Music Audition Tips: Before, During, and After

Spring may be the big audition season for schools and some professional groups. But you can use some good audition tips all year. Whether you want to join a community band or go to grad school, you may need to audition.

Music Audition Tips: Before, During, and After

Knowing how to prepare and get through it can make it less scary. Then, you can enjoy the process and perhaps even look forward to it. Read on to learn more!

Audition Tips: Before

The period leading up to an audition can be very stressful. You have to make sure you know how to play the music. You may feel like you need to cram in a bunch of practicing, like a test.

Fortunately, you can do a few things to prepare. Here are some audition tips to consider before your next music audition.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

As soon as you know you need or want to audition for something, take the time to prepare the music. Some auditions have specific requirements that you have to follow, while others are more flexible.

For example, flutists usually need to play the Mozart Concerto in G Major for an orchestral audition. But when auditioning for college, you may need to play a few pieces that are each from a different era of music.

Either way, make sure you have as much time as you need to learn the pieces. Then, you’ll be able to perform the pieces if necessary. And you won’t have to stress about learning everything in the last week.

Create a Practice Schedule

The next thing you should do is figure out when you can practice for your audition. Think about how many days or weeks you have to prepare. You should also look at your work or school schedule and other obligations.

Create a practice schedule that works for you and your specific audition. If you have a lot of music to learn in not much time, you may need to practice more. But if you’re revisiting a piece or two, you may be able to practice less.

No practice schedule is the best for every musician. One of my best audition tips is to give yourself the time you need. Then, you can learn as slowly as you need, and you can have a successful audition.

Record Yourself

Once you get to the point of being able to play your audition music, you should record your playing. You can listen back to your recording to see if your tone sounds good or are if there are any missed notes or other problems.

The recording can help you determine what to focus on the next time you practice that specific piece. You can also send the recording to a teacher or friend to get their opinion and feedback.

Another great way to use recordings is to practice when you can’t play your instrument. As you listen to your recording, look at the score, and mark sections that need work.

Audition Tips: During

Preparing for an audition takes a lot of work, be it for a job, a school, or a community group. Even if you practice well and feel good about the music, you can use a few audition tips during the actual performance.

That way, you can make the audition less scary and more enjoyable. You may even increase your chances of getting the gig or getting into that program.

Breathe Deeply

One of the best audition tips you can follow in the moment is to take a deep breath. Auditions can be stressful, even if you don’t normally have stage fright. The purpose of an audition is for a panel to judge your playing, so it makes sense to be a little nervous.

Right before you enter the audition room and right before you start playing, take a deep breath. This can help you ground yourself. A deep, slow breath can also help you remember to calm down and slow down.

When I feel nervous, it can be all too easy to play fast. Adrenaline kicks in, and the (subconscious) desire to be done doesn’t help. A deep breath can remind me to focus on the music rather than the people in front of me.

Be Kind

When you’re at the audition location, be kind to everyone you see. This applies to the person checking you in, anyone auditioning, and definitely the judges. It can also apply to anyone, especially if you don’t know what the judges look like.

The last thing you want is to run into one of them in the bathroom and be rude, only to find out they’re part of the panel. Whether you’re auditioning for a community ensemble or a professional group, you want to be professional.

If you make a good impression, it may give you an edge over someone who performed similarly but was rude or conceited. Of course, you don’t get the chance to interact with the judges in a blind audition. But you can still be kind to everyone else you meet.

Have Fun

One of the most overlooked audition tips is to enjoy your playing. You’ve worked hard to get here, and you deserve to have a bit of fun. This will be the easiest if the music you play is music you like.

But even if you don’t really like the music, you can still have fun playing your instrument. You can smile when you have a rest, or you can smile before and/or after you play. That can also help show the judging panel you care.

I know it’s easier said than done, but playing can be fun. An audition can be more stressful than a recital or concert. But if you can learn to have fun at an audition, it may not be a big stressor to you.

Audition Tips: After

The work doesn’t always stop after an audition. Some musicians move right to the next thing: the next audition, concert, or whatever. But you don’t have to go go go right after a big event.

Here are some audition tips to consider after you finish playing.


First, you should give yourself time to relax. Feel free to take a break from playing for the rest of the day or the next few days. You probably practiced a bit extra before the audition, and you deserve time off.

Enjoy this time with your family or friends. Go get a meal from your favorite restaurant. Watch your favorite movie or television show. Practice some other form of self care.

Don’t feel like you have to go right back to your normal practice routine. Of course, if you have multiple college auditions, you may want to practice for the next one. But after you do the last audition, you can take a break.

Keep Yourself Busy

Waiting for the results of an audition can be just as stressful as giving the audition itself. As you wait to hear back, focus on something aside from the results or music in general.

Maybe you like to read, so you read your favorite book. Or perhaps you keep yourself busy by playing with a pet. You might even decide to do a deep clean of your room or home to distract yourself.

Staying busy gives you less time to worry about the results. This can be especially important if you won’t hear back for a few days or weeks. Because while you may know right away, some panels won’t tell you the outcome for some time.

Prepare for the Future

If your audition is a success, you should consider what that means for you. For example, you may need to practice music for an ensemble that you get to join. You might need to work on a specific piece to prepare for your first semester of college or grad school.

Even if you don’t have a successful audition, you can still look ahead. Maybe you decide to prepare for the next ensemble or school audition. Or you choose to focus on playing solo music and not auditioning for anything for a while.

Both options are valid, and it’s up to you to decide what is best for your situation. Then, you can figure out where to go from here so that you can keep improving as a musician.

Which Audition Tips Will You Follow?

You can probably find tons of audition tips online about different things. I shared tips for before, during, and after the audition. That way, you can make sure you perform well, and you don’t have to stress about the results.

Be sure to give some of these tips a try around your next audition.

Do you need help managing your practice time? Download The Busy Musician’s Practice Bundle!

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