How can one avoid nerves before an audition?
That's a question I have been asked many times from my students in my studio... and an issue I myself still have to deal with when going for auditions in London from time to time.
Auditioning for an exam or for a job can bring about most unsettling emotions, so intense as to prevent you from giving your best, spoil your performance or, in the worst scenario - not so uncommon, for some - to completely ruin the outcome.
If when it's time to audition you are having trouble with this queasy feeling, I am sure you will find some help in what follows.
I want you to think about this: if you experience auditioning as one of the most uncomfortable experience you could ever go for, it is to your thinking - your perception - that you need to pay attention to.
The idea of being judged is a most restraining one to focus on before singing, I am sure will agree on this. But let's go a bit deeper in this consideration.
If you think about all the possible criticism and likely unfavorable comments the panel could make, or you start comparing your voice with that of the singer who sung just before you, you immediately put yourself in a rather poor emotional state, one in which you are limited and can only see what can go wrong. In this state, it will be impossible to sing at your best. Actually, it will be impossible to think, act... ultimately live at your best!
Ok, let's not dwell anymore on this emotions.
Keep following me.
In one of my latest posts on my facebook page - Yuri Sabatini Singing Teacher - I suggested that you grasp, and make the most of, any single opportunity to sing in front of an audience, no matter how informal and small the occasion. In fact, the less pretentious the circumstance is, the better!
Why should you be performing as often as you can? Because this is how you know what you can do and what you need to work on.
But there is also a crucial point related to the issue we are tackling here.
In more humble settings you will likely be in your most natural and resourceful state, which means you will live the experience as an easy thing. It will be a worry-free moment in which you will be able do what you like most - singing, hopefully!! - without having to question if you are enough for it and in which you will surely be... amazing!
Event like this will build a positive link in your memory and a powerful belief on which you can ground your self-esteem as a singer. "Singing is fun and I enjoy it", "I like singing and I know I am good at it", "Wow! They were so happy about my singing!": these and many more are likely to be the words which will run through your mind when you think about singing.
As we see, there is a huge difference between the two attitudes one can have when about to sing in front of someone else.
I find that also before a performance one experiences a similar kind of nervousness, but in many cases it is of a more positive type: it is an excitement that soars from within the desire to sing out, to share what you've got with the audience; it originates from the awareness of how well you have done your homework, prepared yourself, rehearsed again and again your part. When you start singing, the tension disappears. All the doubts go out of the window. The inner critic goes to sleep and with him all the fears about something going wrong -like you forgetting the lyrics! -: what remains is you flowing with things, with the scene, with the music.
Do you already see where I am getting at?
I think it's paramount for you to realise that this attitude is the factor that determines the result you have, not the setting in itself. You are always the same, the voice is the same, the technique is the same. It's what you concentrate on that makes the difference!
If you think of performing as a means to do what you like most, forget all about the negative thoughts and stop trying to control the outcome (that's their decision, an external factor, nothing you can or should have control over!), you will put yourself in your best position.
I am sure you have seen and noticed, at auditions, this kind of character: the one who seem to enjoy the whole atmosphere as a fish in his own water, smiling left and right and projecting confidence from every pore of the skin.
What do you think is he/she focusing on? What could the thoughts running through his/her mind be?
There you are! This singer is not bothering with doubts about anything or worries about the results (which are out of his/her powers) and in this way can do what he/she does best.. in the best possible way!! This singer knows what he/she is worth, has prepared for this audition and instead of focusing on people judging him/her, he/she will concentrate on.. singing! Exactly as one would do when performing in any other setting!
So, next time you go for an audition... do yourself this favour: rehearse not only the songs you are going to sing, but take 10 minutes to see yourself being walking in there in your most empowered state, hear and see yourself singing with love, energy, confidence, charm.. to cut it short: hear and see your self singing at your best.
It's really like rehearsing anything else. When you will be there in person, you will step in what you have pre-emptively imagined, envisioned, tried.. to repeat it as you rehearsed it!
I hope this insight of mine will help you.
All the best for your next audition... and for your next performance!
Singing Teacher in London