HOW TO SET YOUR ACCOMPANIST UP TO SUCCEED
THEN – Read the step by step list below that will help you help your audition accompanist to help you : )
HOW TO SET YOUR ACCOMPANIST UP TO HELP YOU HAVE THE BEST AUDITION POSSIBLE
- KNOW YOUR MUSIC INSIDE AND OUT – I'm serious about this. DO. NOT. Just listen to a track and then expect the accompanist to play it exactly like the track. Often times the sheet music is a little different. So make sure you go through your music with someone who knows how to read music and can either play it for you, or explain it to you. OR work on your own music reading skills. Being able to read music as a singer is such an important tool.
- MARK YOUR MUSIC PROPERLY – Now that you know your music inside and out, you can mark it properly. Make sure to mark the beginning (START HERE), and ending (END HERE) and be sure to hi-light any key changes, tempo changes or funky time signatures.
- WHEN YOU ENTER THE ROOM, SAY HELLO TO EVERYONE AND THEN HEAD STRAIGHT TO THE PIANO – Most likely the people you are auditioning for either have a long day of auditions ahead of them, or are ending a long day of auditions. Know that this is YOUR TIME in the room, but don't dilly dally.
- GREAT THE ACCOMPANIST LIKE HE/SHE IS A REAL PERSON AND REMEMBER EVERYTHING FROM THIS POST –
Your accompanist needs to be your best friend in that room. Be nice to them and help them out so they can help you! Read this post for some great reminders. Your accompanist could also be the one making all of the casting decisions.
- TELL HIM/HER THE NAME OF YOUR SONG – If your music is an audition cut from the middle or end of a song, you can write the title of your song on the top of the first page.
- SHOW HIM/HER WHERE TO START/END – Make sure you mark the exact spot in which the accompanist will start. Not where you will start singing. If you will start in an unusual spot, you can mention that to him/her as well. Even if your music is marked… tell the accompanist where you will start and end.
- GIVE YOUR TEMPO BY SINGING A BIT OF YOUR SONG AND GENTLY TAPPING THE TEMPO ON YOUR LEG. DON'T SNAP. Some accompanists feel snapping can rude, which might seem weird… but imagine if you were at a piano all day long with actors snapping in your face every two min. It could get crazy. Make sure to take a breath, then quietly sing a little bit of your song while tapping your rhythm on your leg or arm. If you don't sing the song, there is a good chance that you will not give the right tempo.
- LET HIM/HER KNOW IF THERE IS ANYTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY TO WATCH OUT FOR IE: TEMPO CHANGES, TIME SIGNATURE CHANGES, KEY CHANGES, FERMATAS, SEZURAS, REPEATS ETC.
- TELL HIM/HER YOU WILL NOD WHEN YOU ARE READY TO SING – This is one I've forgotten many times and I always kick myself. There is little worse than walking away from your accompanist and hearing that your music has started before you even make it to the center of the room.
- CHECK TO MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND ALL THAT YOU'VE SAID AND SAY THANK YOU – Before you turn to walk to the center of the room, look your accompanist in the eyes and check to make sure they understood all that you explained about your music. Checking in with them for this brief moment will make sure you are both on the same page. It will also help ground you before you start your song. And! Don't forget to say thank you before you head over to start singing.
- SAY THANK YOU AGAIN WHEN YOU GET YOUR BOOK – AND MEAN IT! Being able to sing with an accompanist is such an awesome treat. You get to make music with another person! So, when you are done, even if you don't feel it went super well. Make sure to say thank you as you are picking up your book. Being an audition accompanist is not an easy job, and we (as actors) are lucky to have them!
If you'd like to read more about auditions from an accompanists point of view… I highly recommend this book – The Enraged Accompanist's Guide to the Perfect Audition. It's funny and pretty spot on! (Ps – if you purchase this book through this link… I'll make a small commission at no cost to you.)
So – when you go to your next audition. Try to put these steps to work! If something goes funky and your not able to use all of these tips, don't worry. Just getting a few of these in there will help you have a better audition. And, let us know how it goes by leaving a comment below!