What are the judges looking for?

 In Competition, Control, Musicians & Entertainers

In a music audition do you ever really know what the panel of judges are looking for? If you are trying out for a symphony, you may have a sense of what the conductor is looking for. Each symphony does seem to have a particular sound but do you think everyone on the judges panel is looking for that one sound? Probably not. Each judge on the panel is looking at your audition through their lense and experience which means each judge is really listening for something different.

In my years of having worked with musicians to overcome pre-audition nerves one of the most critical conversations is about not playing for the judges but playing for themselves. Why? As I said earlier, you can’t play to what each judge is looking for…even if you knew what that was. By trying to accommodate 3, 5 or 10 judges you are setting yourself up for failure. Even if you knew what each one wanted how could possibly meet everyone’s expectation? You can’t. Which is why I help musician’s let go of this.

The second important concept is control. In an audition, what do you have control of? The judges? The pieces of music you are required to play? The hall? You as a musician have no control over any of those things nor what any of the judges think or feel about your music. The only control you have is over you and how you play your music. One lesson here is that you need to play the music the way you want to play the music. This leads to my next important concept.

The third very important concept is that you play your music the way you want to play your music, to the best of your ability. What do you want each piece to sound like? One of my musicians used a story board concept to set the stage for what he wanted it to look, feel and sound like. It’s also important that you play from your heart and not your head. Play so that the music elicits heart emotion. Don’t play from all the garbled junk in your head, i.e., how you think other people want you to play.

Play your music. Play from the heart. Everything else is just a distraction.

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