Audition. It’s a word that strikes fear into the hearts of many performers, no matter their talent. However, there are steps every drummer can take to help auditions go more smoothly, both skills-wise and emotionally. While no two drummers are exactly alike, preparing for a drumming audition need not become an experience in reinventing the wheel. By following the steps below, your next audition can be a successful one, regardless of outcome.
1. Do Your Research. Make sure you know what kind of band or gig you will be auditioning for. Do some internet research, listen to the applicable recorded music, and get to know the band, company, or school. If possible, meet some of the people ahead of time for an informal meeting. Ask around and find out any background information that can help you make the best impression while still remaining true to yourself.
2. Learn the Music. The last thing you want to do is go to an audition with the wrong type of music in mind. Yes, you might do a great Neil Peart impression, but if the band you’re auditioning for is looking for more of a Buddy Rich, you’re not doing anyone any favors by sharing it. Listen to the applicable music, play along to it, write it out, memorize the notes and words to the songs. Do everything you can to get a deep feel for the music you’ll be playing in the near future.
3. Bring the Correct Tools. Part of preparing for a drumming audition is making sure you have everything you need to play your best. This includes drum sticks, mallets and, of course, your hand drums or drum set. You may even need to bring your cymbals. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared, but you don’t need to bring every drum accessory you own. It’s possible that you learned what to bring during your research.
4. Dress for Success. Have you heard the saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? This is also applicable in the world of drumming. You may not need to don a three-piece suit, but make sure you dress in a way that shows your respect for your audience and your craft. You want to look like you care about the audition, because you will be judged by your appearance.
5. Bring Your Best Self. While we’re on the subject of appearances, remember that your attitude and the way you carry yourself says plenty before you get the chance to play. Be pleasant and courteous, because part of what you’re being judged upon is whether or not you’re the type of person they want to work with them. People want to work with people who seem easy to get along with as well as professional and skilled.
Auditions are a normal part of life and preparing for a drumming audition can seem like a daunting task, but keeping these tips in mind can hopefully ease some of the anxiety. Good luck!