i'll remember the day forever: may 20th, 2011. i started the day waking up on molly yeh's couch on 96th street, and ended the day carrying two bottles of dewar's scotch whisky into a friend's apartment to celebrate something i never thought i could achieve. that day changed my life. it still boggles my mind that it happened. well, to be honest, it actually didn't start that morning. it started in mid-january of that year, when i received the repertoire list in the mail about 4 months before audition day. i remember opening the packet of music. it was LONG. there were 54 excerpts on the list including 3 solo works. between january and may of that year i worked harder than i ever have before. over 4 months, i went through a carefully designed series of steps meant to learn and polish the excerpts, and trained myself to perform them consistently at a high level. auditions aren't a mystery. they're not a magical art. auditions are something that you can learn and master. the key to mastering audition preparation is to build and develop a better set of steps between the day you get the list and the day of the audition. i truly believe that i don't have any kind of innate talent. what sets me apart is that i developed an audition preparation process that brought my playing to a high level on that one day. my process consists of 5 major steps, and it's what i'll go over in detail on today's episode. if you'd like to follow along while you listen, download my audition cheat sheet at robknopper.com/auditioncheatsheet. in this episode, .you'll learn about: what happened the moment i heard that i won the audition, my biggest audition struggles (including nerves) and how i overcame them, and the 5 steps of my audition preparation process that led to my winning audition. i also answered an awesome question submitted by richard. thanks richard! if you want to ask a question to be answered on a future episode, go to robknopper.com/ask. and please leave a rating and review! i'd love to hear your feedback and ideas for future episodes.