Ok, so you’ve decided to take an audition. Here’s what happens next:
Combat the nerves. They say practice makes perfect; and it does, but you have to know what to practice. Decide what you’re going to present. The song, the outfit, the acting. Be specific. Know exactly what you’re going to start thinking at the onset of the music and even beforehand, and practice THAT when you’re singing your piece in your lessons. Know exactly how it’s going to feel to sing the most dramatic part of your piece in heels or a jacket. Visualize why exactly you’re saying what you’re saying. Practicing every facet of your presentation will help create Your World – on the day of the audition, that’s where you’ll be singing.
Be confident in your abilities. What you have to say is important. It’s unique. No one else possesses your genes and the specific cocktail of experiences that have colored your life. Your uniqueness is the magic ingredient. When you walk into an audition, the panel doesn’t care about the mystical “best” singer. In fact, that idea is a façade. Each panel itself is comprised of people with varying tastes; whom they choose really boils down to what they’re looking for that day, what they had for lunch, whether or not they like your shoes. It’s insanely subjective.
Let’s take it to another level: show how well you command the job already. Put yourself in the mental place of already having the gig. You’re not trying to win anyone’s vote. You have something specific and wonderful to offer, and onstage it’s going to delight audiences. Tackle your preparation with this mentality. “When I’m performing this piece, how do I want to experience this music? What do I want to say?” Make those decisions ahead of time and let that preparation inform your confidence.
Get comfortable in Your World. What the panel does want to see is your commitment. You decide you’re going to sing a certain piece – choose its context and close your eyes, look down, whatever you have to do to put yourself there. Then, look up and around: you’re in a new place. You’re abandoned and heartbroken. You’re excited and telling someone you love why. You’re power-hungry and refusing a bunch of poor, tired folks in front of you a simple toilet. Whatever the context is for your piece, you’re there. Choose a spot on the wall – that’s going to be your focus point. It doesn’t matter if it’s chipped paint or a window overlooking New York City. It now becomes the center of Your World. And you’re going to commit to that for the entirety of your song, no matter what noise or gestures the panel makes.
Follow through. It’s perfectly natural to have doubts, right? Wrong! Don’t let them creep in. “Get over it.” “Mind over matter.” You’ve heard these aphorisms before. There’s a reason why we repeat them over and over again like a mantra—in the moment, don’t let yourself stand in the way. Keep moving forward. This is what Your World and that point ahead of you are for. Look forward and be somewhere else, someone else, doing something else. THAT person can’t help but keep going. It’s our most natural instinct, actually, to throw ourselves in stride and follow through. For example, this dolphin: the dolphin may seem a silly metaphor, but he literally throws his body into the wave and rides it like a surfer. The dolphin doesn’t doubt; the dolphin feels. And we as performers, too, must ride the wave of the moment. Just keep going. You’ll get a break when you walk out the door.