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.

Dr. Michelle Cleere
In her own private practice as an elite performance expert, Dr. Michelle Cleere helps top athletes, musicians, and executives in competitive fields unlock the power of the mind and create the mental toughness to be the best. Dr. Michelle’s extensive academic background, which includes a PhD in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Sports Psychology, allows her to help clients deal with performance anxiety, gain more confidence, and build resilience. In addition to personal coaching, Dr. Michelle takes on many roles – a best-selling author, athlete, and teacher. Dr. Michelle’s bestseller line, Beating the Demons, helps clients develop practical skills to gain more control over competitive environments and mitigate the interruption in play to overcome intense odds and defeat adversity. As a 15-year USAT Coach, she developed simple and effective tools to mentally train her athletes, and they are used by coaches around the world. She is a professor at John F. Kennedy University where she teacher her students to use the mind as an ally to improve performance.
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