Demystifying Audition Season

Welcome to 2024, it’s a new year and auditions are still here! While most YAP auditions happen in the Fall and school auditions happen in the Winter, I would like to challenge the concept of “Audition Season.” I believe that thinking in these terms prevents an artist from developing the big picture mindset that is so crucial to achieving longevity as a performer. The truth is you always have to be ready to jump at an opportunity to be heard. Auditions happen year-round if you are willing to think and look outside of the “season” box. A high stakes tunnel vision can blind you from seeing alternative roads and dare I say… possible shortcuts! Learning skills that will prevent you from burning out and help you enjoy the process before it’s too late, is a much more productive way to live your life as an artist than obsessing over audition stats.

This doesn’t mean you should “wing it.” It means you should always be as prepared as you can be, while getting to know yourself and identifying what things are going to keep you motivated and inspired when things get tough. The answer to this is inside of you, not on your colleague’s season announcement on Instagram. Every day is a new day to practice focusing on what you can control and developing the ability to let go and bounce back quickly. Practice is the key word here. A mindset needs to be programmed with repetition like any other habit.

In your life as an artist, you will hopefully encounter many different types of auditions, that will require different skills, materials, and preparation. Auditions, in different forms, will be around most of your career, so I suggest avoiding drowning in pity parties and start finding ways to play the game by your own rules.

Here is a checklist in the form of questions that I hope will help you feel prepared, confident, and not overly precious of the next time you are given the opportunity to perform in front of a panel.

  1. Why am I auditioning for this opportunity?
  2. Who am I performing for today? Do I know someone in the panel? If not, what can I learn about them by doing a bit of research?
  3. Where am I auditioning? Do I know this place well? If not, what can I find out about it to get a sense of the space I will be working with?
  4. Is there a warmup room? Can I rent a warmup room?
  5. What repertoire am I offering today? Does it make sense with the opportunity I am auditioning for? Am I ready to sing my entire program as if it was a concert performance? 
  6. Am I choosing my first piece? If so, which one am I starting with and why?
  7. What is one thing I love about each piece that I am presenting?
  8. Do I need to bring any printed materials, ID’s, forms?
  9. Have I double checked the address and time of my appointment? How am I getting there? Am I leaving early enough to avoid being late?
  10. Who is playing for me today? Do I know them? How can I make sure my communication with them is clear before we make music together?
  11. Is my binder well-organized? Or can I share pdfs with the pianist? Do I have the correct files? Are all pages in order?
  12. Am I bringing a change of clothes? Shoes? Makeup?
  13. Did I schedule time to unwind after the audition and take some quick notes on how the audition went?
  14. What am I doing after the audition? Did I schedule some enjoyable plans after the audition to allow myself to have a good day regardless of how the audition goes?

While auditions are one of the ways to be heard and be considered for opportunities, they are not the only way towards you being “allowed” to perform and have a career. Don’t forget that a successful audition is one where you are able to present your best at that specific point in time, not only one that wins you the immediate job or prize. Many positive things can come from good auditions down the line. Even when you don’t get the job or spot in a program, members of a panel can remember you and think of you for other opportunities. 

A good side strategy is to find ways to present your own projects, sing in as many group concerts as possible, and perhaps “audition” indirectly by inviting people to your performances and getting your work out via your media presence. Remember that while finding a way to make friends with auditioning is in your best interest, auditions are only one part of the equation. Breathe. Opportunities will come your way the more people you meet and collaborate with. The truth is that most opportunities will arise as colleagues are able to recommend you when auditions are not an option or even needed. Be kind, be prepared, bring good energy to every room you are in. Stay brave and bold, you got this!

Eugenia Forteza

Eugenia Forteza is a French-Argentinean Mezzo-Soprano, Actor, Influencer, Writer and Producer based in NYC. In 2016, Eugenia founded the popular social media platform dedicated to the behind the scenes of the opera world, @360ofOpera. Eugenia enjoys a versatile international career in opera, concert, theatre and film, which has taken her worldwide from NYC’s Carnegie Hall to Singapore’s Wild Rice Theatre and beyond. Follow Eugenia on Social Media at @fortezaeugenia & @360ofOpera. For more information, please visit www.eugeniaforteza.com.