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Discussion Starter #1
Hey I just had chair auditions the other day and while I have been playing longer than both the other people (only three alto saxes at my school, about a 40 person band) I got third chair. We had a bit of prepared music, two scales, and sight reading. We all did well on prepared music, bombed the sight reading, but I really messed up the scales which took me out, but my band director couldn't decide and they had the run-offs this morning. The scales were easy ones too that I knew, it was (btw these are alto sax scales) D and Ab. I got nervous and forgot to go the second octave (which is real easy for me) and totally forgot how many flats there were in Ab. I totally screwed up the Ab scale. This doesn't happen during concerts, but whenever I have to play alone and I am being judged, I get real nervous. Any tips? Thanks in advance!
 

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Welcome to SOTW.

Auditions are nerve-wracking. The best advice I've ever gotten is that one needs to over-practice, so that things like scales are down COLD, all the way up and down the normal range of the horn.

Also, accept the fact that you probably won't play quite as well in an audition as in the practice room.
 

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I agree with hakukani, be over prepared.
I look at auditions as a performance, its just another preformance in a life time of performances, or what I hope to be. I crack jokes (maybe not very good ones) before I audition keeps the mood light, and try not to think about what happens if I make or don't make it.

Hope this helps.
Just know the stuff, and do your best. Figure out how you preform (audition) which is the best way to loosen you up, and do it before you audition each time.


~Carbs
 

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There is no easy answer for nerves. I will however try and give you a few tips I use to try and play with confidence. I also want to point out that I still make mistakes live that I don't make in practice.

First off I am going to assume you took Hukukanis advice and practice as much as possible.

here are some things you could try

1) be a littly cocky before your performance or audition. Don't be the type that sits and lets themselves get more and more nervous by talking about how nervous you are. Don't go thinking inside your head man I'm nervous I hope it doesn't make me mess up etc etc. Instead think things like , " I AM GOING TO KILL THIS PIECE OF MUSIC, AFTER I PLAY THE OTHER DUDES WILL WANT TO MELT DOWN THEIR HORNS."

2) Have a ritual that you use every time before you play important gigs or auditions. It could anything from getting off by yourself and meditating a little. Nothing to Vulcan just maybe sit with eyes closed, tune out the world and think about things that relax you. I know other players that would polish their horns, tune out the class, and just get lost in the shine of their instrument until it was their turn.

3) Don't eat before you play because digestion can add to anxiety.

4) make sure you are hydrated so when nerves hit you don't get a dry mouth. Keep a cup of water nearby just in case. If you feel nervous right before instructor says ok play, then calmly take a sip of water before you do.

5) when it comes to scales take your time and don't try and play them too fast. Think the scale, how many sharps or flats, hear it in your head, remind self to play full range, then play the scale.
 

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First, all of the advice above is good. In addition, you need to practice auditioning. The nerves issue is something I deal with all the time with my own students. Practice auditioning before the real thing is the best to get over it. Play for ANY audience you can find. For instance, I have some of my older students come down and play for my elementary students. Play for your parents, grandparents, or even for preschool kids. And then do your entire audition. You need to get used to playing in front of an audience and to simulate the audition experience as much as possible before the real event. The fear factor is one that needs some getting used to. Even professionals have nerve problems. The trick is learning how to make yourself, your body, and your mind handle it. The only way to do that is practice auditioning. The more you do, the easier it gets.

Hope this helps.

Seriously, any audience with your audition material will help you deal with the nerves.


old 10m
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey thanks guys for all the advice. Sorry this is so late of a reply, I had thought I had subscribed to the thread but I guess I didn't and I forgot about the thread for a few days. So basically I just need to practice more, play the piece/scales for an audience, think about the scale before I play it, and keep a cool head. I will work on that stuff and hopefully my band director will let us challenge, otherwise I'm stuck in last chair for the rest of this school year...:cry:
 

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AUDITION: The act of putting oneself under extreme stress to satisfy the sadistic intentions of someone who has already made up their mind.

Just gotta relax and go with it. Take the above advice, its all good advice. Practice a bit, and maybe ask your director if you are able to challenge the next player up for a better spot after a while. That is common in school bands, and its nice too because it means everyone has to be at their best, else they might lose a challenge and move down or vice versa!
 

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Prepare thoroughly and think positive. If you are generally somewhat negative person (I know I am ;) ) it might be worthwhile to do some reading on "positive thinking" techniques used by sportsmen and women. These kind of techniques can be aimed very specifically at changing your attitude to performance. You don't necessarily have to make big changes as far as your general outlook is concerned.

EDIT: Neil Sharpe's links (above) are excellent too.
 

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Destrox said:
Hey thanks guys for all the advice. Sorry this is so late of a reply, I had thought I had subscribed to the thread but I guess I didn't and I forgot about the thread for a few days. So basically I just need to practice more, play the piece/scales for an audience, think about the scale before I play it, and keep a cool head. I will work on that stuff and hopefully my band director will let us challenge, otherwise I'm stuck in last chair for the rest of this school year...:cry:



That would go against how it is supposed to work. I can see limiting how often sections can challenge for a chair but to not allow it would be un-American. In this land of ours you get to strive for the highest mountain (or chair) and no director worth his/her salt would ever say no more competition. You practice, get better then the person one chair ahead of you, then challenge them right in front of whole band. You raise your hand and say excuse me,...............wait to be acknowledged by director then state I would like to challenge so and so for chair number ???

If that's not the way it's done anymore then something is seriously wrong with JR/HS band.
 

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My dream is to have enough money to run a youth jazz/stage band. Hire a bad *** director and get them a bunch of woodshed time with killer players and teachers. Then go back to where my old HS director is and tell her to kiss my *** listen to this!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a director that played favorites, played the same songs every yr because no one noticed and butted heads with me for 4 years.

She didn't like my sister when she went through band so I was sort of a legacy. Thinking back I sure lived up to my end by being a real smart ***.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I didn't even realized more people posted on this. THanks everyone. The past couple of years for some reason she said they would be able to, but didn't. This year she has and there's been a lot of challenges. Had to fill out a form and stuff. The only thing was the guy I challenged got elbowed in the eye while playing basketball, had stitches, and the preassure could mess it up so it got delayed till after Thanksgiving Break. I won and then also it got delayed into the period where we can't challenge. The only reason we can't challenge anymore until the beggining of '08 is because it was really close to the concert and she wanted us to practice our concert music and not audition music. (concert's next week). So the advice I did read before it helped me. I practiced my scales a lot. I also tried the thing that several people said, before it I warmed up, made sure I could get my full range. Then I polished it and knew I could play it well and I had practiced. I also knew he told me he didn't practice chromatic which I had practiced full range chromatic. Turned out that was a big deciding factor in this. Thanks for all the help guys!
 

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Drink a few pints of your favorite ale before you go in, and smoke some....wait a minute, you're in highschool. Nevermind!:D
 

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Do all the things mentioned earlier AND...eat one or two bananas one hour before you have two play. It brings your rhythmsection ( hart en breathing) down. This allows you to breath deep in your belly. You won't feel the physical symptoms of being nervous. You can also aks for a drug often taken by musicians called something like propanolol, but bananas contain the same stuff.
 

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Great advice all around!!! To help a young player like this is what makes SOTW so great! Well, ALMOST everyone - Finnerski, Go to your room, LOL :)
 

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I like to simulate the effects adrenaline will have on my body, such as cold hands, the urge to urinate, accelerated heart beat, chest breaths. For example, if I want to simulate cold hands, I stick my hands in ice or snow, when I want to simulate the urge to urinate, I drink a lot of iced tea or water. For the last two, I usually just run up a few flights of stairs or jog in place or something. Eventually, I'll combine all of those things: it's like being nervous on crack. Sometimes I'll do all of that and then turn the radio on loud Hip Hop and then play my excerpts from memory with good time. Then I'll try all of it with my worst reed. When I was at Michigan, I told Sinta about my routine and he said: "it's like hitting your head against a brick wall: it feels good once you stop!" But it's usually worked for me when I've prepared stuff that way.
 

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playitfunky said:
[/B]


That would go against how it is supposed to work. I can see limiting how often sections can challenge for a chair but to not allow it would be un-American. In this land of ours you get to strive for the highest mountain (or chair) and no director worth his/her salt would ever say no more competition. You practice, get better then the person one chair ahead of you, then challenge them right in front of whole band. You raise your hand and say excuse me,...............wait to be acknowledged by director then state I would like to challenge so and so for chair number ???

If that's not the way it's done anymore then something is seriously wrong with JR/HS band.
I seriously disagree. Challenges worked great at Interlochen, but that's the only place. Band rehearsals aren't meant to reinforce the American way, they're meant to instill artistic ideas in kids. You didn't do as well in your chair test? Tough luck, dude, at least you learned your method of practice doesn't work and wait for the next one, keep practicing and try different ways of practicing. Also, I wouldn't want to have to keep worrying about maintaining my part to prevent losing a challenge so much that I'm not preparing my other music. Yes learn your band music and get it right as soon as possible, but there is literature for your instrument which may take priority.
 

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playitfunky said:
1) be a littly cocky before your performance or audition. Don't be the type that sits and lets themselves get more and more nervous by talking about how nervous you are. Don't go thinking inside your head man I'm nervous I hope it doesn't make me mess up etc etc. Instead think things like , " I AM GOING TO KILL THIS PIECE OF MUSIC, AFTER I PLAY THE OTHER DUDES WILL WANT TO MELT DOWN THEIR HORNS."
When I read this, I thought of this guy:



fwiw, be careful with this type of approach. Some people need to get into this sort of mindset to perform, for others it will just distract. You need to know yourself in order to know whether this sort of approach will work for you. When I played sports I tended to get really wound up before a games, I had to try to keep myself calm and level in order to not get too much adrenaline flowing. For me, an approach like above would have been counter-productive.
 
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