day 11: how to get rid of audition nerves - a methodical process

it's day 11 of the 12 days of auditions! it's the video series where each day i cover a different topic on how to take auditions. yesterday was day 10: the ultimate guide to sight-reading and life. make sure to join the auditionhacker facebook group to see the rest of them. 

here's the transcription of the video:

nerves can affect you in a lot of ways, and they can pop up anytime without warning. and that’s because anything can happen during: you could trip over your shoelaces in between excerpts, you can accidentally call the proctor “dad,” or you could play wrong notes in front of the greatest musicians on earth.

although nerves a struggle for pretty much everyone, you can overcome nerves simply through your audition preparation, and this video is a 4-step strategy to do exactly that. 

want to learn how to prepare for auditions? 

enroll in my new online mini-course, called how to advance in an orchestra audition 101. it's totally free and it'll be delivered straight to your email starting on november 10th.

step 1 to overcome nerves: make a list of every way that nerves affect you.

break it down and be specific. there are two sides to nerves: cause and symptoms. things like fear and worry cause nerves, the symptoms are things like shakiness and sweatiness.

for example, they might be things like, “i’m scared i’ll get lost during an excerpt and stop playing.” or, “i shake whenever i have to play softly."


step 2: brainstorm one possible method to overcome each item.

every problem has a solution, it’s just a matter of taking the time to find it. and you can’t find the correct solution until you experiment with a whole bunch of possible fixes. so for each component of nerves from your list, think of one way that you could possibly solve it.

for instance, if i’m scared that i’ll get lost during an excerpt, then maybe i should try “repeat each measure 20 times so i can muscle memorize it. that way, if my brain gets lost, my hands will keep going.” for, “I shake whenever i have to play softly,” then maybe i’ll try this, “next time, do pushups before each mock audition so i can simulate shaking and adapt to it."


step 3: in your next audition process, experiment by trying those possible solutions

add these methods to your plan so you can see if they solve those components of nerves that you defined in step 1.


step 4: after the audition, evaluate whether each one worked.

the audition is a test of your audition process. afterwards, you can decide if these solutions worked or if you should throw them out and try something new. eventually, you’ll find the answer. just like thomas edison said: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

rob knopper

hailed by @nytimes and james levine as needing 'louder triangle notes'. recorded delécluse: douze études for snare drum, percussionist in @metorchestra.