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A SINGER’S MOST IMPORTANT AUDITION TOOL

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And now, the good stuff –

A SINGER'S MOST IMPORTANT AUDITION TOOL…Millie singing with book

If you check out our AUDITION BASICS page you'll see all the tools that a Prepared Performer needs to go to an audition. Here's a quick run down:

  • AUDITION DETAILS
    1. Location
    2. Time
    3. What type of material is required?
    4. Is there a time limit?
    5. What show are you auditioning for?
    6. Who is involved with the project and do you or any of your friends know them?
  • HEADSHOT AND RESUME
  • PROPER ATTIRE
  • AN AUDITION NOTEBOOK (to record info from your audition)
  • PROPER SHOES (especially if you are also dancing)

The last thing you'll find on our list is the one thing that is a singer's most important audition tool. It is… YOUR AUDITION BOOK!

What is an AUDITION BOOK?

Audition BookAn audition book is a 3 ring binder, like the one seen in this photo, that holds the 10-15 songs you have prepared for your auditions. Click the following link to order one on Amazon. Avery Nonstick Heavy-Duty EZD Reference View 3 Inch Black Binder (79693) That's right you don't just prepare a new song for each audition. You work hard before hand so that you are ready when an audition comes up at the last min.

***INSIDER TIP  In the industry an audition book is often simply called… a “book.” I know, weird, right? But, people will say things like, “What do you have in your book?” and they'll mean “What songs do you have prepared.” 

Why should I have several songs prepared?

Just think – you find out that the current Broadway production of Annie is going on tour, and you have an audition! But, the only song you know is  “I Will Survive!”  It's not exactly appropriate. It's not in the same genre or musical style. You might be able to make it work if you are really creative and auditioning for Miss Hannigan – but it's a real stretch. Soooo, if you have a collection of several songs spanning several genres/styles/ranges – you'll be likely to come up with something that you can make work.

OK, that's A LOT of songs! Where the heck do I start?

I recommend that all of my students aim to find six songs for their book. You don't need to know the whole entire song, because it's unlikely that you'll be able to sing the whole song at an audition. So, we usually start with a 32 bar cut. (If you don't know what that means, don't worry! Just shoot for a one minute cut. We'll help you figure out how to make a great cut in a later post.)  The six songs should fill specific requirements that I'll list now…

  • CLASSICAL BALLAD (This means a slow song from an old school musical. ie: Oklahoma, Show Boat, Guys and Dolls)
  • CLASSICAL UPTEMPO (This means a fast song from an old school musical.)
  • CONTEMPORARY BALLAD (This means a slow song from a modern musical. ie: Next to Normal, Pippin, The Last Five Years)
  • CONTEMPORARY UPTEMPO (This means a fast song from a modern musical.)
  • NOVELTY SONG (This is a song that stands out because it is funny, very fast, quirky, super high or super low etc. Only do songs that are extreme if you can really sing/act them well)
  • POP SONG (This can mean country, pop or rock. Something that suites your voice/personality.)

I realize that that seems like a lot to bite off… and that's just the bare minimum! (Eventually you want to have songs that fit into these categories and also show off different parts of your range/vocal quality. ie: a classical soprano uptempo and a classical belt uptempo) So, there's no time like the present!! Get going! If you have a private voice teacher, AMAZING! Let him/her know you'd like to start putting a book together. Listen to Broadway soundtracks and find songs you love. He/She can also help you find songs that are right for you. If you have any questions or are in need of a song. Email us at thepreparedperformer@gmail.com and we'd love to help point you in the right direction.

*** Don't forget to take into consideration your type when picking songs. So if you are a kid auditioning, you probably shouldn't be singing something that an elderly actor would sing. Unless it's something like Broadway Baby, which works for both. : )

I know my songs. How do I put them in this notebook?

Music Sheet ProtectorsThe easiest way to assemble your music is to use MATTE sheet protectors.
Some people will tell you not to use sheet protectors because they are too shiny and your accompanist will not be able to see you music. However if you use these MATTE sheet protectors that won't happen. Sheet protectors are the best way to ensure that your music won't get mangled. You can purchase the sheet protectors I recommend through this Amazon Affiliate link. Avery Top Loading Non-Glare Poly Sheet Protectors 100 Count (74102) Once you have your cleanly copied music in sheet protectors, you should put them in alphabetical order. Some people like to organize their notebooks by genre. But, alpha order is the best way to ensure you will be able to find exactly what you need as quickly as possible.

Should I keep anything in the front pocket of my notebook.

Yes!!! But, NOT music. Many of my students are working on building their books at the moment, and get into the habit of keeping sheet music tucked into the front pockets of their books. (CONFESSION!!!! SO DO I!!) However, it just looks plain junky when you go to an audition with loads of music in those front pockets! Put the music in sheet protectors, or keep it at home. The front pockets should be kept for extra headshots and resumes! You might think you only need one for a specific audition and then find out that there are three people sitting behind the famous audition table and they would all like your headshot and resume! Boooyah! You are PREPARED!

Ok, I get it… but aren't there other tools that are more important in a singing audition?

 

NO!

You might say, your voice, diaphragm, teeth… but if you don't have any MUSIC to sing, what good will they do you!?

You might say your headshot and resume… but if you hand someone a headshot and resume, and then you have nothing to sing. What is to keep them from thinking you made the whole thing up!?  AND let's say you do forget your headshot and resume? It's super CHEESE BALL, but you could very easily write you recent credits on a piece of paper and draw a pic of yourself. Hey! That would be a story for them to remember! : )

Cary Von Murray Photo Credit www.BroadwayWorld.com

Cary Von Murray Photo Credit www.BroadwayWorld.com

Maybe what you think what  you are wearing is more important at an audition? NO WAY! My good friend Cary Von Murray of The Copa Boys went to an audition for the Fireside Theatre straight from a PA job he had working on a film in a super oversized coat and work boots. HE SANG HIS FAE OFF and worked at the theatre for 5 years straight! (We don't recommend this! Cary's voice is ridiculous and not to be believed. He didn't know any better at the time!)

OK, I'm ready to get MY BOOK together! 

Yay!!! We'd love to know how it's going! Need help cutting songs or finding the right song to fill one of these categories? Let us know by commenting below, by dropping us a line on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/thepreapredperformer, or in an email at ThePreparedPerformer@gmail.com. We are here to help!

TPP Shimmer Signature

PS. I do make a commission off of any Amazon links you see on this site, at no cost to you. So, if you feel this is valuable info, I'd love it if you purchased your tools through these links. But, if you will be more likely to follow through on putting a book together by going to the store right now, get out and get going! We want you put these practices into action ASAP!

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. […] a perfect lull before the next audition season. Take this time to get your book together. Check out this post on putting together a Musical Theatre Audition book, and use our checklist to make sure you are on the right path. If you already have an audition […]

  2. […] wheeled to save your back.) But still, if you think about the fact that you will be carrying your audition book, extra shoes in case you are asked to stay and dance, extra headshots and resume, a stapler (I […]

  3. […] earlier – I’m SUPER PASSIONATE about these sheet protectors. If you read my post about your most important audition tool you’ll know why. Without a killer audition book… you are going to have a really […]

  4. […] pack up your bag with every shoe you might ever need (tap, jazz, ballet, character etc), your audition book, your make up/hair products, headshots, resume, blah blah blah. You had a lesson with your vocal […]

  5. […] career. With auditions popping up all over the place, it had me thinking… I NEED to bring my Audition Book up to date ASAP! My headshots that were taken a year ago already look dated! I guess that’s how […]

  6. […] new songs for your AUDITION BOOK, or material to sing at the #GLVJ is super fun but also can be a pain in the […]

  7. Anna H says:

    Hi, I am an actress who is completely lost when it comes to “the book.” Do you have any advice for finding good songs and cutting them or finding cheap sheet music for them?

    • Molly Mahoney says:

      Hi Anna! I’ll write a blog post about this! It’s a great question. I’ll get it up this week. Thank you for asking : )

  8. […] of all, READ THIS POST about putting together an audition book. It has all of the basics of putting together an audition […]

  9. […] Here’s a post about putting together an Audition Book. […]

  10. […] A Singer’s Most Important Audition Tool […]

  11. Jessica Kirschner says:

    Once you have those 6 songs where do you go from there ?

    • Molly Mahoney says:

      I have my students make a list of all of the shows and roles they are really right for and interested in doing. Then we make sure they have appropriate audition songs for each of those shows. One song at a time we start filling in the gaps : )

  12. […] wheeled to save your back.) But still, if you think about the fact that you will be carrying your audition book, extra shoes in case you are asked to stay and dance, extra headshots and resume, a stapler (I […]

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