Proving yourself in front of industry professionals is a part of any singer or musician’s life and can become a regularity. But what if just the thought of this makes you instantly nervous and anxious? What’s the best way to calm yourself before an audition?
How you calm yourself before an audition can make all the difference to how well it goes. And that can be the difference between a door opening, or not. So it’s important to stay cool and harness those nerves, then your talent is free to shine.
If you need some tips on keeping calm and acing that audition, read our complete guide on how you can do it – and enjoy the experience too.
How do you calm yourself before an audition?
Of all types of performance including gigs, full live shows, busking and recording, auditions are the ones that usually incur the most nerves and worry. But they’ve very necessary. While occasionally artists are talent-spotted out and about, it’s very common to have to audition for a contest, competition, or record company. And if you want to study at a well-respected music college, you’ll definitely need to audition.
How not to be nervous before a musical audition
Nerves can have a number of effects on the human body, and all but one are hindrances, rather than a help. These include:
- Shaking legs
- Shaking hands
- Jelly legs (feeling like they might give way)
- Rapid breathing
- Breathing high from the chest, not from the diaphragm
- Increased heart rate
- Shaking or breaking voice
- Flushed face
- Feeling like you need to keep clearing your throat
- Mind blocks – like forgetting lyrics
- Feeling stuck to the spot or unable to move
- Excess sweating
- Increased adrenaline
As you can see, these aren’t useful feelings or reactions. Except for the last, which, when used correctly can add an exciting edge to your performance.
How not to be nervous for a singing audition
In order to be the best you can be, you need to know how to lessen or eradicate most of the reactions we’ve listed, but use that extra adrenaline to your benefit. Not only is this possible, but it’s something seasoned performers do all the time.
Firstly, you must believe you have more control over your body than you might think. If your breathing is fast and heart racing, you might imagine that there’s nothing to be done about it. In fact, you can jump in the driving seat of your own body and learn techniques to calm and control it.
How do you calm down before a musical audition?
Nerves during auditions can affect us all differently. Not everyone will experience sweaty palms or flushing. And some might just have issues with remembering words, but no other signs of pre-performance anxiety.
We’ll talk through these specific tools and techniques throughout the article, so keep reading to find the ones that are most relevant for you.
How to calm down before a dance audition
Different musical disciplines require particular control over certain parts of the body. Dancing, of course, uses your whole body. So jelly legs are not ideal. But the good news is, dancing can really help you stay calm at an audition. Any fear response is a ‘fight or flight’ reaction. This causes your body to surge with adrenaline, giving you extra energy.
If you have to stand still this can feel much worse, than when moving about. A good warm-up beforehand will make dancing at an audition easier. As Taylor Swift says – shake it off! You can quite literally shake off your nerves, lessening limb shaking and forcing you to breathe deeper and slower.
How not to be nervous for a violin audition
This is the exact opposite to dance. You’ll need to stay much stiller when playing an instrument and finger precision is everything. If you find your hands shake when playing at an audition, try doing a physical warm-up beforehand, much like a dancer, to shake off that extra adrenaline coursing throughout your body. This should stop it affecting your hands as much.
Deep breathing exercises will be very good for you too. It may not be something you’d usually consider needing as a violinist, but the act of slowing and deepening the breath has an overall calming effect. Here is some quick mindful breathing exercises perfect for pre-audition no matter whether your playing, singing or dancing.
How to prepare for an audition
How calm you feel before and audition is often linked to what you’ve done beforehand. It’s true that some people rock up, having hardly practised and knock it out of the park. But this is rare and tends to only work for certain personalities (and some of the people you meet at auditions may say this, or act like this to seem cool, when in fact they’ve spent endless hours working at it).
If you read our articles regularly, you’ll notice this is a recurring theme – practice, rehearse and perfect your act and you’ll have more success.
How do you prepare for an audition?
So what exactly should you do before the date and how do you make sure you’re audition ready? Preparation should begin as far in advance as possible. If you’re being asked to perform set pieces (this may be the case for a music college audition), start learning them as soon as you get them. If life gets in the way it can be easy to run out of time.
10 minutes a day for nine days is better than an hour and a half the day before. This is because it takes a more sustained approach to sink into your muscle memory than cramming does.
How do I feel confident for an audition?
Taking singing lessons is a great way to build confidence and understand what you should and shouldn’t do at your audition. You coach will also help you work on your performance, along with perfecting your sound.
Audition tips – things to do before a singing audition
Here’s a very important part of ensuring you’re ready and calm for your singing audition and something you should pay very close attention to. If you fail too, you may have ruined your chances before you’ve even opened your mouth, or be unable to audition at all or put yourself through unnecessary stress and last minute panics.
Read all the information you’re given about your audition carefully, well ahead of time and follow it exactly.
This will include some or all of the following:
- The time of your audition. Don’t be late!
- The duration of your audition, including the allowed time for your song/s. Don’t exceed the time given!
- Where the audition is being held. Don’t go to the wrong place!
- How many songs you need (and it’s always worth having a spare).
- What format your tracks should be. Don’t turn up with a CD if you’ve been asked to bring a USB stick, or to pre-send it as an MP3.
- What type of song/s you may need to sing.
- Who will be there? If you’re given the panel’s names beforehand, find out a bit about them with a google search. This may inform your song choices.
- What you need to bring. If it’s a full day and not near shops, you may need food and drink. If dancing is involved, you may need appropriate clothing and footwear.
What should you do the night before an audition?
Get a good night’s sleep. If it’s an important audition, don’t wait till the night before to plan how you’re going to get there, or your route. If you need to ask for a lift or make special arrangements it may be too late to get help. Transport options may be booked up already, or be too expensive to manage – particularly if you’re going long distance. But do double-check your route the night before.
If going by public transport check for any cancellations, or works that might affect your journey. If driving, make sure you have fuel in the car or have charged it up – and if driving long distance, check tyre pressures, oil and water too. Then make sure you get a good night’s sleep, no staying up late.
What helps nerves before an audition?
As nerves cause a flow of adrenaline through the body, avoid caffeine which only increases this and will make any shaking worse. Instead, opt for green tea or matcha if you need an energy hit. Right before your audition, breathe deeply and slowly. Try extending the out-breath as long as you can, to calm your nervous system and induce a state of relaxation.
Remind yourself of how good you are. Many talented aspiring artists lack self-belief and that can sabotage your performance if not kept in check. Believe in yourself and keep telling yourself you’re going to be great.
How to crush an audition
Even if you’re not feeling 100% calm, you can pretend to be. This will give you an air of confidence that will help you feel better and make you look better in front of the panel too. Do remember that the judges want you to succeed, it’s in their interests too. They’re in the industry because they love music and want to help and discover up and coming new talent. They will have a good idea of how you’re feeling, especially if they are performers themselves.
When you look at them don’t feel afraid or worried, but think of them as being on your side. Many people suggest imagining them naked, as this can help see them as normal humans, make you giggle inside and relax.
How to audition
Once you enter the audition room there will be a panel there to hear you play or sing. The panel will be made up for two or several people, most likely sitting behind a table or desk. They will most likely make notes while you sing. Don’t less this put you off, it is perfectly normal and often a good sign.
Usually, at a first audition, you’ll need to introduce yourself and let the panel know what you’ll be singing before starting. If you’re at a later stage of a competition, or a live show, there may be someone else introducing you, in which case don’t do it again.
How not to be nervous before an audition
And the last point is to get out there and do it. The more you sing or play in public, the easier it gets. Find every opportunity to gig and practise your audition numbers and you’ll feel much calmer doing it in front of a panel of judges. And yes, you may well enjoy it too!
It may seem counterintuitive, as singing is something that can make you feel nervous, but singing is actually excellent for anxiety and depression. It’s scientifically proven to improve your mental and physical health and has fantastic psychological and physiological benefits for your nervous system, immune system and respiratory system. What’s not to love?!
- ￼￼How early should you get to an audition?
Arrive 15 to 30 minutes before your slot – if the venue has somewhere to practice beforehand you could arrive sooner and do a warm-up. Allow lots of extra time for travel, bear in mind there may be traffic jams, transport delays or you might get lost on the way and take longer than planned.
- ￼How do you stand out in an audition?
Pick a piece that isn’t overdone at the moment. Emote and perform with passion. Think about your image – first impressions count, so make an effort with your appearance. And of course, make sure you sound amazing by doing lots of practice beforehand.
- What should you eat before an audition?
Avoid eating right before your slot. Start the day with a nutritious breakfast that’ll give a slow burn of energy (eggs or steel-cut oats are ideal). Steer clear of dairy as it clogs the voice. Instead, pack a flask of warm liquorice, or lemon and honey tea and a light snack for an hour before.
How do you calm yourself before an audition? What are your top tips for acing it on the day? Let us know in the comments below.