Ready for your next audition? Going on your first audition? Losing sleep over said audition? Here’s some tips from Alexia, one of NYC’s top voice teachers to help you out!
1.Pick The Right Repertoire
Picking the right repertoire is my number one must for going into an audition. Of course, there are exceptions when we are asked to learn something new for an audition, but as much as possible, it is important to audition with something that you love to sing and know very well. If you walk in with a song or aria that you just started memorizing a few days before, it will show. Set yourself up for success! Sing repertoire that shows off your best qualities, and that you can still sing well even when you are not feeling your best. Being able to focus on the feeling and meaning of the music in an audition, rather than on hitting all the right notes, will set you apart. Also, try to sing something that you have performed before. Singing something only with your teacher or by yourself is very different than performing in front of others. If you have not had an opportunity to perform something before an audition, try to get a group of friends or family together to try out some of your repertoire. That way you can feel more prepared and confident to do your best.
- Dress Your Best
Being confident is a key factor in having a good audition, so wear a dress or suit that you feel great in. Wear a color that looks good on you and makes you shine. Don’t be afraid to let your audition outfit show your personality, it will help the panel get to know you better. For ladies, make sure to avoid a neckline that is too low or a dress that is too short. Stick to a hem that is right at or below the knee. A tasteful piece of jewelry is always a great option, but avoid jewelry that is too flashy or moves around a lot when you sing. Anything you wear should enhance your performance, and not distract or take away from your singing.
- Fuel Your Body
Singing is a sport. It requires your whole body to be able to perform well, so you need to fuel your body in order to have the proper energy to perform. It is important to have a protein packed meal before an audition or performance. Carbohydrate heavy foods like pasta or bread will not give you the proper energy to get through a performance. My go to pre-audition meal is a grilled piece of meat with steamed vegetables and a small potato. This leaves me feeling satisfied and energized to take on an audition, without feeling overly full. One food I always avoid the day before an audition is garlic as it tends to dry out the vocal cords.
- Stay Hydrated
Making sure your vocal cords are properly hydrated is very important. On the day of an audition make sure to drink lots of water. Two things I always have before an audition are pineapple juice and coconut water. Pineapple juice contains an enzyme called bromelain which reduces inflammation in the nose and sinuses. It helps my voice to feel strong and healthy. I also never go to an audition without coconut water in hand. I find that it gives my throat an extra boost of hydration and keeps me hydrated for longer periods of time. ( A trick I use for combating dry mouth is to have some sour gummy candy before I need to sing. )
- Don’t Fight With Your Nerves
The largest problem most singers face when auditioning is nerves. My advice for dealing with this is don’t fight it! Being nervous is a natural response and is OK. Nerves are something that everyone deals with. My suggestion is rather than spending your energy trying to make yourself stop being nervous, allow yourself to feel what you are feeling and know that you can still perform through it. Nerves and adrenaline can actually add an extra boost of energy to your performance or help you hit that high note. Don’t put too much pressure on one audition. There will always be another opportunity. Take each audition as a learning experience because no matter the outcome, no one audition can define you as an artist.
I can’t count the number of times a student has told me, “I can’t sing with vibrato, I’m a pop singer;” or “I can’t sing an aria, I’m a musical theatre singer.” Admittedly, I was once a victim of this kind of thinking. I would say, “I can’t belt, I’m a legit singer.” Lies! I’m here to tell you that this kind of thinking is wrong. A singer with the right training can safely sing whatever style he/she wants to sing. How? Easy, technique.
Technique is technique, regardless of style. Once a singer has learned the technique they can branch into any genre. When I say technique, I do mean the meaty, gritty boring stuff that makes a good singer an exceptional singer. Soft palate, tongue placement, diaphragm, support, placement of the sound, vibrato, ironing out the different registers, vowel sounds, consonants, etc. This is tough, and sometimes boring work. But it yields the results, because every single style of music uses this same technique. There are only minor differences.
Jazz singing has a brighter sound, with minimal vibrato. Pop has a shallower sound, again with minimal vibrato. Musical theatre (depending on the song, but generally) has more vibrato and a taller sound, plus you have to act. Classical singing has lots of vibrato and a much taller sound. But if you don’t know how to engage your soft palate, place your sound, or control your vibrato, you limit yourself. And why be stuck doing only one thing when you have the potential and ability to do anything?
So now the question remains, can you learn how to do this? Yes, just find a good vocal coach. Someone who will work on building your voice with you. Again, it’s tough work, so you need to find someone who you trust and can work with for a long period of time. The work never stops, but if you’re passionate about being a versatile vocalist you will grow.
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