Audition Tips from The Accompanist
Going for an audition can be a daunting experience, but there are some ways you can enhance your chances. These are a few ideas which we hope may help you.
- Choose something that is within your range. Do not just choose an impressive song if it will put your voice right on the edge of its comfortable range or even outside of it.
- Choose something appropriate to the musical/concert/situation you’re auditioning for. If you're auditioning for a rock show then don't select a Rodgers and Hammerstein song, and vice versa.
- Avoid enormously successful/popular songs. There are songs from the most famous shows that have been sung so many times that audition panels switch off i.e. I Dreamed a Dream, Memory etc. You don’t want to be the fourth person to sing that song that day to the audition panel.
- Also remember that when you choose an enormously successful song the panel will already be hearing the ‘famous’ version in their heads so you are already competing with the original artist.
- Prepare your sheet music for the pianist. Tape the music together so that the piano player is not concerned with page turning.
- Remember that the Accompanist is usually sight reading. Songs with lots of tempo changes can be particularly tricky if the pianist hasn't heard of the song.
- Singing is all about air. Having some! When an audition is upon us nerves can be more apparent, in that situation we tend to breathe more shallowly. Remember to breathe deeply not just to calm the nerves but also during the singing. The more air you breathe in during the song, the more texture & strength you have in the voice.
- The audition panel is your audience, do not sing over their heads but perform to them, do not be afraid of making eye contact. Make each one of the audition panel feel like you're singing to them.
- With Musical Theatre songs remember that the lyric is primary and the melody is secondary. Although the notes are important obviously, the words are more important. Each song is a conversation either to the audience or another cast member. Think about how you would stress each sentence in a conversation. Some of the best performances of material have been given by those who are not renowned ‘singers’, an example of this is Judy Dench’s performance of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” which is arguably one of the best performances of the song.
- Diction. It's important that the audition panel understands the words, especially with Musical Theatre songs. Again when we are nervous we may not use our mouths as crisply as we might when relaxed, don't be afraid to open your mouth and let the sound come out.
- Be confident. Any audition panel wish to feel that their cast can be trusted to perform the role. Singing is 50% about ability and 50% about confidence.
- Do not be fearful of the ‘top’ notes. When you reach the climax/top note of the song do not ‘chicken’ on it. If you go for it and miss it/slice it the audition panel will believe you were expecting to hit the note, if you ‘chicken’ and don’t go for it the audition panel will know you weren’t expecting to hit it.