Being bulletproof and getting the most out of your audition.
We have all walked into the room and talked ourselves out of a job before we've even opened our mouth. With thoughts like; 'I'm not sure how I'm going to reach that note today' 'this sounded better in the shower this morning' or 'if I don't get this job I will be stuck in the day job I hate'.
In any area of highly skilled performance there is a risk of failure and potential of success. Whether it's professional singers, comedians or sportsmen. Within these industries the ups and downs can be the downfall or success of a person. Sports psychology is a huge part of training for an athlete as a key to their success, we are all aware of the term 'mind over matter', so why isn't performance psychology more prevelant in our industry?
It baffles me why not but what I can tell you is that sports psychology techniques are DIRECTLY related to helping you with your next audition!
I don't want to use the word "drama queen" as it's a term that was definately bantered around when I was a child. However, no matter what walk of life we come from we all have the potential to be a bit of a "drama queen".
When you find yourself in a situation and you instantly think of all the bad 'what ifs' that could occur and spiral into the consequences of those.
For instance you have an audition for David Grindrod and he has asked you to sing two contrasting songs but you only have an appropriate ballad in your rep. What if he then asks for your up tempo, you forget the words, accidentally say something offensive and David Grindrod tells you to leave the room. What if you never work for him again, he will tell everyone you are a terrible unprepared idiot and you will then have no job, no money and die alone in your flat.
THAT is call catastrophising! Albeit an extreme version but we have all been there. Sports psychology tells us to DE-catastrophise, the way we do this is; rather than focusing on the things that COULD go wrong we should take stock of all our previous successes no matter how small and even if it seems irrelevant to what you're about to do. If it helps, beforehand make a list, say them out loud, tell a friend. Whatever it is to get you into that positive place and out of your head!
Don't think of the end game:
If you are constantly thinking of how the job is going to change your life or how you are going to spend the per diems while you're on tour you are unconsciously piling on the pressure and you are dominated by the fear of loss. It is recognized that if you concentrate on trying to execute the song to your best ability rather than the benefits of actually getting the job it will not only enhance your performance and mean you're more in the moment but also take the pressure off.
We all know that you can absolutely SMASH a song in the audition room and for factors beyond your control, such as height, budget or that the track was actually never available means you still do not get hired. So do yourself a favour and just do the best you can do in the moment and let the future take care of itself .
It sounds like hocus pocus, believe me I was someone who thought the same, but hang in there there's a LOT of research behind it.
Visualizations are more powerful than simply positive thoughts as they require more neurons to work together. Visualize yourself having the best audition you've ever had. In your mind look back on it from the future; see yourself in that room nailing the song and feeling really pleased with your performance. It's important that you don't make the mistake of visualizing bad feelings or bad scenarios not happening. World champion skier Kristi Richards was set to win a gold medal and wrote down all of her negative thoughts to get them out of her head, she ended up finishing last. Coincidence or not, that is your decision but psychological research has shown that POSITIVE visualizations work. You don't want to fail, so don't give power to failure by giving it another thought.
Try one of these techniques next time you have an audition, put it into practice with an open mind and open heart, what have you got to lose?
The mind is such a powerful tool, sporting champions have harnessed that power, it's time we did too!