A SINGER’S MOST IMPORTANT AUDITION TOOL
Welcome back to our blog! We hope you've noticed some of the info we've been adding to our non-blog pages. If not, check out the following new/updated pages…
And now, the good stuff –
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
- What type of material is required?
- Is there a time limit?
- What show are you auditioning for?
- 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?
An 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 email@example.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?
The 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?
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! : )
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!
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!