Five Steps to an Audition

Madison Lusby is a Junior at The Juilliard School School. She is the recipient of the Harry Aronson Scholarship and is a student of Raymond Mase. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy for her junior and senior year of high school studying with Ken Larson. Maddi has been invited to compete in the National Trumpet Competition multiple times. In 2014, Maddi traveled to Beijing and Shanghai with her Interlochen Arts Academy Brass Quintet to perform at the Shanghai Conservatory. The quintet also completed in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Maddi was selected for participation in the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. Following a residency at SUNY, NYO-USA toured the United States performing in world class venues including Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall, and Ozawa Hall.

As a student at Juilliard, Maddi had the privilege of attending/playing in masterclasses with David Krauss, Ethan Bensdorf, Louis Hanzlick, Kevin Cobb, Phil Smith, and Chris Martin. She has performed under the baton of Fabio Luisi , Alan Gilbert, Jeffery Milarsky, ​Pablo Heras-Casado, ​Robert Moody, Josep Caballé-Domenech, Yaniv Dinur, and Allen Tinkham.

Maddi also performed with the New York Youth Symphony as principal trumpet on Mahler’s 2nd Symphony. Maddi attended Sewannee Summer Music Festival and studied with Pete Bond of the MET Orchestra. She also attended The Atlantic Brass Quintet Seminar, working with Sam Pilafian, Tom Bergeron, and Andrew Sord. Last summer she attended the Eastern Music Festival and studied with Jeff Kaye. Maddi is from Grapevine, Texas. She and her twin sister Sydney live in NYC during the school year.

1. Body:

Practicing healthy habits and keeping your body in shape can make a world of difference for your next audition. Eating a healthy balanced diet a few weeks or months leading up to an audition can help in many ways. When you feel and look confident it will show through your playing. Eating processed foods, drinking alcohol, and eating excessive sugar are sure to make you feel jittery and tired. In your audition you want to feel poised and confident. Another thing that will help you get your body ready for an audition is working out. I practice Bikram Yoga which is a yoga series practiced in the heat and provides a great rigorous workout while also working on my mind space. There are so many workouts and they are guaranteed to make you feel great and ready for your audition. 

2. Mind:

One of the most important parts of preparing for an audition is mental preparation! There are many ways to help get your mind in the right place for an audition. I do many mind preparation exercises. Take naps after you practice. I know it probably sounds crazy but yes naps help your brain consolidate information. After a practice session take a 20-30 min nap and when you have your next practice session your brain will remember things better. Speaking of sleeping, make sure you get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep. Sleep will keep your stress levels down and nobody does productive practice when they are tired anyway. Make sure you are building yourself up because when you are self-deprecating you might actually start believing yourself. Instead give yourself compliments and tell your mind you have it in you to succeed. Meditation and Yoga can also help you prepare for an audition. Getting your mind in a relaxed and meditated state can help you play like you practiced and improve concentration. Also, check out the program called, “The Bulletproof Musician” by Dr. Noa Kageyama it is guaranteed to help you!!

3. Listen:

Listen to the music you have to play in the audition. Listen to it so much you think you are going crazy. Listen to the whole piece not just the excerpt or part you are having trouble with. If you listen to other works by the composer or similar works composed in the time period you might get a better idea of the kind of style or personality the piece is supposed to have.

4. Productive Practice:

Make sure your practice sessions are totally focused and productive. It’s easy to let your mind wander and get off topic but you can’t let that happen it is a waste of time. It is better to practice for two hours completely focused than practice five hours of mindless practice. I think one way to insure you do practice productively is set goals for yourself and create a practice schedule. Keeping a detailed journal of your practice sessions is also so important. If you write down what you are struggling with in a journal you can easily go back to that exact spot in a different practice session instead of wasting time practicing what you are good at.

5. Mock Auditions:

Mock auditions can help you play your best when it comes down to the real audition. In order to do a successful mock audition you have to simulate the actual audition as close as possible. Make yourself nervous, there are a few ways you can do this. Hold a plank for 30 seconds, run up a flight of stairs, jumping jacks, just make sure to get your heart rate up and breath unstable. Put up a curtain and pretend there are judges behind it, or even better get your friends to sit behind it and write down comments for you. Set up a recording device, for some reason when we press the record button and see that red light come on we tend to tense up. Lastly, play through things “perfectly” without stopping. You can’t redo a real audition so don’t redo your mock audition!
I hope these tips help in preparation for your next audition!

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