How to turn a band audition failure into an inspiration

A lot of people see failure as a dark moment in their life. Let me tell you a story of the failure that turned into something very inspirational and rewarding. One band audition changed my life but let’s start from the beginning.

Right at the beginning of my musical journey I was totally into metal. I would play Metallica and Slayer covers with my friends in the dark corners of cellars and factory changing rooms. Back then, there were no proper practice rooms and studios, so we had no choice, but It was fun.

As much as I loved heavy music though, I was always open to different musical styles. At the end of the day, to me, music is music, so I would listen to anything that was on the radio. I knew that I wanted to be more than a single genre guitarist. I wanted to play and learn music as a whole, without narrowing down my options and religiously fixated on one style of music. I always found different musical styles highly inspiring. Instead of judging and refusing to listen to them, I would think how could use the melody or catchy tune to learn something new from it. So after playing exclusively heavy music for a few years, I decided that I want to try something new. I felt like there was something new waiting for me. I decided to join a pop-rock band.

I found an add in the newspaper (pre-internet times – things have changed since then). The band was looking for a versatile guitarist to play the 80s and 90 covers (it was back in the 90s so this music was very fresh). I decided to get in touch. The band invited me to their rehearsal. I appeared at the audition with my guitar, amp and with a hope that I would join the band. To cut a long story short, I did not get the job. Unfortunately, they did not like my style at all – I had too much metal influence and we really did not click together. Although it was a total failure, I was delighted. The fact they refused me to join their band was irrelevant. It was the first time I was exposed to a completely new way of rehearsing and working on music. I was so inspired by seeing real pros (they all had music degree) working together and I was blown away.

That night, on the way back from that audition, I sat on an empty train station. I watched passing trains and I was happy 🙂 I was so grateful that I had a chance to be in one room with this band. From this one audition, I learned so much. It opened my eyes to the communication between musicians, which is a required skill to be truly great ( it was the first time I saw a bass player doing proper sight reading during a rehearsal) and a whole lot more.

This experience gave me direction and kind of a virtual practice plan for the future. I saw exactly what was missing in my musicianship. I knew exactly what I had to fix in my guitar playing.

My friends were so confused. They could not get why I was so excited instead of being down. In my mind, I was the winner, this one unsuccessful audition started a completely new chapter in my life. It made me realise that I wanted to be much more than a one-style guitarist. I changed my practice routine and consciously started to listen to blues and jazz. After a few months, I auditioned for a blues band. These guys where much more understanding and gave me the chance to become one of them. It took a lot of work and ego shaping. Since then, I played in a lot of different bands. I gigged with blues, funk, electronic and experimental music bands.

I feel that without this one bad experience, I would never get where I am today. My failure turned out to be one of the biggest and most rewarding lessons in my life.


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