I have a lot of clients ask me if they're singing the right songs for their auditions. After they offer up a list of their greatest 16 Bar hits, the next comment is always the same: “I don't know if this is working for me.” It can feel like a daunting task to pick the "perfect" song for your audition, but the process is easier than you think, if you trust yourself.
So here are five simple tips to help you clear out the confusion and nail your next singer call.
1. Stop trying to read everyone's mind.
I always say: it's none of your business what other people think. And this rule applies to an audition as well. Trust your own gut, period. How do you know the song is right for you? When you sing it, you feel connected to it. When you perform and find yourself getting wrapped up in the song, that’s a good sign. You know that your notes and your voice is soaring with the melody the way that it should.
2. The song should feel effortless.
Sometimes that means that you need to practice more if the song feels difficult for you, but also don't be afraid to change the key. A past client came to me struggling with her songs because she really wanted to belt like Elphaba, but if that's not your natural voice style, you have to be realistic and make adjustments. It's your audition, so you have to make sure you sound great.
3. Find a song that brings your true self into the room.
A lot of singers get hung up on this idea that you need to have the appropriate song for the show. In my opinion, if you are not responding to the song on a deeper, connected level, then it's not the right song for you. Sometimes, it is better to use a song that showcases who you are, 360 degrees, regardless of whether it's completely right for the show.
Remember: booking the job is never a goal, and an audition is about beginning to build relationships. Also, if you sing a song that doesn't fit the style of your voice just because you think it’s a star-ledger song, if you're not showing the true you as a performer, then you’ll never know exactly which show you are right for. So make the song count for you, not for the project.
4. Properly mark your music.
Get plastic slipcovers for your music if you don't already have them. Make sure your music is in the right key. Work with a Music Director or someone who's an accompanist and have them write out the right chart, so that it's easy enough to play at first glance. You'll not only be doing the pianist at the audition a favor, you'll be doing yourself a favor. A little preparation takes one less thing off the table for you to worry about.
5. Remember names.
If you’re not keeping track of who you're meeting in the room, you're wasting your time. Who's the Music Director? Who's the pianist? Who's the Director? You’re in a room with the people who matter, so let them see 100 percent of who you are as a friendly person too. And don’t forget to follow up and stay in touch with them.
If they're at the piano, they probably do vocal coaching which, God knows, you're always going to need somebody to run auditions with you. If they're behind the table, they’re probably the Music Director, and you’re going to meet them again and again. Start keeping track of these relationships, otherwise every audition you go on, you’ll start again at square one.
Looking for more advice on how to follow up with industry contacts after an audition? Let’s schedule a 20-minute consultation to see if coaching together might be a fit. It’s free, and you’ll leave the call with some tips you can apply right away to your career. Click here to schedule now.
This is part two of a three-part series all about nailing your next theatre audition. You can check out part one here.