After going through the audition process myself many times, both successfully and unsuccessfully, here’s 5 tips I picked up to help you nail that first audition.
1. Get enough sleep/food
If your brain is beat up from the night before, you’re not going to be able to fully concentrate your energy on the task at hand; nailing that audition! Stick to your normal sleeping schedule, and get at least 7 hours the night before. Also, make sure to eat a filling nutritious breakfast. We tend to forget that drumming is exercise which burns a lot of calories; your muscles needs energy to draw from. You’re not you when you’re hungry, but Snickers bars are not the answer (if they had an ad campaign featuring Ringo Starr we might reconsider). Also, hydration. There is no life (that we know of) in this universe that exists without water. You may think you can live off beer, but you aren’t the exception to the rule. Drink water till you piss clearer than the California sky on a summer afternoon (if your pee is cloudy, please seek immediate medical attention. Also if it is blue.)
2. Warm up your body
We’re not up there like Lebron James trying to dunk over 7 footers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t warm up like you are. Muscles are as important to drummers as they are athletes. Just like an athlete, it’s important to warm up before playing in order to avoid unnecessary strain/injury. That means biceps, triceps, quad-ceps (not sure where they are but if there’s bi + triceps, there have to be atleast five – ceps, right?) head, shoulders, knees and toes. Oh and don’t forget fingers. Many professional drummers will run or lift weights before a gig to get their body in the proper condition to play. You can at-least try to touch your toes and do a few push-ups. The looser and more relaxed your body/mind are, the better you will play.
3. Practice the transitions
The groove is the most important part of the song, but that doesn’t mean it’s the most difficult. When playing along with a song, you’ll end up practicing the groove 50 times more than the fills or transition simply because there are way more measures of groove than anything else. You need to groove to make the people dance, but once you have the groove down, focus on the trickier parts of the song and repeatedly work on those instead of the whole song. It will make the entire song sound tighter at the end.
4. Make a list
When that alarm rings in the morning before an audition(if you even slept from the nerves) the last thing you want to be doing is rushing around worrying about if you have all your gear ready. Make a list (and check it twice) of everything you need; drum sticks, mallets, your lucky rabbit’s foot, etc, and pack it the night before. This allows your mind to focus on the music and the audition process, leaving you better prepared. Also, be sure to bring some water and a healthy snack; auditions can last a lot longer than you expect and you will be sweating more from the stress. Ease that stress by preparing as best you can. And always remember, the worst thing they can tell you is no (unless they dig deep and insult your fat ugly face, in which case you don’t want to work with them anyways.)
5. You already got it
As a drummer, it’s your job to control the tempo of the entire band. If you’re not confident enough to lead, nobody will follow you. Take a deep breath and walk into the audition like you’ve already got the job. That doesn’t mean be a cocky ass-hole and talk down to those auditioning you (although it did work for Buddy Rich..) It means to have confidence in you and your unique abilities on a drum or drum-set. Just like no two snow flakes or fingerprints are exactly alike, you kick the kick and tom the toms in your own way. Remember, you bring something different to the table (or throne) than every other drummer who’s ever played. Believe in what you got.
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