How to Pass an Audition: Bass Players (Ok Maybe not)

We all have to do auditions every now and again. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I haven’t had to audition for many people at all, being that I was always asked to play or join a group. For the most part though we have to and it terrifies us but why? Do we really need to worry? Personally I love auditions, its the feeling of being dropped into a mix of professionals with them all watching and listening to you, like a solo gig. So I’m going to rundown my top 5 things to do to help you pass and audition as a bass player. Disclaimer! This wont guarantee you a position after an audition but these are guidelines which can help you to be prepared.

5. Learning your parts.

Sounds like common sense doesn’t it? It is but what does it mean? I always strive to learn the parts so that I can play with them without the score. Most of the time you wouldn’t play with the score anyway but some situations you do. So be prepared to play with or without the score. Try shifting the keys around too it’s never a bad idea to do this just incase in the spur of the moment the singer wants to try it. Always learn them in plenty of time too. Don’t rush through all the tracks 4 hours before your audition, it never works and people can tell.

4. Equipment

Make sure all of your equipment is working and of professional quality. you don’t want to have the rest of the band waiting for you to sort out your dodgy leads or buzzing pedal board. Also clean your guitar and have nice fresh new strings it does make the right impression. Oh but how many basses should I bring? pedals? my amp? I listen to the group/artists work to see what type of bass would compliment their music. I tend to take two basses, one that I feel will work well and another which is close just as a backup. Pedals, yet again what do you think would work? Listen to their music and take what you think you will need. I either take my own amplifier or at least head or I rent one or make prior arrangements before I travel. Work out some tones that will work in their tracks. Take your portfolio, business cards and a notepad too.

3. Appearance & Personality

“But music isn’t about the image” It is. Take a look at the group/artist your auditioning for and try and style yourself towards what they’re wearing. I’m not saying go out and get their outfit or change who you are but be considerate towards the image of the artist or group so that you can fit in a little bit. Also be well groomed and clean no one wants to be in a band not at least touring with someone who lacks in that department. I used to have a huge beard but I looked after it! Be nice to people. don’t go in there all guns blazing spouting off that you have done this or done that just be yourself and be polite. I normally get called humble as I don’t try and blow my own trumpet to impress people. If people have heard of me, great! If they haven’t I don’t really care. I probable wont tell people who I have played with unless they ask or look at my portfolio.

2. Instructions

Have you been given instructions or guidelines about the audition or tracks? Well keep to them! If they say to learn a particular part do it. If they tell you they don’t want any fancy stuff. Don’t do it ( I do try and learn the melody as well as the bass part just in case I need to solo or do something nice IF I’M ASKED) Be there ahead of time, if your not too sure where it is plan ahead or try a trial run if its not too far away. If they say they will let you know after the audition. They will let you know. Don’t pester them for an answer. maybe a nice email or letter? (I don’t know either) just to say thank you for the opportunity to audition.

1. Happy Fun Time!

If you pass the audition GREAT! If you don’t GREAT! Look it doesn’t matter really unless you really, really desperate, but think of the experience and the new people/connections you have now. If you didn’t get it ask for feedback and what you could improve on.

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