Allison Gibbons is a pro at juggling a hectic schedule. As she gets ready for graduation and graduate school auditions, Allison gives some advice on how to prepare yourself for an upcoming audition. Her helpful tips also apply to anyone trying to handle a busy semester! (Hey, that’s all of us!)
EDIT: The Lyric Theatre opera scenes performance will be on April 24th at 7 P.M. in the concert hall.
Welcome to Spring 2013, TCNJ! This semester is an exciting one for me; I am now several weeks into student teaching, which I am absolutely loving! It definitely keeps me busy, but if you have read anything I blogged last semester, youʼve probably figured out that no matter how busy I am, there are certain activities I just canʼt stay away from. Thus, this semester youʼll still find me at the TCNJ Chorale concerts (the most important being our Hand in Hand concert at Lincoln Center on March 22) as well as Lyric Theatreʼs opera scenes performance, which is EDIT: scheduled for April 24 at 7:00 PM in the concert hall). Before I know it, May will be upon us and Iʼll be donning my cap and gown (but shhh–donʼt say “the g word;” I might cry)! But before any of this happens, I do have something else to worry about, something that will ultimately decide the outcome of my post-collegiate life: graduate school auditions.
Preparing for auditions can be overwhelming; every school wants different materials prepared and has different policies regarding accompanists and placement tests; itʼs definitely stressful, but there are ways to make the experience less stressful than it has the potential to be. Here are just several actions that Iʼve been taking to make sure I donʼt lose my mind in the final days leading up to my four auditions:
1. Prioritize. If you have a lot of different repertoire to prepare, make yourself a list or chart of everything you need to practice; keep a record of the pieces youʼve worked on every day. Obviously some pieces may need more attention than others, but this will help you ensure that none of your rep is being neglected!
2. Stay organized. I applied to five schools and am auditioning at four of them, so it was important that I made sure to request different audition dates for each school whenever possible, especially when more than one school had dates that overlapped. Additionally, my planner is my saving grace; I know that writing things on my calendar keeps me in check and helps me make sure Iʼm getting things done efficiently and on time. Iʼm also the queen of to-do lists, which are a major source of stress relief for me. I find that writing down everything that I have to get done helps me to organize my thoughts so I can focus on one task at a time instead of getting flustered thinking about everything I need to accomplish.
3. Set aside time to relax. Itʼs easy to be super stressed when you are going crazy trying to balance a zillion different things (school, work, clubs, your personal life, etc.) in conjunction with practicing and audition preparation. One way to prevent yourself from having a complete breakdown (besides staying physically healthy, which is another blog topic for another day) is to designate some downtime each day. Do something you enjoy before you go to bed each night; try reading a book or watching television for thirty minutes (I personally enjoy number puzzles such as KenKen). Calm down and give yourself some time to relax before your next day of insanity and chaos.
These are just a few of the things Iʼm doing to protect what little sanity I have left during my last semester here at The College. Many of these are things I do all the time (for example, I did all of these things last semester when I was preparing for Orfeo and my recital simultaneously), not just when auditions are approaching! Best of luck to everyone, whether youʼre preparing for an upcoming audition or just trying to make the best of a busy semester.
BLOGGER BONUS! We also asked our bloggers the following question. Check out Alli’s response below!
What was the best or most exciting part of your winter break?
Over winter break, I enjoyed spending time with my family and friends and relaxing after a hectic semester. It was also exciting to receive notification about passing prescreening at MSM, Mannes, and Peabody!