5 Essential Steps to Ace an Audition

Do you think I’m going to tell you about a magic elixir? No, but I am going to give you a few valuable suggestions I know can make a huge difference in your audition experience.

Step 1: Your firm foundation

Make sure your foundation – your rhythm – is part of your body.  This rhythmic solidity calms you down and lets your auditioners know you’re not only a singer, but a musician. Be considerate and give the pianist legible music, not in shiny plastic sleeves. Remember to thank the pianist, they are your partner onstage. Companies want to work with nice people.

Step 2: Lyrics and Story Engraving

Lyrics, and the story they tell, must be engraved in your heart. If they are, even though you may forget words, you know exactly what comes next, and you can continue telling the story, even with creative new words you just made up!

Step 3: Dress rehearsal management

Take the time to have a dress rehearsal in the clothes and shoes, you are wearing for this audition. Don’t get a drastic haircut, or wear something you’ve never worn before on the day of an audition. Wear something that makes you feel great and fits well. No matter the latest fashion trends, wear something that flatters you — not a wild print. Your face, your expressivity, needs to be seen. Don’t upstage yourself by what you wear. And don’t wear a visible designer’s label; no one is paying you for advertising.

You may eventually have a simple audition look that works for you. Make sure it’s clean, pressed (or fabric that doesn’t retain wrinkles) and your shoes are shined and clean. Don’t totter in on sky high heels. Be balanced and comfortable.

Step 4: Crossovers take note

Don’t have anything in your audition book that you are not prepared, or that you do not want, to sing right now.  It lost me a role in the Broadway show Nine. They weren’t happy with my quiet musical selections, asked to see my book, and picked out an aria. The comment after was, “We thought so. You wouldn’t be a good balance for the cast. Too bad — loved yuh. Next.”

Step 5: Losing Desperation

Lose the desperation. Park it at the door. The most important thing you can do is take yourself off the auction block. Instead: share. This may be the most important recommendation I can give you. An audition is a mini performance.

This is not the time for you to practice your technique or listen to yourself like when you are in your studio. This is not a work session. It is a performance. This is a time to surrender to a moment of creation. You’ll have more fun, and I assure you, the people listening to you will enjoy it more.

You can diagnose the good and bad of the audition later. Many young singers are upstaged by a horrible little creature called Mr. NyetGoodEnuf who’s judging them while they’re singing. Don’t let anybody, or anything upstage you. Walk out of your studio and onto the magic of the stage when you perform.

Share what you love. A bird doesn’t sing for applause; it sings because it has a song. Sing for the joy of singing. Sing because you love the character you’re portraying. Sing, in your mind, to your favorite person.

Remember: this is not brain surgery. This is a passion and it’s all about your love for your craft. There will be people who like you, and people who don’t like you. You have no control over that, but you do have control over your mind and your thoughts. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 

In Conclusion: Finally

As an emerging singer, every time someone asks you to sing, say yes. Sing in nursing homes, sing in hospitals, sing for condo associations, sing everywhere.  A singer in performance, becomes a performer, not only a vehicle for beautiful sound. You will not become a performer in a classroom or in the studio.

You cannot become a performer, unless you perform.

Adria Firestone

Adria Firestone, on the faculty in the Music, Dance & Theatre Department at New Jersey City University since 2003, teaches voice, movement for actors, speech for performance, acting, career development, and how to control stage fright. As a clinician, Adria has designed and presented programs for NJMEA and NATS, adjudicates Teen Arts, and gives regular workshops and master classes at schools, including Arts High School in Newark and the Girls Career Institute at Rutgers with the GFWC. She is a National Certified Trainer for  K-12 Time to Teach, an author, an instructional designer and a business and career coach. Adria was an award-winning opera singer and actor for over 25 years. Her credits include her world-renownedCarmen in Bizet’s opera to Family Guy. Adria won a Carbonell Award for Best Actress in a Musical (Aldonza in Man of La Mancha) and was Woman of the Year at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. For our troops in Desert Storm, from Shanghai to the Pacific Rim, and from Cairo to Canada, Adria has performed throughout the world