Preparing for violin orchestral auditions (A few weeks-A few days before the Audition)
1) Make sure your instrument is in its best condition.
If you know you are going to need a sound adjustment, new strings, or your bow rehaired before the audition, plan ahead of time when you are going to make that happen. You are going to want to be practicing on your instrument in its best condition, not your “picnic fiddle,” or worse: “the loaner.”
2) Choose the travel arrangements with the least amount stress
Some people suggest going alone, and getting a hotel room the night before by yourself, even if you have friends you could stay with in town. This will allow you to focus on the audition, and get a good night’s sleep. However, everybody is different. If money is really tight, it might be less stressful to carpool with a friend also auditioning, or stay with some friends and maybe even play your excerpts for them one last time.
If you’re flying to the audition, travel the day before. But if you have to fly the day of, get a direct flight. If your flight gets delayed and you miss your connecting flight, you’ll have to warm up in the airport and that’s no fun (although you might make a few bucks if you put your case out).
Whichever way you decide to go, choose the travel arrangements that are the least stressful for you.
3) Come to the audition rested
Audition days are long and stressful, don’t stay up super late the night before, hanging out with friends or family you haven’t seen in years, or trying to cram Don Juan. You can do that if you really want to, but don’t let it interfere with getting the rest that you’re going to need.
4) Come to the audition prepared.
There are a couple of categories that I’m referring to when I say “be prepared”
Travel: Know how you’re going to get to the audition, where you’ll need to park, how to pay for parking, what time the taxi is going to pick you up, how much extra time you’ll need because of traffic, etc. Don’t let something as simple as getting to the hall stress you out because you weren’t prepared for this.
Food: Audition days can be long and often behind schedule. I would suggest making sure you have a water bottle and some snacks. It may also be a good idea to bring some more substantial food-there’s no guarantee there will be a lunch break or food close by if there is a break. Bananas are great way to get some extra potassium, which has the ability to lower blood pressure (decrease nervousness) and make you feel happy. They’re helpful, but don’t expect bananas to fix your flying spiccato problems.
Clothes: Know what you’re going to wear ahead of time. Knowing if the audition is blind or open is a big part of that. If it’s blind, it’s not that big of a deal, although if you get to the final round the screen will most likely come down, and you might not want to be wearing your pajamas for that. If you’re not sure, best to err on the side of caution, and assume it’s open (the panel will see you). Wear something nice, but comfortable. Don’t wear a tux or ball gown-this isn’t a concert. Also bring some layer options if it’s really cold, or really hot, or the temperature fluctuates.
In general, audition days can be stressful and unpredictable. The more you can prepare ahead of time, and figure out before the day of, the better. I like the saying, “hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” If the audition doesn’t go as well as you’d like, you don’t want to have any excuses like “I couldn’t focus because I was so hungry,” or “I was so nervous because there was nowhere to park, and didn’t have enough time to warm up.”