Top 10 Nerve-Busting Tips by AYO Musicians

As the final week of AYO auditions wrap up around the country, we look back on some of the weird and wonderful audition tips we’ve heard along the way.

Here are our top 10 nerve-busting techniques from the AYO musicians.

1. Eat a banana

No, seriously, eat a banana. This is by far the most popular nerve-busting technique used by our musicians. Bananas act as a potassium-rich beta blocker to target nervousness, fill you up and lift your mood – an ideal breakfast or pre-audition snack.

2. Cold water 

The magic of water can be used in many ways before an audition. One musician mentioned that drinking a big glass of cold water always made him calm before his audition – hydration never hurts. Another said he needed to wash his hands before heading into the audition to make himself feel fresh and prepared.

3. Jumping Jacks

Jump out those nerves! Getting your heart rate running before or after your last warm-up can be just what you need to shake off your nerves.


4. Dress for success

It's most important to feel comfortable when auditioning. Wearing non-restrictive clothing that you can move around in makes all the difference. We're not superstitious but lucky socks are also a given around audition time...

5.  Watch concert videos 

Inspiration may be just what you need to motivate you to practise. One musician says that watching concert videos really it puts it in perspective for them – seeing other people perform can make the audition not seem so impossible for you.

6. Prepare for any situation

Preparing for every kind of situation is a good way to ensure you feel completely ready on the day. One of the musicians says close to audition time her friends will set up surprise mock auditions and that she would perform the excerpts for them. She says that doing this teaches you that there is nothing to fear, which helps to ease the nerves on the day.

7.  Play something you love 

Practising the same excerpt pieces over and over again can become quite tiresome, especially since you're frequently pausing and not playing a piece in its entirety. Many musicians noted that playing something you know and love reminds you what music is all about, and helps to create that performance mindset the panel are looking for.

8.  Mind over matter

Believing that you will play well is very important. One musician lives by a piece of advice her music teacher once gave her: "Before your audition stand in front of a mirror, put your hands on your hips, in a super hero stance and tell yourself, 'You are amazing', 'You are the best'." It's all about confidence.

9.  Watch yourself performing 

It's great to get feedback from your teacher, family and friends, but it's also helpful to see it for yourself. Many of the musicians mentioned that they video themselves in the practice room, even just using their phone. Having a recording to look back on can help you to spot areas to work on, and help you feel more prepared on the day.

10.  Sleep!

The musicians this year say rest is best before the audition day and getting enough sleep the night before makes all the difference. One applicant says although you might want to, don’t stay up all night cramming that last bit of practice – having a clear head will shake away those nerves.

In case you missed our audition tips from Trumpeter David Elton, here are his top five tips for preparing for your AYO audition.