Nail That Audition - School, Camp, and Community Theater Auditions
February 12, 2017
So your school announced the spring musical and you have two weeks to pick an audition song and prepare for the audition. Where do you begin? Well, you came to the right place. Follow this step by step guide and nail that audition!
1. Research the Show
The first step is to learn everything you can about the show; read a synopsis, listen to the cast album on Spotify, watch performances of the show on youtube. If the musical is based on a book or movie, consider reading the book or watching the movie. If there was a movie made based on the musical, watch that. Get your hands on all forms of media related to the show.
2. Choose a Role
You may not get the role you want, but choosing a role from the show that fits your body type and voice type will help you hone in on an audition song. By portraying the character you are interested in during your audition the director may rethink the role they were originally considering you for.
3. Choose an Audition Song
When choosing an audition song, consider your vocal range, your age, the style of the show, and the character your are aiming for. You do not want to sing something from School of Rock for a Guys and Dolls audition and vice versa. The rule in the theater world is to never sing from the show you are auditioning for, however, there are some schools, camps, and community theaters that encourage you to sing from the show. Consider speaking with the director prior to choosing an audition song to learn about their preference.
4. Look at the Audition Requirements
Are they asking for a 16 bar cut, 32 bar cut, short song, two contrasting pieces? When they ask for a 16 bar cut, they are looking for a section of the song that is approximately 16 measures long. You want your audition cut to feel complete, so consider doing the final chorus or one verse followed by one chorus. When you see "prepare a short song", they are typically looking for a 32 bar (measure) cut. If they ask for two contrasting pieces, pick one uptempo and one ballad, possibly in contrasting styles if the audition is for multiple productions.
5. Learn Your Song
Use whichever method works best for you to learn your audition song. You can play the melody on the piano, solfege, or listen to recordings. It is best to learn the whole song before focusing solely on your audition cut. You will have a better understanding of the song and character after doing this exercise and you will be prepared if the director asks you to sing another section of the song in the audition.
6. Explore the Character
Being a performer means that you are an actor as well as a singer. In the audition, the director is looking for both. Ask yourself these questions when exploring the character:
Who are you speaking to?
What is your objective?
What are your obstacles?
Then come up with several action verbs to achieve your objective (examples: to amuse, to attack, to beg, to demand, to manipulate, to coax, etc). Consider purchasing Actions: The Actors Thesaurus.
Do not use your music in the audition. You cannot fully get into the character if you are buried in sheet music.
8. Choose Your Audition Outfit
Tastefully nod to the style of the show. You don't want to wear a suit to an audition for Rent nor do you want to wear jeans to an audition for Thoroughly Modern Millie. Ladies, make sure your hair is pulled back. You don't want to be fussing with your hair during your audition.
9. Mark Your Music
Place your audition song(s) in a binder, double sided and clearly mark where the accompanist should begin and end. Be sure to mark any places where you slow down or speed up, and in places where you may need extra time for a breath. All of this should be clearly marked for a successful audition.
For more guidance, meet with a voice teacher or coach. They will suggest the best audition song and cut for you and will give you specific feedback about your sound and presentation. Break a leg!