Nervous about auditioning for Carnegie Hall?  Auditioning for an honor ensemble or musical production? Whether you’ve taken piano lessons for years or have just started with guitar lessons, auditions can be a nerve-wracking time. Here are some tried and true tips to ease your anxiety and have a successful audition!


Do know your music/materials inside and out, and make sure you bring all required audition elements (hard copies of music, forms, etc.). Come prepared with your repertoire and have a backup plan in case your panel wants to see more. If you mess up, IT’S OK! Keep going and pretend like nothing happened. Chances are, if you really sell your performance, no one will notice or will forget!


Do arrive early. As they say, “To be early is to be on time.  To be on time is to be late.” Arriving early gives you time to find your way to and familiarize yourself with your audition location, do any last minute hair/makeup/clothing adjustments, warm up and run through your music, look professional and prepared, and last but certainly not least, BREATHE.


Do be polite and courteous to everyone at the audition.  Say hello and goodbye to your audition panel, and thank them for their time when you’ve finished.  A little smile goes a long way in helping you stand out and shows that you’re approachable and easy to work with.


Do dress appropriately.  Wear clothes that you feel good in, but that make you look sharp and professional.  If you’re going to be doing a lot of moving or dancing, wear clothes that will allow you to move freely.


Do ask questions. If you are asked to do something that you don’t quite understand, it’s OK to ask for clarification. The more information you have about what’s expected of you, the better off you’ll be.


Don’t apologize for messing up your audition, or contradict a compliment.  Just perform your audition, say thank you, and leave.


Don’t tell your panel that you’re sick, unless it’s going to physically prevent you from showing up to your audition.  Especially in vocal auditions, audition panels can detect illness in your voice and will be able to hear the potential in your voice and intention in your emotion without you apologizing for it.  Besides, coughs and sniffles are pretty difficult to hide over any instrument playing, so let your panel come to its own conclusions without your “help” 😉


Don’t contradict or argue with the people auditioning you. If they ask you to do something that you don’t agree with or that’s different from what you’ve been taught, take the instruction and choose how/if you’re going to handle it in the long term after you’ve left the audition. Being agreeable and easy to work with is a huge part of auditioning for any ensemble or production!


Don’t beat yourself up if you blow the audition. There will always be more/better opportunities in the future, and if anything, you can use that audition as a learning experience to improve for next time!


Auditions can be stressful, but they’re also a great way to practice composure and performing under pressure. Getting to showcase your talents should be seen as an exciting opportunity, and International School of Music is here to help. Our music studio helps students prepare in their piano lessons, voice lessons, guitar lessons, among many other types of music lessons. Contact us today to learn more about lessons and auditions!

Need help to prepare for you next audition? Call us at 301-365-5888 or email us at