5 Ways to Handle Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is basically a fact of life. I’m on my second performance degree right now, and just started my second decade as a performer, and I still get some pre-performance electricity going even for “small” performances. However, just because you’ve got some adrenaline going doesn’t have to mean you feel sick or terrified. It’s all a matter of perspective. Here’s how to feel pumped instead of petrified when you perform: Flip your thinking. The most useful thing for

5 Ways to Prepare for Important Auditions

Auditions are one of those things that no musician will ever be truly finished with. Unless you’re Renee Fleming, you’re going to have to audition for stuff. So with that in mind, here’s how to prepare for an audition: Know your music. Duh. But seriously, know it forwards and backwards and in your sleep. So, know your music’s history, know its context, know its composer’s favorite color. The better you know your music, the less likely you’ll have a weird slip during the audit

4 Ways to Tell If You Should Turn Down a Gig

I’ll be completely honest: I’m relatively new to the world of paying gigs. My undergrad was not in a good location for classical performance, so pretty much all of my performances were unpaid, just to get something for my CV. However, now that I’m in a new city, I have MANY more performance opportunities, as well as a ton of unpaid gigs that just seem super fun. How’s a musician to choose? Here’s how to decide when to take or pass on a gig! Is it worth your time? Literally, i

How to Practice In Spite of Everything

Anonymous asked: I’m preparing for college auditions right now and I have a problem that is even more relevant now. I want to be practicing a lot more but I have always had a problem with practice because I am constantly tired. My doctor can’t tie it back to an actual cause, and has suggested some lifestyle adjustments. While this helps a bit, practicing my instrument always makes me really tired after a few minutes. I love playing and I just don’t know what to do. Anonymous

How to Boost Self-Confidence

proanotherworkgress asked: How do you work on having more self-confidence in yourself as a musician and in your work? Basically how do you prevent yourself from selling yourself short? Confidence is such a huge and delicate part of being a good musician. Without it, plenty of talented individuals with great potential end up dropping their musical dreams, convinced they’re awful. With too much, other musicians sometimes burn bridges or blow auditions because they don’t prepare

How to Meet a New Music Teacher

Something I didn’t realize when I was younger was how often I was going to study music under someone new. If you’ve played music for more than a year, you’ve probably already had at least one “new” musical mentor, either as a new teacher, an additional teacher, or a new director. And every time, it’s stressful until I figure out what the new person is like. Every teacher is different, and going into that first lesson I never know what to expect. Here’s a guide to making a goo

Do’s and Don’ts for College Audition Repertoire

Auditioning​ for college is probably one of the most nerve-racking​ things a musician will do in their career. However, the rep you choose can go a long way to making you feel better about it! Here’s some do’s and don’ts for choosing your audition repertoire to show off your skills. Do: Choose rep you are confident in. This is honestly the most important rule. If you aren’t confident in your music, it’s going to show. Choose stuff that you could perform in your sleep, and liv

How to Tour a School

The following article is taken verbatim from my book, How to Music Major: Surviving the College Search! It’s on Amazon and all other places ebooks are sold. There’s lots of stuff in it, drawing on my own experience and my friends’ knowledge of getting into and succeeding at the whole College Dealio. If you have topics that you’d like to see included in the next book, What to Expect Freshman Year, message me and ask! So you’ve chosen some interesting schools — now you’re going

What to Bring to Competitions

There’s a big statewide competition coming up for me and members of my studio, and all of the freshmen are starting to get jittery. Recently, one asked me, “Like, what are we even doing? What do I need to bring? Help!” I had the same panicky feeling my freshman year (and honestly still do, shhhh). Luckily, I now mostly know what I’m doing, since I’ve been around the block a couple times. There’s a couple important things to keep in mind about most competitions: They are all-d

I’M RELEASING AN eBOOK.

It’s happening. I’ve hinted online, I’ve mentioned surprises, and this is it! What what! I will be releasing How to Music Major: Surviving the College Search this coming week. This is my guide to, you guessed it, surviving and thriving during the music major application process. This book contains some of my most requested answers, including: How auditions actually work! How to figure out whether a music major is right for you! How to handle audition nerves! AND MORE! It is g

How to Prepare for Auditions

My first college audition went kinda awful. I was terrified the entire time, and don’t actually remember most of it. I wouldn’t wish those kind of nerves on anyone. Honestly, the thing that actually PREVENTS audition nerves in the first place is being prepared. Knowing what you’re doing is the best way to feel confident. (If you don’t know what you’re doing, faking it helps.) Rehearse in front of people. The worst stage fright usually happens because you’ve never performed a

How to Handle Failing an Audition

If you are, were, are going to be, or even considered being a music major in college, then you know the fear of Not Getting In. (Heck, in broader terms this applies to college in general, too.) It’s the fear of finishing the application, of doing the audition,  of getting through everything, and then being told, “I’m sorry, but we had many wonderful applicants this year and you were unfortunately not chosen.” Or even worse, just getting a form letter. Or worst of ALL, just ne

How to Fight Audition Nerves

Auditions! They’re scary. That deserved a line break. Maybe a crash of thunder or something. Ominous music. That kind of thing. This drama is because auditions are basically the boogeyman of the music world – to quote Eric Whitacre, the rockstar of the choral world, “The terror of performing never goes away. Instead, you get very, very comfortable being terrified.” It’s true, honestly. I still get butterflies in my stomach before most performances. I used to brag that I didn’