I will let you in on a little secret. Auditions will always give you a rush of adrenaline, even as you become a professional. You are completely exposing yourself and being openly judged during the process — this is no easy task, every professional I’ve met agrees. Over the years, these are the most essential things I have learned to master an audition and get the gigs I want.
1. Know what you are auditioning for.
I know this sounds like a “duh” sort of tip, but you would be surprised at how many people show up for an audition and have no idea what they are auditioning for. When I decide to audition for something, I make it my business to know everything about what it is I’m auditioning for.
Know what you need to have prepared for the audition, the time, the location, and any other small details that will make your life easier when the big day comes. It’s always better to be over prepared.
If auditioning for a musical:
Be familiar with the show. Know the characters, which character you plan on auditioning for, and be familiar with the music before you go into the audition. You never know if you’ll be asked to sing something from the show on the spot.
2. Can you commit to the gig if you get it?
The worst thing you can do for your image is to try out for something, land the gig, and then find out you’ve double booked yourself or you can’t commit to the rehearsal schedule. It makes you look unprofessional and puts a strain on production staff, and that does not help your cause down the line.
Save everyone’s time as well as your own if you are not prepared to be committed 100 percent.
3. Choose the right thing to sing.
Know your voice, what it is you want to accomplish with the audition, and make sure it is something you will be comfortable performing under pressure. This is your chance to show off what you are capable of, and song choice can be the ticket.
If auditioning for a musical, there are quite a few things you can accomplish with song choice alone. If you know a part you are interested in, choose a song that is going to be a similar style to that character. If you are looking to be a strong singing role, choose a song that shows how awesome a singer you are.
4. Make sure your audition is prepared
Now that you’ve chosen the perfect audition song(s), it’s time to get them performance ready. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be prepared. First off, we all know that “deer in the headlights” moment when you forget the next line to come in your song. It is a terrible feeling, and can be so easily avoided if you just prepare yourself.
Make sure you know your song inside and out, have any movement ready, and know what it is you are hoping to accomplish with your performance. Work with your voice teacher ahead of time, schedule voice coaching sessions for the day of the audition to prepare your voice. Have your audition notebook all put together with copies of music for the accompanist, and you are ready to shine.
5. Dress with confidence.
If you look good, you’ll feel good. When you go into an audition, choose attire that will make you feel confident. Ladies, you don’t have to sell sex. Worrying about your skirt being too short, tripping in high heels, or too much cleavage is not what your focus should be on. If you are worried about any of those things, then they probably aren’t appropriate choices for attire. Be confident in what you are wearing and sell your voice.
6. Act professional.
By acting professionally, you leave the right impression on the people you are auditioning for. You are selling yourself the moment you walk into an audition, and you want to make the best impression in the short time you have to do it.
If you are not prepared, or you are dressed inappropriately, or you forget your headshot, it looks as though you don’t care. Don’t even make this a question for anyone, show respect and you will earn it.
7. Show them what you’ve got!
It all comes down to this moment. You have done the preparation, you are dressed the part, and you deserve to be in there. Here’s your chance to shine.
Any inhibitions you have the moment you step into the audition need to go out the window. Let the music, the character, or the story take you to the place you want to be, and get lost in the moment. Sing from the heart and let your audience in — it’s what they want. When you give it to them, you give them the most beautiful gift they could ever receive.