So you're ready to join a band. That's great! Once you've booked your audition(s), it's time to prepare! How does one prepare for an audition? I'll tell you.
The first step in preparing for any audition is to find out what songs you'll need to play. Once you know which songs to play, you should listen to them over and over in order to become familiar with them. If you have enough time to memorize the songs, that's fantastic and you should do so! If there isn't a lot of time before the audition, just listen to the songs when you can, such as when you're driving, doing chores, or working out. In the case of an upcoming audition on short notice, this next step I describe below should be first priority.
The quickest way to prepare a song is to chart it out! Charting a song is when you create a song chart, which is basically a written outline of the song that shows the song structure as well as important parts. This chart doesn't have to match the song note for note, since us drummers should always put our own spin on things anyway, but you want to ensure that the most important parts are included, such as the song structure, starts, and stops. You don't want to accidentally play the massive drum fill during an acoustic section, so chart the songs! What if you can't read music? That's okay! Even if you can't write correct notation, you can still create a song chart that makes sense to you, regardless of if anyone else can read it. You can still write the structure out, "Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Etc." and things like "Big tom fill." This will help a lot! It is important to note for those that read music, that you may be able to find complete sheet music online, which saves you time as you won't have to chart. If you find sheet music to use, always double check it's accuracy! You'll know very quickly when you start practicing whether or not the sheet music is correct.
Once you've listened to and/or charted the audition material, it's time to play it! Practice until you are confident with as much of the material as possible. If the band gives you 15 songs to work on, asking that you just learn what you can... LEARN IT ALL. If you can make the time for it, learn every single song. If you find yourself with ample time, you can even learn some songs that you know the band plays that they didn't mention for the audition. This will pleasantly surprise them. I'm telling you that having ALL of the material ready is a massive advantage. Bands love it when they ask the drummer during an audition, "What songs do you feel comfortable playing?" and the drummer responds, "You pick."
Once you're prepared to audition, there's only one more thing to do. Ask the band what gear you need to bring. They may have a drum kit already set up, which may be complete, or it could be missing a few pieces. They may not have a kit at all. Be prepared to bring any or all pieces of your drum set.
There may be other drummers auditioning that are just as prepared as you. How can you stand out as a better candidate than them? Be kind. Band members spend a lot of time together, so it's crucial they all get along. No band wants a jerk.
I hope you found this blog helpful. Best of luck with your next audition!