Auditioning for a performance, choir, or college can be a scary thing. One thing that can make it even more terrifying is finding yourself unprepared. Knowing the answers to the following (sometimes unanticipated) questions before you audition can alleviate stress. Don’t be afraid to take initiative and ask the audition board these questions upon receiving your invitation to audition.
1. Will I be able to sing to music? Sometimes auditions are “a Cappello” (meaning the singer must perform without the pitch stabilizing benefit of accompaniment music). SOMETIMES the auditioning board doesn’t communicate this minor but important detail. If you have been practicing with a backing track or accompanist prior to your audition, this can be an unnerving shock. Make sure you know whether or not you will be permitted to perform with music weeks before your audition, if possible. It will DEFINITELY affect how you prepare for your audition, and knowing this will help you avoid a nasty surprise.
2. If it’s NOT a Capello, should I bring a backing track or sheet music? You will want to make sure whatever you are singing matches what you are practicing with currently. The same song comes in many different arrangements. Make sure you get your teacher’s advice about the appropriate key (the range of the song) and stick with that arrangement. If the auditioning board has sheet music or a backing track on hand, be certain you have access to THEIR copy to verify your matches.
3. If you are providing an accompanist, will I get a chance to rehearse briefly with the accompanist, or can I bring my own? Sometimes piano players aren’t as savvy as they think. Don’t let the wrong tempo or a distracted pianist mess with your audition.
Other considerations you will need to make include: making sure you are dressed comfortably and professionally, knowing the directions to the space prior to arriving so you aren’t late, being willing to “go with the flow” if an auditioner asks you to try something you didn’t expect (this shows you are a team player) and having your music appropriately organized in a way that limits the chances that your accompanist will make mistakes.
If you need help organizing your music into your binder so that it limits page turns (which is preferable to the accompanist) ask your teacher-DON’T guess (there is a method to doing it properly which all trained musicians use). Always warm up and wake up at least three hours prior to your audition so that your voice is awake. Finally make sure you have followed directions when selecting music, including the time limits/bar limits set out by the auditioning board, the genre and tempo of the music. Good luck!