audition is too close, just relax before playing and avoid any substances as said in 2.- If you can, playing a little slower as you normally do could also help. If you play in a group, this could be negotiated in advance. After all, everybody will have the same problem.

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    10:00 on Tuesday, January 25, 2011          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

Lots of good advice above. I have used Becca's method before and it worked very well; I even ended up marrying her. Jose Luis has some great points there as well. I'm going to add three more things.

1) Froydis Werke (a legendary Horn player) says if you get nervous find out what is it about the nervousness that makes it difficult to play? If you get the shakes then practice playing with the shakes. Run around the building or block and then directly go to your instrument while you're still huffing and puffing and try to play your piece. With your heart speeded up like that it will be difficult at first, but try it.

If your mouth gets dry, munch on a mouthfull of saltine crackers and then try to play with a dry mouth.

By creating a similar symptom and then practicing that way you will be able to play well when that symptom creeps up during the performance.

2)In Don Green's books, lectures, and seminars he teaches you to calm down, focus, and be prepared. Part of his method is moving as much of your playing into your right brain and away from your left brain function as possible. So practice your pieces really well. Know it backward and forward and you will have more confidence - also the less you think the more right brain the playing will be. Any thoughts you have about difficult fingerings, will I have enough air, will I hit that difficult high Db; are left brain thoughts. Any thoughts about the audience is left brain. Practice so you don't have to think; just play. Practice those difficult spots slowly and perfectly and then move them up in tempo so you don't even have to think about them.

3)We all like music, we all like playing music, people get happy listening to us play music. Yet, we all get nervous. 99% of professional performing musicians will tell you they still get nervous even after 20 or 30 years of playing. I wonder why. People want to hear us perform, many of them don't or can't play like we do. And for all of us who are talented enough, and who have the desire to play should be performing for our friends, family, and others. Could we make a mistake when we play? yes. But is that so bad. If you play from your heart and as musically as you can people will love your performance (be it a concert, an audition, or a placement exam). The people we love aren't perfect but we love them even with their mistakes - it's the whole package we enjoy. And music performing is the same way.

Don't Worry, Be Happy, Play Music.

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    12:32 on Tuesday, January 25, 2011          

(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

How interesting! Next time I will focus on the most beautiful girl in the audience.

I am married already so the method will not give that nice result, but it may help me play better.

Those nerves are present at all levels for -I think- quite different reasons, but all valid:

As a students, we have to face technical difficulties, fingering, tempo, good sound and so many others. When this stage is more or less accomplished, we have to improve on the tone quality, play faster, etc., because we want to sound as... (you put the name here).

As for accomplished performers, they have a reputation to preserve and improve and the critics on the Media may affect their professional future in different ways.

In fact, it is almost impossible to be fully satisfied ever and this must cause stress at any level.

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    08:55 on Wednesday, January 26, 2011          

(152 points)
Posted by CessiMarie

Excellent and interesting discussion! But "must cause stress", Jose? The situation is complicated, but surly there has to be some way to feel good about your current playing ability while at the same time acknowledging all the things that still can be improved, polished or learned? I love Johnlovemusic's 3rd bullet. Music can definitly be fun, valuable, and interesting even when not perfect. Striving to become a better muscian and to having goals is important, but we should not forget all the things that we learn on the way. See the things that you can't yet do as an inspiration, but don't underestimate the value of what you can do.

Re: how to not get nervous for auditions?    09:55 on Wednesday, January 26, 2011          

(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Cessi: you are right and this something I have to work on.

I still consider that even if one is satisfied with a performance -after the performance- there is usually some degree of stress prior to it. I should not have said "must", because there may be many exceptions and for several different reasons.

I only have the experience of our student concerts (thrice a year) and nerves are common among my colleagues and myself. And I think I have gone through some 15 of them already.

But we all manage to play anyway, nerves or not.


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