Before the audition

 

1.1 Preparation

  • Don’t be afraid for an audition! Some television shows give the impression that an audition is insulting and an ego-trampling experience. This is not the usual case and is only good for the ratings. If such occurs, take the honourable way out and just leave: insulting is not as a professional audition commission should work. Giving advice is more part of their job, so take that part seriously.
  • For what kind of show/play are you going to do an audition? Read it, hear it, and visualize it.
  • Know the title, show and writer/composer of your song/aria or monologue. Know the location in the whole play and who is performing it. Get acquainted with the whole history of your character. Directors may ask for it.
  • Is the show/play interesting for you to perform in? Or interesting for your career? Otherwise don’t waste your (and the jury’s) time.
  • Are you available when the show or its rehearsals starts? Very frustrating if you get that part and you have to tell them you can’t take it. They were happy with you, so they will obviously be disappointed…
  • If you’re simply auditioning to get experience (because you haven’t yet finished your education or another show), tell them right away or later on when you are asked to return. No disappointments and a chance on good feedback.
  • Audition only because YOU want it, not your parents or friends. Such people will fall short easily.
  • You should know (chosen or required) lyrics and melody by heart, no mistakes can be made. You have to know it inside out.
  • Choose songs which are in the style of the show.
  • Most of the time there’s a piano (with matching piano player). Karaoke-cd’s are uncommon. If in doubt: ask about it.
  • If you prefer singing with a microphone you may always bring your own.
  • If you bring along your own band (rock-auditions) make sure it doesn’t take too much time for the set-up. Check for the presence of electricity/connections/amplifiers.
  • Thoroughly study what is required: how many songs? Up-tempo, ballad? Which language(s)? What style?
  • If you don’t know the style of a new show, just call for information. Or take different songs with you in different styles; "better sure than sorry".
  • What are the travel directions to the audition location and how long does it take you? Better 1 hour early, then 2 minutes too late.
  • Just doin’ an audition without education or preparation and then getting the leading role is a fairy-tale…. Sometimes, tales come through, but mostly they end up in a nightmare. There’s nothing wrong with following a professional education to get the basic knowledge of a real profession. Singing lessons, drama, dance workshops, you name it. Of course it’s possible to enter a production at your first audition, but after that, you want to keep your job. You have to have expertise and be educated! That “Supertalent” who got the part, must be smashing every night, 8 times a week, even if it’s the 250th show. This means you have to have skill and have to look after yourself. Remember all the time you will be occupied with touring and PR-work. Not all productions provide education and supervision. Meaning you may have to take care of yourself.

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1.2 Health

  • Mind your health in the week before the audition. You want to be in perfect shape. Audition days can be tiring and very long: sometimes they take the whole day.
  • You will spend a lot of time waiting for things to come. Save your energy. Don’t waste your time on chatting with everybody: your voice will get exhausted and you lose your energy. It’s not everyone’s desire to talk all the time with others. Respect that. Let them concentrate. Don’t be bossy or annoying to the other auditioners: they could be your next colleagues, and for a long time. And remember: everyone at an audition is insecure…
  • Nerves: There are several remedies. Breathing practices and concentration practices are the best. Yoga can help a lot to relax, too. You could take some “soothing tea”. Don’t take sleeping pills, pep pills, alcohol or other chemical junk, as it influences your performance (and mostly not for the best…). Some people do get more strength by swearing under one's breath. Please don’t influence the other auditioners and the commission…
  • Eat and drink enough during audition days. It takes a lot of energy to do an audition, especially when it is a long day.
  • Think about what you eat and drink on an audition day! Dairy products produce phlegm. Spicy food may give you stomach problems: not nice during your emotional ballad… Soda drinks: don’t do it when you’re going to sing.
  • Illness: What do you do when you’re ill ahead of and during an audition day? Resting, lots of sleep, tea with honey and steaming. No expectorant medicine or measure to dissolve the phlegm: your vocal folds have to be in a layer of mucus. Take a break on your voice: no speaking. Surely no whispering!! You use a lot of “wild air” that exhausts your vocal folds. Light voice exercises as: hum using “ng”, or perform a glissade (going from the low of your voice to the highest note and back) on “ng”.
  • Just before the audition: take your time to loosen-up your voice (and your body), for example do the exercises mentioned above. Especially the humming on "ng" if you do not have a quiet place on your own.

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1.3 Clothing

  • Dress according to the style of the show. You’ll make it easier for the commission to cast you in its show. Don’t come in a 3-piece suit to a rock audition. Don’t put on old clothing when you do an audition for a theatre school. The commission want to see you òn the stage, not next to it with a broom.
  • Don’t overdo it: don’t audition for Cats in your catsuit with whiskers…
  • Ladies: High heels are pretty, but sometimes unstable for singing and acting. Just take them off whenever you feel like it, even if you only wear them for a good entrance. That is accepted!
  • Clothing can help you often with your interpretation of a song or a monologue.
  • Don’t wear “psychedelic” clothing or too shiny colours: the commission won’t be able to concentrate properly.
  • Dance clothing: Wear clothing that fits well. Read in the invitation letter what they want you to wear: performance clothing, heels, etc. Don’t wear only black. Can be pretty and makes you look thinner, but you won’t stand out in the “crowd”. Sexy is pretty, but don’t overdo it…
  • You can be asked to take something of, to see if you have enough muscles for a role. Only do it when it suits you; don’t let them cross your borders.
  • Take a thick sweater or jacket with you for an audition: It’s nice if you have to wait hours in a chilly or air-conditioned room.

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1.4 Résumé & picture

  • Your résumé consists of the most relevant information about your education and experience. First your personal data like name, address, email, phone number. After that your voice type, followed by your experience in education and “in practice”. Often you have the categories: “singing, drama, dance and various”. The last category: instruments, relevant sports or a hobby.
  • Make sure your resume is correct and up to date.
  • Never lie! You’ll be haunted by that…
  • Don’t set aside your experience, but don’t exaggerate as well.
  • On your resume there’s only relevant information. High school musicals or Nativity plays are irrelevant for a professional show or production.
  • If you have a website, mention it on your résumé. But only if the website is of professional nature.
  • Voice type (bass, baritone, tenor, alto, mezzo, soprano) and range: Mention also (if needed) your range in belting voice and head voice. For example: g up to c’’’, with belting voice up to e”. If you don’t know your voice type or range, singing lessons won't hurt. Else notice your usual speaking voice. That indicates the type, although it is no guarantee.
  • Photograph: Use a clear, pretty picture. Not a holiday snapshot, but one with a personality and sufficient bits. No sunglasses or wigs.
  • Don’t change too often your hairstyle (considering your photo). Could be confusing.
  • Scan the picture on your resume, or attach it, so they won’t lose it.
  • Always take some extra résumés and pictures with you to an audition.

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1.5 Repertoire

  • Choose a song because you can sing it well, not because it’s unknown or so artistic. Most commissions (and piano players) won’t be grateful for it.
  • Your song has to evolve, not remain the same for 8 minutes… And don’t tell the best part will come in the sixth chorus, when the other five choruses are disastrous dull. The commission has stopped you probably after 5.
  • Own versions of a song: Stay “true” to the original, don’t trash it.
  • Songs you have written yourself are sometimes permitted with auditions. Ask the commission on forehand. Keep in mind that it has to be good of course…
  • Important: With some auditions you can only sing 16 bars. This happens often at the first rounds of a big show (the “cattle calls”). Choose the logic 16 bars that present your ability to the jury, even when it starts at the highest note. But keep it musical. However, rehearse the whole song, because the jury can ask for it.
  • Learn more than one number. A jury likes to choose. But always be prepared for the question: “What do you want to sing?” And also for “The songs you have chosen are effectively not that nice, don't you have anything else?”

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1.6 Sheet music

  • Keep in mind that your sheet music is neat and not folded or rolled. Have it stapled or in a folder map. It is part of your presentation and shall not be looking as just taken out of the cat bin.
  • No loose papers! They might fall from the stand of the piano. Several auditions have failed because the jury was distracted by the pianist's attempt to collect the paperwork during his playing and not noticing the excellent performance of the auditioner.
  • Beware of too new books; they might close all the time during the audition.
  • Make sure the sheet music is complete and in the right order.
  • Is it in the right key? Often the original key is changed (lowered) because of the voice. Do not just change the key of a song, because it can worsen a song. If you change it, make sure the song still sounds right.
  • Don’t sing female songs as a man and vice versa. It won’t work for your interpretation or the jury is puzzled.
  • If you don’t have the right key on your sheets. Be prepared that if you ask the pianist to play it higher or lower, especially with tony music, you’ll get a problem. Such can be done if you bring your own accompanist.
  • Tablature or only chords could be a problem when you’re doing an audition. Be prepared.
  • If you ask a pianist to play the song higher or lower, don’t ask for more than one whole note.
  • Bring along some extra sheets of your songs or monologue for the jury. They might ask for it.

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Chapter 2 - During the audition
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