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Last month, we spent some time covering what you need to do if you really want to ace that big audition. It’s important to know yourself and your playing abilities, to know the situation you’ll be playing in and to remember to not overplay once you get to your audition. But what else should you keep in mind as you try to land that dream gig?
Step Four – Your Gear
The instruments and gear that a musician uses is a very important part of their job – and can be a deciding factor in an audition. Most auditions will last less than fifteen minutes. That’s the actual time that you have to be in front of the people that will hire you, so you have to utilize that time efficiently. The last thing you want to do is be rushing around dealing with setting up your gear.
A lot of auditions supply gear for you to try out on (with the option of bringing your own). That’s a tough one. Like most musicians, I personally don’t feel comfortable playing someone else’s gear, which means I’ve got to deal with setting up my own. If you’re a guitar player, there is a good chance that the rehearsal room has an amp that is similar to yours – leaving only your guitars and pedals to set up.
If you “have” to bring your own amp, see if you can get there early and set up before the audition starts. Sometimes the only way that can happen is if you offer to let other auditioners use your amp too. This can work for or against you. The drawback is that your sound is not as unique as it could be – and if you have a really cool amp, it might not be known that it is yours. Of course, you know your amp better than anyone else and can dial it in to the sweet spot – it also shows that you are cool and have the confidence to let your playing do the talking. The best part is that you won’t be sweating after carrying in a huge amp right before you play – leaving you flustered and embarrassed.
Step Five – Sing!
Being a singer, I have always tried to showcase my voice while auditioning. In most cases, playing live presents the artist with the difficulty of recreating stacked vocal parts/harmonies that are on their record. Though playing to (pre-recorded) tracks has become a popular remedy for this, it is still preferable to have live singers. I can honestly say that half of the gigs I’ve gotten are because of my pipes. So learn those harmonies!
Step Six – Have a Style
I know of plenty of circumstances where someone was hired or not because of how they present themselves. First impressions are everything. Most people decide whether or not they “vibe” with somebody within a minute of meeting them. Though it sounds silly, the “right” shirt, shoes, hairstyle, etc. can actually affect the way people hear. People hear with their eyes as much as they do with their ears. Is it a coincidence that many of the biggest rock/ pop stars are good looking or sexy?
Now, I’m not saying you have to be a model to make it in the music business, but it never hurts to look like you fit in with the style that the artist presents. This is obviously not the case in all musical genres, but in the pop/rock world, appearance is very important.