A lot of people have a problem with auditions. They can perform their music in a decent manner when they are alone, or when they are playing for a small, prepared audience. But when they get into that audition room, suddenly they are no longer playing that same music well.

Many of my friends always tense up right before an audition. This obviously doesn't help, because they can't move their fingers as fast. This is a particularly large problem at All-State. For those that don't know what All-State is, it is a very elite honor band that students from all around our state audition to try to be in. For sections such as saxophone or clarinet, there can be 100 people that audition, but only 10 or so get in. So this causes a lot of stress inside your head.

How do you deal with this? At least in my case, it is usually never a problem with being prepared with my music, so "practice more" won't help much in this case. What are some of the ways that you deal with auditioning in front of that terrifying human being?

Some of the things I have tried

  • Telling myself I am the worst player out of all of them. This theoretically makes your mind think that because you are so bad, you have nobody to impress, so you shouldn't worry about doing good.
  • Singing the Alphabet when you are listening to other people practice the audition music. That way you can feel better about your music.
  • 1
    I used to have a big fear of auditions. But like many things, practice makes perfect. The more I do it the easier it gets. Still not a breeze, still get stressed out, but I can play more reliably. Mar 27, 2013 at 5:11

4 Answers 4


Do you get scared when you go to the supermarket? Do you fear going to macdonalds? What about when you go to the bathroom?

Why or why not? "Fear" is usually directly caused by an unnatural fear of the unknown. If you are walking down a long stretch of road in the country side late at night your mind plays tricks on you. It's part of survival(you need to be ready in case a bear or ghost attacks you ;).

Now, why would you fear an audition? Is it because you know you will screw up or because you know you suck? Aren't both related to practice?

Ok, you say "I practice all the time in my bedroom and I play it perfect there"...

But then let me ask you, how many times have you practiced in front of an audience or at an audition?

The simple trick!!!! You must believe in yourself and think that your good enough to play, not that you suck(that is actually the wrong thing to do). I have asked many good musicians this question cause I too have/had such a fear and they always tell me they don't care what people think and if they make mistakes(most have learned to turn mistakes into music).

If you can play it in your bedroom and you are happy with your performance then there is absolutely no reason you can't do that in front of people... except your own mind playing tricks on you trying to keep you alive(which, of course, is something you don't have to worry about in an audition... at least 99.999% of the time).

What you must really learn to believe is that you will never get better if you don't go through the trial and tribulations of performing in front of people... YOU MUST CRAVE it! This is what will make you better. This is like practice on steroids and the more you do it the better you will get at doing it.

Unless you want to be a rock god only in your bedroom alone you must seek out the things that will make you a better player in the way that counts. The bedroom is step one... once you have learned your material and are comfortable with it you must get out in front of people.

Go play at places where you can suck and no one cares(just about anywhere)... Make mistakes intentionally so you can learn to deal with them. Play out of key then try and recover, play the wrong solo to a song! Play jazz over country! Throw some metal licks in there for good luck while your at it!

The more you put yourself in the situations you fear the less you will fear them. Almost all fear modern humans have are exaggerated and are a result of our basal ganglia trying to keep us alive(it's too stupid to know when to shut off, on the other hand, without it, we would be dead).

My biggest piece of advice to you is: If you don't do it then you'll surely suck. It's your choice...


This question has been answered over on productivity.stackexchange.com - it isn't an audition question, but a stress/fear issue.

The real answer answer is practice, familiarity and relaxation. Once you have taken part in many auditions they will not affect you the same way.


It does have some music playing problems.

Some people attempt to do auditions with pieces of music that they haven't learnt properly.

Playing something just fine means that it is so well known that you never ever make any mistakes anywhere. If there are occasional mistakes on some days then the piece hasn't been learnt well enough. The playing needs to be almost automatic. Only at this stage can the stress/fear management systems work.


Start off by being by far the best player! The confidence will soon follow.

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