The motivations for practicing vary. Obviously the main one is the desire to "get better," but narrowing down and defining what that "better" means is what determines our process towards that goal. For me, this is how I determine my daily practice for anything including auditions, performances and personal goals. I was thinking about this, and how we make special plans for special events like concerts and auditions, and wondered how that effects and informs our daily practice. There is definitely an increase of work and motivation when presented with an opportunity to perform in concerts, auditions and competitions, but the key to that is that there has to be something to increase from.
I think the mistake we make is that we, me included (and especially Americans in the current education system), are nurtured to only study for the test at the end, not for the process leading to the test. This becomes habitual and begins to infect other things we do in life. Saving only for specific items, seeking only one type of job to meet all needs, practicing more only for auditions or concerts, at least it effected me in this way. So, I had already been practicing for hours a day, working on technique and developing my musicality, but the motivations were simply to get better, get faster, get louder or softer, more reactive and more responsive. But, once I would get a notification of an audition, the motivation moved away from those things to playing the specific excerpts for the specific audition. This of course was necessary, you can't just practice soft doubles and ignore the music of Scheherazade, but you also can't play the music of Scheherazade and soft doubles at the same time, hoping those specific Scheherazade doubles are perfect enough to get through the first round.
My thought process is, if you have the technique down, the music is easy. Can't say what you want without the words. My hope, when preparing for auditions, is not to have to think about technique, which means the technique should already be there. I'm not working on doubles when I'm working on Scheherazade, or rolls when I'm working on Capriccio Espagnol, I'm just thinking about the music. So my daily practice is geared, as all of ours should be, to making our technique as automatic as possible so that the music can easily come out. So, when you have a cymbal part in a concert, you don't have to think about how loud you can or can't play, you already know from your daily practice. In a way, you're always preparing for the concert or audition because the technique is what will make it that much easier to execute anything you need or want to do. Then the special event isn't so "special" and you can approach it calmly and confidently. When I started exploiting my practice habits, because they were already nurtured in this way, and put this way of thinking with those habits, my practicing became more efficient and more intensive, and then my prep for events increased and streamlined even more. So, let's make sure we have something to build on, something that will make it easier for us in the long run, and not just put on the nice clothes for the interview. Let's get comfortable getting dressed up and better clothes might come our way.