Auditioning can sometimes feel overwhelming or even scary. After many years of auditioning for musical theater, opera, and operetta, I’ve come up with a routine for myself that helps me get through the audition confidently. Try some of these ideas to make your audition experience smoother!
Before the day of the audition
Be prepared vocally
Make sure you know your material inside and out. Whether you have a month or a week to prepare, try to be as familiar with the material as possible. Take the song to your voice teacher if you need help. Use a karaoke track at home to practice. Make sure to follow through on a variety of memorization techniques. (My favorite is to write out the lyrics several times a day!)
Be prepared dramatically
A singer can’t just stand there blankly and sing. We have to live in the emotional world of the song and show what we are feeling on our faces and in our bodies. In a word – acting. Make sure you have a plan for acting the song. Do not just “wing it.” If you need extra help, work with your teacher or an acting coach.
Figure out logistics
Know where you need to go and how you will get there. If it’s as simple as a short drive – great! – but if you will be travelling far or using public transportation, you want to figure this out before the day of. Know exactly when your train or bus leaves and where you can park near the station. Figure out how and when you will need to buy a ticket; nowadays you can usually get your ticket online in advance. Planning all this out will save you a lot of stress!
Prep your audition bag
What’s an audition bag, you ask? It’s where you have all your audition essentials ready to go. The basics are:
- Your music binder with the sheet music to your song ready for the accompanist
- If you need to bring a karaoke track, have it downloaded to your phone in the right key and ideally trimmed to the exact length of your audition cut
- A bottle of water
- Dance attire (if your audition also includes a dancing portion)
- Your head shot and resume appropriately trimmed and stapled back-to-back
- Optional helpful extras
- A change of shoes, if you don’t want to have to wear your nice shoes all day
- Herbal lozenges (menthol-free)
- A cup of tea with honey
- A snack if it’s going to be a long day
- For the ladies: make-up for touch ups
The day of the audition
Do some light or moderate physical activity the morning of
Singing is easier when the body is warmed up. Start with some stretches to loosen up any tightness and also to energize the body. Check out this article that provides some great ideas for stretches. Then, try some light to moderate physical activity, like taking a brisk walk or doing an exercise routine. I like to do 30 minutes of yoga the morning of an audition. The movement and stretching help to prep the body for singing, and it also helps to calm my nerves!
Stay hydrated and well-fed
Make sure to drink plenty of water the day of your audition, as well as the day before. Remember to do this well before your actual audition time, because it takes hours for any water you drink to actually make its way to your vocal folds.
Eat something approximately 2-3 hours before your audition. You don’t want to be starving, but you definitely don’t want an uncomfortable full feeling either. That being said – listen to your body. This is what works for me, but your body might require something different than mine!
Do your regular vocal warm up routine, whatever you normally do that makes you feel great. You want your voice to feel ready but not tired from too much use. Try a little bit of your audition piece, but don’t feel the need to run through it five times right before your audition. That will just tire you out. The goal is to wake your voice up and get it ready but not sing too much the day of so you’re vocally spent.
Get there early
It goes without saying, but it will save you a lot of stress!
If you get nervous, try doing some breathing exercises and some more light stretching. There are many simple ones that can have a big impact! A quick Google search will return many results, but here is an article on simple breathing techniques to help get you started. There are also many tutorials on YouTube that can teach you breathing and relaxation techniques.
You’re ready and all that’s left now is for you to show them what you’ve got! Focus on telling the story and connecting with the people in the room. That’s what it’s all about, after all.
Consider voice lessons to help you build confidence over the long-term so that you feel prepared and at ease when you audition.
Check out the article on the top 10 reasons to take voice lessons.