Sugar Land has a robust fine arts community and that includes middle and high school orchestra students. The region orchestra auditions are right around the corner with high school auditions taking place on October 13th and middle school auditions on October 20th.
Given that, it’s an opportune time to learn about how to help improve your student musicians’ audition performances. We went to author (Kids Aren’t Lazy: Developing Motivation & Talent Through Music) and professional violinist, violist and teacher, Lauren Alexandra Haley to get some tips on what students can do. According to Haley, here are the four easy ways that aspiring musicians can boost their audition performances.
- Pursue Tone Quality Advantages
Easy: Upgrade strings, bow hair, and rosin.
Medium: Consult with your child’s teacher on the best rental instruments—a vastly better instrument could only be a few dollars more per month.
Ideal: Test instruments for purchase at multiple shops and choose the best one in your price range.
- Ensure Physical Comfort
Audition venues often have poor temperature control. Plan outfits in advance, respect dress codes, and emphasize layers and comfort. Pack hand-warmers for freezing rooms and ice-water in an insulated bottle for hot rooms. Give your child protein for breakfast to ward off nausea caused by audition nerves and an empty stomach.
- Teach Performers to “Play Until the Whistle Blows”
Remind your child to keep playing no matter what happens in an audition. Liken performances to sports—the game isn’t over until the whistle blows to officially end the match. Musicians must focus on each new note rather than let their thoughts slip to previous notes that they perceive have hurt their chances. The objective is to give the best possible performance all the way to the last note.
- Harness the Power of Positive Phrases
“I’m prepared, proud of my work, and excited to perform.”
“I’ll keep my eyes on my fingers as I play.”
Professional musicians write affirmations on flashcards prior to high-stakes auditions. Have your child write 5–10 affirmation cards of their own. Remind them to avoid negative phrases like, “I won’t get nervous,” as young musicians’ brains focus on the “nervous,” despite the “won’t.” Develop a family strategy for dealing with nerves: think of the exciting auditions, performances, speeches, tests, and games still to come!
Lauren Alexandra Haley is a performance graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the founder of Lauren Haley Studios, which enrolls young musicians on both violin and viola (currently maintaining a wait list).
Haley’s book for parents of young musicians, Kids Aren’t Lazy: Developing Motivation & Talent Through Music, debuted at the #1 New Release spot in 10 Amazon categories in June 2018.