In a blog post, Ben Levin details his experience auditioning for a Lady Gaga tour. I found it pretty interesting. Some takeaways:
1. Being well-trained as a musician doesn’t necessarily give you stage appeal, and that’s what many acts are looking for. Is this a negative reflection on the industry? I’ll leave the question open.
2. I was intrigued by the fact that the audition panel seemed to be looking for someone who could think on their feet. Adaptability is indeed useful in a rock show. Can you play a song exactly as it is on the album? Can you personalize it, for example by turning a mostly synth arrangement into something more guitar-heavy? Can you fade into the background, or take the spotlight and go crazy? Can you improvise in any context, even when you don’t agree that it’s appropriate? What is your personal definition of “shredding,” and how would you meet someone else’s expectations if they asked you to shred?
3. Groove is everything. Play in the pocket, and your perceived virtuosity will gain a few points.