I have a pattern developing with my auditions lately. I sound amazing getting ready. I feel like I’ve been playing better than ever lately. I go into the warm-up room at an audition and do some finger warm-ups, and scales and then start a few pieces. Secretly I might do that last bit to play with other people’s minds a bit. Then I walk down the hall when it’s my turn, and go into the room. A big, empty room with a great big black curtain hanging right next to a stand, and my heart starts pounding. I can’t think, or feel anything other than my whole body pounding from the nerves.
This last time I did myself a huge disservice. I changed the way I prep for the opening of my solo. The result was being a whole step off of the first pitch. I did it to myself. Heck I’m lucky they didn’t stop me right there. Maybe they noticed things got better in a hurry. I played all of the excerpts, and I played them really well. I didn’t get the job. It’s the story of my auditions. It’s mine to loose, and I did it to myself. Those darn nerves and all of the heart pounding. People have suggested medication, or alcohol, but I’ve decided to go a different route.
A friend reminded me a few weeks ago to go back and redo some of the exercises Don Greene teaches. If you haven’t heard of Don Greene than you will find out he’s one of the top mental coaches in the business. He’s helped musicians, athletes, Olympians, and everyday people get out of the mental head games that hold them back from their dreams. I am a great big old head case. It is not my technique, or ability, but my nerves that hold me back. I know I am good enough, and I love playing music. It makes me happy. So, I downloaded Don Greene’s newest book Fight Your Fear, and started working through assessments and exercises the same afternoon as my botched audition. It just solidified what I already knew. In pressure moments I don’t believe in myself, and I fear failure. So, now it’s time to start working on my mental game going into my next audition!