Monday, September 12, 2011

The Mental Game continued......

So, to pick up where we were on the last post....the first part of the mental game I referred to was:

A. The preparation of the audition - (those aspects outside of technique, languages, memorization, etc.) - in other words, getting yourself to the best state of mind for your audition or auditions.

I am sure that you can point out things that you do to prepare yourself for auditions, competitions, etc. and I would love to hear from you what some of those might be. In the meantime, here are some of mine:

1. Think of the audition as a performance, an end result in itself, not the means to an end. Too often, we treat auditions like sporting events, as though we're being judged in a diving competition. While to some extent this is true, the reality is that most of us do much better performing than auditioning (I know I did!) Therefore, get yourself to a frame of mind that equates to performance, and as an adjunct, think about preparing to please yourself, first and foremost.
2. Make a mental checklist of things that you want to accomplish in the upcoming audition. Often, all we think about in an audition is "am going to win/am I going to get hired? While, of course, this is true on one level, it is also true that you should have a list of things you want to do better each time you audition. Sing a particular phrase more expressively, have better breath control on a certain aria, use your body better to express character, etc. If you can leave an audition having checked some of those things off, you will feel successful, and feel mentally prepared for the next challenge.
3. Think like a baseball player. OK, I know this one sounds strange, but I always found it useful. A baseball player is considered highly successful if he bats .300. There are a number of players who have nicely successful careers who bat .250. What this means is that for every time ten times they go to home plate to bat they are only successful between 2 and 3 times. Imagine if it was defined the other way around - that they were defined by the 7 times they weren't successful. Yet, this is what we as singers do - feel like failures every time we don't succeed! Try this as you look at your next group of upcoming auditions - the average success rate for opera auditions is probably closer to 1 or 2 per 10 auditions. Think of your auditions in groups and realize that there will be some misses, but the successes will come, and that a .200 average is pretty darn good!


  1. I liked these three points. Number three reminds me of the half glass full/half empty analogy. It's all about perspective.

  2. Great points. #1 & #3 are right on target.

    #2 is also, but for me not during an audition itself but rather prior to. During the performance I shouldn't be thinking of anything. Body movement, phrase expression, breath control and the like need to be worked on and ingrained in the habit beforehand. Then during the audition or performance I need to just execute without thought what I've ingrained. If I ran a mental checklist during a performance, the flow and ease would be replaced with a mechanical intellectual singing. But that's just for me personally, I'm sure each person has something else that works.

    Thanks for another great post!

  3. Very good points. And yes, I think number 3 is essential as a mindset, to avoid permature discouragement, and realise that we all have hits and misses.
    Keep up the good work.