As the music director for a touring group, I’m often found in the place of auditioning perspective talent. After reading a ton of blogs and articles about auditioning and auditioning dozens of musicians, I feel that there are five things most people don't do during their music audition that would give them a huge edge over the competition. Here they are:
1. Listen. Figure out what the group you’re auditioning for wants and needs, and then be that person. For instance, if the group wants you to hang back and play rhythm chords, don’t start shredding metal solos. If you’re not sure what to play, ask questions (make sure to ask nicely, and don’t show it if you’re stressed).
2. Don’t be too needy. Don’t constantly make demands of the rest of the band, don’t constantly contact the music directors, and make sure you’re not ticking anyone off by asking too many questions. (Note: this is especially true if the questions are things you could have found out on your own before practice).
If you absolutely have to know, take notes and bring all your questions to the band leader at the end of the practice when you’re not cutting into other people’s practice time.
3. Say yes as much as possible, but stay honest. If you think you can do it, don’t explain- just say yes and then figure out a way to do it. People often will wear out their band leaders with explanations for why they can or can’t do something. To be honest, we usually don’t really care: most of the time we just need to know if you can do it or not. And once you’ve committed to something, do it at any cost. Don’t make us scramble last minute to cover.
4. Be the easy choice. Show up on time, dress right, have quality working equipment, and practice like crazy at home. Anything that makes it easier on us at practice, we’ll love you for. That includes being drama-free and scheduling-conflict free (or as close as possible).
5. Be confident. Odds are that even if you’re barely competent with the music but you appear confident, we’ll probably assume you know what you’re doing. And if you don’t feel confident, fake it until you do.
Bonus tip: be fast. Being the first person to respond to an audition call will often get you to the front of the line, and will show music directors that you take your career seriously.