Selecting What to Sing
Pick pieces that you know you can consistently sing well. A simple piece sung beautifully is better than a piece you’re not as confident in. The audition panel is more interested in hearing your voice at its very best than in hearing the hardest or longest piece you know. The piece you choose should show off the best aspects of your voice.
Tips for Battling Nerves
Even the most experienced singers get nervous at auditions! A little bit of nervous energy can help at an audition by releasing the adrenaline that helps maintain great focus. However, if you’re feeling more than just a little nervous there are things you can do to be calm and confident at your audition:
When you’re getting ready for your audition: Practice your piece several times completely from memory so you’ll have no fear of memory slips when the nerves of auditions kick in. If you have access to an accompanist, practice the piece completely from memory with the accompaniment. If you don’t have an accompanist to practice with, see if an accompaniment track is available online! If singing in front of others makes you nervous, try a mock-audition with your choir teacher, parent, or friend sitting in front of you. Practice announcing the name and composer of your piece as well, especially if it’s in a foreign language.
When you arrive at the audition: Always arrive at your audition at least fifteen minutes early. This will give you enough time to check-in, get all the instructions you need, get a drink, use the restroom, and ask any questions. After you check-in, feel free to walk around the lobby away from the other auditions. You can do some gentle humming and stretching to keep your voice and body warmed up. Take a water bottle to sip on and avoid getting a dry mouth. If you get really nervous, you might want to eat a banana before you arrive at your audition. Bananas are natural beta-blockers and help to calm excess adrenaline that can lead to anxiety and shakes.
In the Audition
Your name will be announced when you enter the audition. Have your music double-sided and hole-punched in a three-ringed binder (with no other non-audition music) for the accompanist when you enter the room. Make sure that none of the accompaniment has been cut off by the copy machine! If you don’t have access to copies and need to bring in a book of music, make sure you have the book open to right page, or bookmarked so you can easily access it for your accompanist. Hum or quietly sing the first bar or two of the piece for the accompanist so you both agree on the tempo. If there are passages where you are free with the tempo or observe repeats in the music, make sure to let the accompanist know in advance. When you’re ready to begin, announce your piece confidently and clearly. If you make a mistake while you’re singing, keep going! Don’t stop, apologize, or make a face that gives anyone a clue that you didn’t do it on purpose. Our accompanists are professionals and they will recover from any little mistakes. After your piece, the judges might ask you to sing a portion again, sing your other selection, or do some vocal exercises. When the audition is over the judges will thank and dismiss you. Thank them for their time and consideration and walk (don’t run!) confidently out of the room.
What to Wear
What you wear to an audition makes a statement to the judges about how you view the opportunity you’re auditioning for. Dressing professionally sends a nonverbal message that you value the opportunity. For men, it’s best to wear dress pants and a button-down, collared shirt, with or without a tie. For women, dress pants and a nice top are appropriate or a dress/skirt that’s not too short. Be mindful of the neckline of the top you choose and avoid anything with thin straps. Flats or low-heels are the best choice as heels that are too high off-set your center of balance and keep you from singing your best. The key is to have a neat appearance so the judges have nothing to distract them from the beauty your voice.