Auditioning for bands and gigs is part of what we do as musicians. Sometimes we get the gig and sometimes we don’t. Rejection can be a hard pill to swallow.


It took me many years to figure out that when they are not rejecting me as a person. How could they? They didn’t even know me.


No, it had to do with something else, and 99.9 % of the time it has to do with the job at hand.


You may not have the right sound or gear.


Or it might be your look wasn’t right.


Or maybe you just didn’t fit the suit.


Most of the time people or companies are looking for someone to fall right into place with very little work on their part.


The important thing is to not take it personal and let it get you down. Obviously, you are good enough; you got the call, right?


So let it go and move on.  Not getting this gig leaves you open for the next great thing that is coming your way soon.


Still, you want to hedge your bets for when it arrives.  Here are a few things I do to prepare when I’m scheduled to go on an audition:


1. I listen to everything the group or individual has out: Mp3’s or videos, I don’t care.


I look and listen to them all. This way I can get a really good idea of what they are used to hearing and a better idea of how I can fit in their sound. Sometimes I will even program some patches in my Line 6 Pod to re-create the sounds use on the record.


2. I look at all of their photos and videos to see how they act and dress.


Sometimes my own personal style fits right in with theirs…other times I will have to alter what I’m wearing to blend in with the look of the band.


Sure, it is better when I keep my own identity, but sometimes it is not just about playing drums – it’s about filling a role in a band, just like acting.  So, if you want the gig sometimes you have to wear the costume.


bands 021913

Different bands have different looks.  Prepare your self before you audition.  (Wilco, Paramore, Guns n’ Roses, from top)


For me, this is my job and I do what I have to do the get the gig.  However, I do have my own personal threshold of pain: meaning there are some things I will not do for the gig.


You, obviously, will determine what you’re willing and not willing to do. But if the rent has to be paid and you need gas, food, etc., you’ll find that you might be willing to reconsider. (just sayin’.)


3. The gear you use is sometimes something bands consider, so I have several basses and amps I can configuration to best fit the gig.


I’m not going to bring my SVT rig for an audition with a casino band doing lounges; and on the same token, I’m not going to bring my 2×10 combo for a festival gig audition either.


I always try to use the gear that fits the band gigging situation, unless they are supplying the gear for the audition.


Making it in this business is not easy, it takes dedication and perseverance.  Sometimes it even takes sacrifice for your art, and more than one or two tough rejections. 


One person whom I think went above and beyond the call of duty is bass player/musician

David Santos. He is a guy that went from barely making it and eating on a budget to playing bass with Ringo Star’s All-Stars and then onto the Billy Joel / Elton John Tour.


Great things do happen. Stay positive, be focused and be ready. The music business is not personal, its business, so don’t take things personally. Your time will come: do your best so you’re ready for when it arrives.




You might also be interested in:


Interview Advice: Prepare for it as you would a show

Q & A with Liz Lewis: Auditions and Recording

Your Warm Up Routine