Do you want to become an expert auditionee or an expert performer?

How much have you invested in auditions?

And I mean time away from your loved ones, practicing excerpts, dealing with nerves, training to become an expert auditionee, risking damage to your craft by over-practicing the extremities of your skills, as well as the actual expenses involved.

Auditions are like school exams: You learn how to pass them and you’ll get excellent grades, but how will being an expert examinee help with life?

One of the biggest complaints I hear from classical musicians is the amount of time, energy and resources they spend auditioning, rather than income-producing activities.

There is nothing wrong with taking auditions – it’s the old way classical music has survived and paid for itself. And as long as you consider what your expectations are, and what your priorities are, then great! Go take as many as you can.

But here are two big questions you really should ask yourself before embarking on an audition:

1. What’s my Return on Investment (ROI)?

Of course, there are financial implications to attending an audition – the application video, travel, accommodation, food, fees, tips, etc.

But there are other costs as well: time spent completing the materials, time away from your loved ones, time not spent on income-producing activities, distraction from your paying audiences and students, etc.

There are four areas of ROI to think about when auditioning:

  1. How will this affect my finances? Will I ever recover the costs of attending the audition? Will the fee I get from the job pay me not just enough to survive, but also recoup the expenses of auditioning?
  2. How will this affect my craft? Preparing for an audition usually requires you to learn, study and prepare repertoire that isn’t really in your comfort zone or heart. Often the rep stretches your skills (rightly so!) which has caused damage to voices and fingers by over-extending practice sessions. I know way too many classical musicians no longer performing because they damaged themselves by over-practicing repertoire they didn’t like or was just a little beyond their technical capabilities.
  3. How will this affect my career? What do you want to be known for – being an amazing auditionee, or an amazing performer? Are you hoping to make new connections and network, or get exposure? What has been your ROI in those areas so far… so why keep doing it? Expecting any “opportunity” for exposure or networking to actually help you build a profitable performing career is skating on very thin ice. I’d rather focus my time, energy and resources on actual income-producing activities rather than just hope.
  4. How will this affect lifestyle? We all choose where and how we live. Almost daily I hear from immigrants who escaped truly horrible and oppressive environments to come to the USA, and who choose what they do and where they do it. Our careers are supposed to support us living life as human beings (our “lifestyle”) and we use our craft to build a career with. Is auditioning and constantly moving to where the work is your choice of lifestyle? I’m not judging if it is – nothing wrong with that. If that’s not your preference, then what is the ROI for your lifestyle by auditioning?

The second question to ask yourself is much simpler, yet in so many ways much harder to answer:

2. Will this audition and/or the job being offered help me share my Outcome with the world? 

In other words, how will spending my time, energy and resources on this audition allow me to make people’s lives better by giving them the Outcome they are paying for.

(Don’t know what your Outcome is? We need to talk!)

If you actually enjoy auditioning, awesome. Well done you! I would still recommend you ask yourself those two big questions before each audition.

But if you’d rather just be performing AND earning a decent living doing so, then you might not need to spend so much time, energy and resources on auditions. There are ways you can focus on performing instead and creating actual income-producing activities.

If you want to know more, let’s talk. Give us a call at Concert University and let’s see if we can help you.

Focus on what’s truly important to you: working for others and paying for the privilege, or getting out there and sharing classical music with people who may never have been exposed to it before.

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