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  #1  
Old 03-14-2015, 04:16 PM
BFrench501 BFrench501 is offline
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Default Preparing for an audition

Hi guys sorry I use this forum more to ask questions than to provide insight (merely because I don't always believe I can offer the same advice as guys like Bermuda and Larryace etc). But I'm hoping I can get some guidance around auditioning.

I have done auditions before but it was literally play the song and if it was good enough I was likely to get the gig. This is a new game altogether. I have been given two songs to prepare which I think I'll pass on but I've been asked to 'prepare 1-2 minutes of music that showcase myself'.

This is a difficult thing. Are functions musicians really asking me to flout out chops that are completely irrelavant to what they require. Are they even wanting me to drum solo or just to choose one song that incorporates many styles yet do it all in 1-2 minutes.

I've never been asked to do this before...it just seems very strange. It's like a conveyor belt, I'm auditioning at 11 but they are also auditioning guitar, keys and vocals all at the same time. Crazy!

Sorry for long message. Any help appreciated and any experience would be great if that can be shared.

Cheers
Baz
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  #2  
Old 03-14-2015, 05:00 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

First of all, thank you for the kind words, and don't even worry about only asking questions. That gives blowhards like me a chance to run my mouth.

My first guess is they want to see if you can hold your own in a solo situation. If you're uncomfortable, don't let it show. Smile a little if you can manage it during your solo time. My guess is they're looking to see how confident you are, and how well you can carry yourself in a solo situation. You would be a reflection of the band and they want to make sure it's a nice reflection.

OMG I'd hate that. My strongpoint is accompaniment. Still, you have to come up with something. 2 minutes isn't a lot.

If you put together a mental outline of the different elements you want to incorporate in your solo....for instance 30 seconds of establishing the time and feel, maybe going into a call and response thing with yourself for 45 seconds to a minute, then maybe going into a jungle floor tom thing like Krupa's "Sing Sing Sing" then figure a way to get the hell out.

That's just an example of how you want to identify the elements you want to include in your solo, and arrange them in order, so you have a roadmap for your solo.

Funny, most people want to know how well you play behind them, not on your own. There's a possibility that if you do too hot doggy of a solo, this could be a trap to weed out over the top guys. Maybe they don't want that. Maybe they do. If you knew deep down what they are looking for, that would help. Maybe they really do want a good soloist. Maybe they want to give you enough rope to hang yourself. Not sure. You don't know if these are the types of people who don't want a drummer that will upstage them. Any extra info you could get on these guys...from past drummers, or wherever else you can get it, could only help you.

Best wishes for your success man. You have to keep us apprised as to how it's going.
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Last edited by larryace; 03-14-2015 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 03-14-2015, 05:54 PM
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PQleyR PQleyR is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

Why don't you ask them for a bit more detail on what they would like you to prepare? They can't expect you to read minds for this.
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:01 PM
BFrench501 BFrench501 is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

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Originally Posted by PQleyR View Post
Why don't you ask them for a bit more detail on what they would like you to prepare? They can't expect you to read minds for this.
Good point. I guess if its anything like a job interview you arent allowed to ask the meaning of the question just interpret it. Being autistic that is a minefield and then some...
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:12 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

IDK for an audition, and this is only me, I don't ask questions for a few reasons.

There are a lot of people who don't like being questioned. Since I don't know these new people, I'd play it safe and assume they don't like to be questioned. In fact the less you open your mouth, the better. Open ears closed mouth. I agree that you should interpret what you think they want on your own, without their input. If you fit you fit. If not that's OK too.

Another reason I don't like to ask questions about the music part is that the person asking the question is usually in the power position. Guitarists IMO want the power position for themselves, and don't like to feel that their drummer...who they don't even know...is putting themselves in the power position already. Guitarists IMO generally prefer a drummer who isn't in charge.

Asking questions about them is different. (Hey nice guitar, is that Pre CBS?)
Questioning anything about the music is something I would not do at first.

Like Tony says, shut up and play. Great, great advise.
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  #6  
Old 03-23-2015, 07:55 PM
BFrench501 BFrench501 is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

Well...the audition was so much of a success that i got turned down with the old card "we got someone who has experience in functions bands". It bought back very painful memories of the phrase "on this occasion" which I read a lot being declined for regular straight employment.

The audition itself was horrible. I was scheduled to audition at 11. I was setting up as they arrived dead on 11. I set up my kit to feel as comfortable as possible but there were big issues with the sound. The room was 12x6 metres but only had two top speakers on top of bass bins. They could not get the volume to be loud and clear enough for me to play along to the drumless tracks.

This wasn't so much of a problem for Johnny B Goode but for Rio (Duran Duran) it was an absolute nightmare! The version they recorded the bass was slightly out of time in places and the vocal phrasing was off which didn't help to keep the time. They put me through 2 monitors behind the kit but the sound was not clear at all.

I really regretted not having in ear monitors as the sound wouldnt have been an issue.

What grinds my gears is that as the first person to audition they should have been there early. So I am the guinea pig for them adjusting the sound, but its me that gets screwed over. It meant that the two minute mashup that I'd prepared taking me from 'Carry on my wayward son' to 'Sex Machine' to 'Locked Out of Heaven' to 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' was a waste of time. I was completely rattled by this point as if I wasn't nervous enough, then having to do a 2 minute drum solo.

What was extremely difficult is that the guy audition was a massive dream theater fan, but he was looking to play all the pop stuff. I tried to just play steady time but I couldnt shake out of my head whether I should have been doing Mike Portnoy style fills and switching time signatures to impress him. I could not tell what to do.

Brass tacks of it...I felt screwed over with sound. And even if they let that slide and then inexperience is what cost me - how on earth do I get experience when nobody will give me a chance? Function musicians look down their nose at pub players and it is not fair. They were inexperienced once, why can't they see that and give someone else a chance.

I've been doing covers for 15 months and have built a 350 song deep repertoire with ability to learn quickly thanks to Dave Majors charting system and having a sick memory recall. So it's disappointing that I am not given the chance I very much crave. Sometimes I get tempted to follow a Casey COoper route just to get notoriety but why? All I want is to play diverse range of covers and to make a bride and groom/birthday boy or girls night extra special.
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:29 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

If you're playing along to tracks, then it's reasonable to bring headphones for the purposes of the audition. Bring in-ears if you have them, but use headphones, so you can uncover one ear in order to better hear the other musicians (you might not want to do this, actually, but it's nice to have options). Always bring whatever is needed to hear yourself in any situation; your monitoring experience is your responsibility alone (unless you're fortunate enough to have a monitor engineer).

If there's a track to play along with, focus on the parts that are the most stable: the click and any pre-recorded rhythmic stuff, and just flat out ignore a wandering bass track or late vocal (which is probably what you should do in a real band situation anyway). If there is no track, and your playing with a new group of players, then dial up a metronome and play to that, forcing the band to follow you. Most musicians are imperfect performers when they're relaxed, and being in an audition usually makes them worse.

About the guy being a Dream Theater fan: it really doesn't matter who is a fan of what. Function bands are looking for drummers that provide solid, comfortable time, know the parts, and can improvise when needed. A Dream Theater fan doesn't want or need loud, crazy time signatures and double bass fills on a function gig. To him, a drummer that is a Dream Theater fan might indicate some level of technical accomplishment, or just a musician who likes the same sort of music. It doesn't have anything to do with this gig, though.

The big take away, perhaps, is to not follow or respond to musicians that are not playing confidently, are rushing/dragging, missing parts. Ignore them and plow through with your own, steady time and knowledge of the song. It is not easy to play the right thing while others are screwing up all around you, but otherwise a band just follows whomever is f'ing up. Follow cues from the bandleader, but not another auditioning player.

It's too bad you didn't get the gig; it's obvious you love drumming and wanted to succeed. You should send a follow-up email thanking the band for the opportunity to jam with them, and to please keep you in mind for any future projects. Be classy.

Going the YouTube video route isn't likely to get you hired. If they were in town and looking for gigs, nobody would hire any of those guys for function gigs (for better or worse, they might hire the girls). Instead, go study with the best teacher you can find and ask to have your playing examined for weaknesses. Once you've built up that relationship, ask that he/she refer you for gigs.

Is there a "School of Rock" type place nearby, where you can receive band-oriented instruction? Those places are great for networking and getting experience.
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  #8  
Old 03-23-2015, 10:17 PM
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Icetech Icetech is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

Take it as a lesson learned.. and btw.. i am very picky about punctuality.. 11 meant 10:45 (meaning them being there and ready to listen/play at 11) so if the first time you meet them its barely on time.. that doesnt' bode well to me :)

Gotta be more than 1 working band near you.. just keep trying:)
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  #9  
Old 03-24-2015, 01:58 AM
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No Way Jose No Way Jose is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

I wouldn't even worry about it. Just go on to the next band.
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  #10  
Old 03-24-2015, 02:41 AM
DPTrainor DPTrainor is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

Not getting hired after an interview or in this case audition is always a useful learning experience. When you learn something you benefit. The next audition you will learn more. And lot of what you will learn is that some things are out of your control. So take the experience as a learning experience and move forward knowing that your prepared for the next audition. It's actually all good.
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  #11  
Old 03-24-2015, 03:47 AM
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JustJames JustJames is online now
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

Remember that every band audition is a two way audition: Sounds like the band failed to be hired by you as much as you by them.
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  #12  
Old 03-24-2015, 11:49 AM
BFrench501 BFrench501 is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

Quote:
Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
If you're playing along to tracks, then it's reasonable to bring headphones for the purposes of the audition. Bring in-ears if you have them, but use headphones, so you can uncover one ear in order to better hear the other musicians (you might not want to do this, actually, but it's nice to have options). Always bring whatever is needed to hear yourself in any situation; your monitoring experience is your responsibility alone (unless you're fortunate enough to have a monitor engineer).

If there's a track to play along with, focus on the parts that are the most stable: the click and any pre-recorded rhythmic stuff, and just flat out ignore a wandering bass track or late vocal (which is probably what you should do in a real band situation anyway). If there is no track, and your playing with a new group of players, then dial up a metronome and play to that, forcing the band to follow you. Most musicians are imperfect performers when they're relaxed, and being in an audition usually makes them worse.

About the guy being a Dream Theater fan: it really doesn't matter who is a fan of what. Function bands are looking for drummers that provide solid, comfortable time, know the parts, and can improvise when needed. A Dream Theater fan doesn't want or need loud, crazy time signatures and double bass fills on a function gig. To him, a drummer that is a Dream Theater fan might indicate some level of technical accomplishment, or just a musician who likes the same sort of music. It doesn't have anything to do with this gig, though.

The big take away, perhaps, is to not follow or respond to musicians that are not playing confidently, are rushing/dragging, missing parts. Ignore them and plow through with your own, steady time and knowledge of the song. It is not easy to play the right thing while others are screwing up all around you, but otherwise a band just follows whomever is f'ing up. Follow cues from the bandleader, but not another auditioning player.

It's too bad you didn't get the gig; it's obvious you love drumming and wanted to succeed. You should send a follow-up email thanking the band for the opportunity to jam with them, and to please keep you in mind for any future projects. Be classy.

Going the YouTube video route isn't likely to get you hired. If they were in town and looking for gigs, nobody would hire any of those guys for function gigs (for better or worse, they might hire the girls). Instead, go study with the best teacher you can find and ask to have your playing examined for weaknesses. Once you've built up that relationship, ask that he/she refer you for gigs.

Is there a "School of Rock" type place nearby, where you can receive band-oriented instruction? Those places are great for networking and getting experience.
Thanks for this post as it is informative. I was playing alone to backing tracks that were very sparse in terms of what was going on. I've never been trained in doing sound engineering. After all, I'm sat behind the kit how can I tell what goes on out front?

I had purchased an in ear kit which was meant to arrive to me in time for the audition and for a gig I was playing on the night. SM215 in ears with a Mackie mixing desk and 8 channel loom to get a good mix of everything if I needed to go so far.

I shouldve just said to them that they would just have to see me play the songs and they not hear them. Is it really expected of the drummer to take a million cables to cover every scenario?
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  #13  
Old 03-24-2015, 01:47 PM
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eclipseownzu eclipseownzu is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

Remember, you are also auditioning them. If a band had shown up at the time the audition was expected to start only to then try and get the sound right, that would have been a huge red flag to me. They should have had somebody there early working with you to get the sound right so the audition could start at the scheduled time without a hitch. If that is how they run an audition, imagine how they will run an actual gig. I say you are better off, find a band with their shit together and you will be happier.
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  #14  
Old 03-24-2015, 10:39 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Preparing for an audition

Quote:
Originally Posted by BFrench501 View Post
I shouldve just said to them that they would just have to see me play the songs and they not hear them. Is it really expected of the drummer to take a million cables to cover every scenario?
No, you should have brought a small mixer, headphones, cables, and adapters, so you could split the signal and have it go to both places (the PA, so the band can hear, and your headphones, so you can hear).

There are in fact drummers who do this, so, yes, it's expected. It's better if you can find out how they will be sending the track to you (from an iPod, phone, mixer, etc.), so you can plan accordingly. If a band expects you to play with a click and/or track, then it's on you to make sure you can hear it clearly while playing. The rest of the band doesn't understand or care how tricky it is to hear pre-recorded parts while smacking loud drums, and why should they? You're the drummer. The biggest reason a musician gets called back, is because they're not, in any way, a PITA to other people.

So, unfortunately, yes, this means you have to be part sound engineer as well as a drummer. But that's for this gig, not all of them.
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