Gaining control of your singing audition, Part 2 - By Jeannie Deva
In every city and state, there are local magazines and newspapers that are used by musicians for gig listings and musician advertising. If not, determine the nearest town that does have this kind of networking and subscribe. For Actors and Musical Theatre auditions there is also Actors Equity Association (AEA) Hotline (which occasionally has openings for non-equity actors as well) and the SAG (Stage Actors Guild) Hotline.
For a singer looking for a band or combo, depending on how resourceful you are willing to be, there are a number of ways to find opportunities. Investigate all options, leave no stone unturned! Here are some of the possibili-ties:1) Local newspapers and musician magazines classified sections
2) Music schools and music store bulletin boards
3) Enter your own classified ads and post your own posters
4) Musician referral organizations listed in music mags, telephone directory assistance and on the Internet
5) Recording studios - musicians occasionally contact studios looking for a singer
6) Open mike nights and talent shows (sometimes clubs have Karaoke contests with many surprisingly good singers performing and industry people in the audience.)
7) Call entertainment agencies (listed in the Yellow Pages and Internet Search). Ask if any of the groups they book need a substitute or permanent lead singer. Leave your name and number with them for future reference.
SOUNDING YOUR BEST
What I’m about to say may seem incredibly obvious, but I have seen countless auditionees (those being auditioned) violate the following “golden rules.”
1) Prepare your audition pieces in the correct keys for your voice and range, and know what the key names are, in case you are asked. If necessary, it’s worth hiring someone to assist you in this determination.
2) If a musical theatre audition: have your music written in the key you want to sing in. Don’t count on the accompanist transposing the music to your key. Also, make any special markings for tempo, cuts, or changes clearly in red. Keep the directions simple.
3) Know the limits of your range. It is common to be asked what the top and bottom notes of your range are. If you don’t know, consult a vocal coach for assistance. Be certain and be honest.
4) Audition with songs that are well rehearsed and memorized.
5) Prior to the audition, schedule enough time to do at least 20 minutes of vocal warm-up or the amount YOU need to know you will start off sounding your best! (For an excellent guided warm-up routine on CD: www.JeannieDeva.com/products
PUTTING YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
Auditioners are looking for certain qualities. When calling for info, find out specifically what is being looked for. If you are going to an “open audition” (commonly referred to as a “cattle call”), try to find out beforehand about the theatre, the style of the director, and type of show being auditioned.
If you know the musical style of the show or band and choose your audition pieces accordingly, you will increase your chances of being hired. Your voice and presentation can change depending on the style of music you select. Pick quality music, something that is theatrical, so you can show your acting/performing ability.
For band auditions, decide with the person you contact, what songs you’ll be singing. Take the lyrics with you in case you have a temporary memory block at the audition. Bring a few extra songs just in case you have the opportunity to do more.
For a musical theatre audition, the more unusual the piece of music, the better. Don’t ever give a cliché audition. Steer clear of “trendy” pieces or ones made famous by another within the last year, to avoid comparison. Show up with at least 2 up-tempo songs and at least 2 ballads. In this way, you can be prepared to change selections if anyone ahead of you sings your first choice. You want the auditioners to sit up and take notice!
If you’ll be using an accompa-nist, have your music in a 3-ring binder. This will keep it tidy, prevent you from having to dig around looking unorganized, and will make it easy for the accompanist to turn pages. Or, if a song is only 2 - 3 pages long, tape them together and keep them folded accordion-like in a folder. Count off the tempo for the band or accompanist. You know the pace at which you like to sing the song. Put yourself in control.
Don’t use waiting time at an audition for socializing with others there for the same audition. Stay alert and attentive. Listen to what’s happening with those called before you. Use any information you can get to help enhance your audition. Take time to breath deeply, calming yourself if you’re nervous. Look around and orient yourself to your surroundings. Stay focused.
Your efforts will pay off, even if your progress may seem modest in the beginning.
Remember: Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve! You can take control through gaining knowledge and with correct preparation. If you approach auditions as a learning experience instead of a pass/fail test, you will emerge from each one as a more competent performer rather than a defeated student. Good luck!