Yikes, I’ve got an audition!

So, a couple weeks ago I wrote and asked about getting into a jam. Now, I’m in a jam (pun intended) because I’ve somehow landed an audition with a working cover band. Their founding bassist is having to step away, and their fill-in guy is already double-booked, so they’re looking for someone new to join the band. The band leader called tonight after seeing my profile on Bandmix, and we had a good chat. Long story short, he’s interested in having me come out and test the waters just over a week from now.

But, here’s the deal: I’ve only played in a couple of bands ever (both short term, years ago, on other instruments). I’ve only played bass at home and a few times at very informal jams. I’m excited to be given such a great opportunity but pretty nervous about going into an audition – and then potentially being on stage soon thereafter! (Just to be clear, I was very upfront about all this, and the band leader still seemed genuinely interested in giving me a shot.)

I’ll get a set list by email and will have a week to become familiar with the songs (all radio hits I’ve heard but have never played, since I’ve not played much). Other than practicing the tunes, what advice can you offer me in preparing for and playing at the rehearsal? And if that goes well, any thoughts on getting ready for a live gig?

It may be an overstatement to call this “the chance of a lifetime,” but they are a successful local band with weekly gigs and years of experience. I don’t want to screw this up! Help, please!


Break a leg!


All I can tell you is to learn as many songs on that list as well as you can and rock the audition.
They know you’re not a pro and still in the learning stages so they should cut you some slack if things don’t go 100%.

Try to lose yourself in the music when you play instead of focusing on “I’m doing an audition and can’t screw this up”. Even the best musicians make mistakes so if you do try to stay in the flow and call it an interpretation.

Good luck.


Best of luck, man!


Be on time if not 5 minutes early is the best advice I’ve had


And in tune. That’s it.


The hardest thing to remember is to have fun. After all you are playing music. So have fun.


See also:

Best of luck!


Some other stuff you might find interesting:

You might recognize this dude :wink:


If I were in your place the first thing I would do is see if either @JoshFossgreen or @Gio were able to fit in some preperatory lesson time. Even if it’s just going over the song list. Getting that kind of professional advice before hand would be well worth it.

Good luck. I’m looking forward to reading how it goes.


Wow, this went fast from “I’ll never…” to “I’ll play on stage” :grin:

Congrats on being invited to the auditions. But, first things first! I wouldn’t worry about playing on stage just yet - after all, it’s audition and you’d have to nail it in order to move to the “playing on stage” stage (sorry, bad sentence :wink:)

I would see whether you could narrow their list down to a reasonable amount of songs for the audition (if the list is way too long) and then indeed focus on practicing those songs. I recently saw a video of a female bass player showing how to learn new songs (it might have been here), but I can’t find it right now. There are different strategies, but listening to the songs often and becoming familiar with them is typically on top of most lists of how to learn new songs. Immerse yourself in the material they send.

At the audition: just be yourself… remember they need a bass player potentially much more urgently than you need a band and a gig right now :sunglasses: It’s an “all to win, nothing to lose” situation really!


Excellent advice!

Congrats on the audition. I have never had to sit for one like this so I can only imagine the anticipation. What I would call out from similar experiences, though, is to be confident in what you can do, honest (with yourself and them) about what you cannot, and try not to be nervous. It’s not the only ship to set sail.


Overall great advice! Break a leg and keep it real :metal:


There is no advice other than practice the tunes.

It’s hard to be comfortable doing anything else when you’re not comfortable with the music.

Just prepare as much as you can, and show up with suggestions for what songs you feel most comfortable about and a minimum of excuses. No one likes excuses.

However many songs there are to learn, make sure you listen to all of them, play a bit on as many as you can but definitely make sure you can perform several all the way through so they can have a legitimate audition.

Everything else will make sense as it comes. Best way to prepare for a show? Make sure you’re practicing with the band and learning the material so you’re comfortable with the songs you have to play.

Comfort with the material won’t stop the anxiety dreams and nervousness, but it will always get you through the gig/audition!


They’ve given me 8 that we will play that evening for the rehearsal/audition. There are another 40 or so after that, so I feel like I’ll be doing nothing but learning new songs if the audition does go well.

Thanks to everyone for the words of encouragement and advice!


I think this is a great idea, but with the limited time… and honestly the money… but it also may be a worthwhile investment… :thinking:

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I’m surprised so far nobody mentioned buying the biggest, meanest, most powerful amp and cab just to be sure :grin:

There were a lot of great suggestions, nothing to add. Enjoy and good luck


Youll do fine. Just be yourself… best of luck


By the way… Audition has been postponed twice. First time, it ended up that not everyone could make it; second time, the rehearsal space was booked. I know it sounds lame, but they’re actually a very professional crew from what I can tell. I got to see them live, which was nice. I helped break down and pack up after the show and spent some time chatting with them. They’re mostly 50+, maybe one guy younger than me (I’m 48), and it turns out that their original bassist is dealing with some health issues that don’t allow him to play. But, he still wants to “be a part of it” and might play some if he’s feeling up to it. Anyway, I’ve been coming back from COVID, so this delay has allowed me to heal more and to work deeper into their catalog of songs. I’m now pretty consistent and at least competent with probably 30 of the 40 or so tunes I was given as a sort of master list. (I’ve totally mastered the short list for the actual audition.)
I’ll tell you this… Seeing them play live made me want to be up there with them! I’m hopeful and just trying to be patient until the time is right.


Not a bad place to be, having extra time to prepare. Still looking forward to hearing back on how it goes.