A Mom’s Guide To Navigating National Unified Auditions!
Navigating National Unified Auditions can be overwhelming for any young aspiring performer. For a parent, Unifieds can take you through a range of emotion from fear and anger to overwhelming joy and pride.
As parents we not only believe our children are capable of anything they put their minds to, we also take empathy to another level. When your child is afraid or feels rejected, you feel it tenfold. When someone hurts them, you want to roar like a mama bear chasing a herd of wild coyote that threatens her cub…..to put it mildly.
Let’s face it….this career they are chasing, is FULL of rejection. The arts allow the audience to feel, often taking us through a rainbow of emotion. The actors, actresses, dancers, musicians, and artists that bring this emotion to life frequently draw upon their own experiences, the good AND the bad. Having a career in the arts means hearing NO, way more than YES. The college audition process is the first step in building this colorful palate of emotion and Unifieds is like getting handed a giant box of crayons!
So, how do parents maintain their composure during Unified Auditions?
Stay calm: Your kids look to you as a temperature gauge! If you are running hot and panicked, they will feed off of that energy. Even if you are on fire inside, your exterior should be cool as a cucumber! They will be mean to you. This is a stressful environment and you are their outlet. Breathe…..You Got This.
Be prepared: Upon arrival grab a hotel map and college audition room guide from the concierge’s desk. After settling in your room, walk the halls and scope out your audition rooms. Remember that the hotels will be crowded and the elevators can get congested. Give yourself enough time and if need be… use the stairs!
You are a SHERPA: You are at their disposal. You will carry their bags, run to get them snacks, water, Motrin and write checks. You may go to the room 20 times in one day….and you may wipe their tears too. They are under an enormous amount of pressure! They won’t tell you in the moment, but later when its least expected…you will find that you being there meant more to them than you know! Being a parent is often a thankless job but, believe me this is meaningful.
Give them space: When your child walks out of that audition room you want to ask….”How did it go?” “What did they say to you”….I beg of you, DON’T. Unifieds is crowded…and it’s challenging to have a private conversation. Next, give your child time to process and decompress after each audition. They will tell you when they are ready. Don’t be a STAGE MOM!
Be the voice of reason: This is the time to tap into your inner therapist. If your son or daughter had a bad audition….let them vent. All auditions won’t go well, but many of them will. Set up the 15 minute rule before you go. If things go poorly…its ok to let it out. Feel bad, be angry, and cry if you need to. You can do it all for 15 minutes, then you move on…. Sadly, Unifieds is a numbers game. You don’t have time to be paralyzed.
Enjoy it: Be in the moment…and enjoy the ride. This process allows parents to spend time with their child. Be aware that soon this craziness will end and in a flash you are packing them up and driving them to their future. Love every moment, the good, the bad and the ugly. Unifieds is fun too! You will go to dinner with groups of fellow students and parents. You will be inspired by programs and professors. You will leave feeling that your child is going to be OK. More than anything….just sit back and feel the wind in your face as you go up and down because like every ride, it will come to an end.
To every parent and child heading towards a Unified audition soon, I wish you all the best of luck! Keep your head up, be yourself, love yourself and show them all who you are.