When you attend auditions you are essentially attending an interview for a job, plain and simple. If a club or theater is holding auditions, they are looking for the right fit for a specific engagement or for a permanent schedule. Musicians are invited to demonstrate their style, their quality, and their range of talent. Typical music auditions require knowing your material well, and an ability to perform the material flawlessly with ease and conviction.
Singers auditioning for roles in musical productions may be required to come prepared to sing slated songs or their own materials, depending on the purpose of the audition. Some venues require “cold readings,” or performing music for which the singer has had no opportunity to prepare. At times, musicians are asked to sight read music at various levels of difficulty, which demonstrates knowledge and adaptability on the part of the performer.
There are open call auditions and auditions by invitation. Open call auditions are required by unions to be open to everyone; audition invitations mean that a production director, an agent, or someone else connected with a show has some familiarity with the musician – a photo, recording or tape, or has seen an actual performance. Open auditions may be overwhelming to musicians, but they can be productive. At any rate, getting together with other musicians means connecting. Open auditions offer opportunities to network.
One of the most important factors for successful auditioning is preparation. Second is being on time. Third is professionalism. Auditioning requires respect for others involved in the audition process, no chit-chat or talking out of turn, and no inappropriate lingering around afterwards – unless specifically invited to do so by production staff.
Successful auditions come only with of lots of preparation and practice. The best performers are able to make it look easy, and that comes with extensive preparation and experience. The first time auditioning can be difficult; but with each subsequent audition the musician will gain confidence. Like almost anything, the more often you do it, the easier it gets. However, don’t over prepare and don’t practice pieces strictly to a single format. Leave room for flexibility and alteration to suit various situations and settings and requests.
To avoid the jitters while auditioning, consider each audition as an opportunity to perform for an audience, however small. Even if you are not selected, remember that auditions are meant to find the right musician or band for the job. You may be remembered and selected for another performance where your talents, music, and personality are perfect for the job.
The songs you choose to present for music auditions will be a very important factor, as they can impact how you and your talents are perceived by the judges. Research the show to find out where your talents can match what the judges are looking for. You will want to show quality of voice or mastery of instruments, techniques, and range talents as well as to convey character.
Do some careful research to determine the style and character of the show, club, or venue. If your music doesn’t fit the venue, look for some that do. When you find the venue that suits your music, make sure that the songs or music you choose reflect the situation or theme for which you are auditioning. Prepare audition materials that show a range of skills and emotions and perform the song you are most comfortable with first. Note that up-tempo performances relieve stress and can help avert nervousness. Ballads are best reserved for when you have entered a comfort zone.
Don’t over stage your audition. The audition panel is looking for competent musical talent and execution rather than flash or a flourishes of action. Keep any sheet music clean, easy to read, and bound, especially if it will be used by a musical accompanist. Know your musical works intimately, and not just a piece of it to “showcase.” Be flexible enough to work with the audition panel and accompanist.
If you are called back for a second audition, perform similar music and dress the same; that is, wear the same clothes to spark their pleasant memories of your previous performance. No surprises! You’ve been called back for a second look at what they liked in the first place.
When you are looking for work, let everyone know that you are looking. Music gigs are found through contacts, networks, and connections. Call local schools, theaters, and clubs for information and notices of auditions. Also check the Internet, magazines, newspapers, periodicals, and college bulletin boards.
Good luck out there!
This article provides an overview of music auditions. If you would like to submit an article about auditions, please feel free to do so here at Media Positive Radio.
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