During the audition

2.1 Communication

  • The jury wants you to be the best, not to fail. Remember that!
  • Don’t lie; it’s a very small world where stories go rapidly. Honesty is honoured.
  • Say hello to everyone. Make a good first entrance. Don’t hug the wall entering.
  • Shaking everyone's hand? With a small jury you can do it. It’s not necessary. Greeting them friendly should make everybody feel happy.
  • Introduce yourself: say your first and family name, and eventually the role or education (full-time, part-time) you’re auditioning for. You can also mention the songs or monologues you have prepared and their origin (play, artist, composer, etc.).
  • Don’t start talking when you’re still walking to your spot or when the jury is reading the resume or writing things down. Introducing yourself is your “first impression”, take your time. Be yourself, don’t overdo it.
  • Arrogance is a very bad thing. Be cooperative. Greet everybody and don't skip anybody. Be respectful and do not focus on the one you feel is the most important. He who brings the coffee could well be the producer or director.
  • We all are nervous at an audition. If you’re really nervous that day, you can mention it to loosen up a bit. But don’t make it an excuse. The jury understands the tension.
  • Don’t let yourself down. If you think you screwed up with a song, don’t curse or sigh at the end of a song. The jury can be very impressed with you, or thought it was quite good. Don’t deprive them of that feeling!
  • Never give up halfway in a song or monologue or start looking bored. You waste their time and your second change.
  • If you’re a bit ill, don’t mention it. Don’t use it as an excuse. A professional singing coach will hear that you have a cold. You can mention it at the beginning or at the end, but no slimy stories about all the green things that appear when singing… The jury should be professional enough to judge your level.
  • If you’re really not well, you phone them to call it off. Maybe you can arrange another date. But remember: showing up indicates your intentions and you can still present the good parts you can still perform. When you clearly explain the problem and they fancy you, they might give you a second change a week later or so.
  • Stay friendly, even when the jury is blunt and brute. Take the honourable way out.
  • If the jury yawns or writes something down, no worries! Continue! A jury may have sit there for hours and hours, watching people singing. After a few hours you’d yawn too. If they speak with each other, they might consult each other quickly. If they write something down, don’t think it’s something bad about you. It could be something they just remembered, or wish to remember for later consultation of their notes; even the good and great things. Consulting paperwork: it could be your resume to check your experience or the amount of lessons you have taken. If they laugh: it’s not always about you. It could be the pianoplayer, or something they recalled for themselves. Just continue as it might sometimes be an awkward situation for the jury itself.
  • When the song (or monologue) begins and you make a big mistake, which is disastrous for the rest of your song (wrong rhythm, wrong key, your interpretation is hampered or black out in the text), please reboot. Apologise to the jury and the accompanist and start all over when you’re ready. Don’t make excuses afterwards.
  • Where to look during the audition? That is a difficult question. Don’t stare! Keep alive, and keep focused.
  • You can focus a bit above the jury. But if you sing a story or a comic song you have to look at the people in front of you. Use them all, instead of a single person; he or she can become embarrassed, look away or even challenge you. When your interpretation needs individual contact, ask if you can “use” one person out of the jury. Usually this will only work with a comic song. But it’s the final option. Juries are not fond of it.
  • Where to position yourself? Not too close! Keep away from the aura of the jury, so they can sit back and enjoy. Never try to read what they’re writing. It’s private. And don’t jump on tables… audition is not intimidation. Don’t stand too far away from the jury. And not too close to or too distant from the pianist. Take your space for your interpretation, so be sure you won’t bump into furniture. If you don’t know where to stand, ask the jury.
  • No song text on paper, you will make an awkward impression. Only in case your preparation time was too short (because it was a “recall” from the day before). Better one chorus and a refrain by heart, then the whole song with a text sheet.
  • You may use a chair with a song or a monologue, as long it has a function. Beware: in a jury room furniture is not always standard at hand, so be prepared. Not every jury member likes to be asked to offer his chair.
  • If there’s something unclear: ask! They rather have you asking the same question again, instead of seeing you in a needless performance.
  • After the audition: Thank everyone, including the piano player, as they have all spent their time as well.
  • Be flexible and cooperative. Try to follow the guidance of the jury precisely, so they see that they can work with you. This is especially true for auditions for a specific education.

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2.2 Pianist/Accompanist

  • The piano player is your best friend. This man or woman can save you or ruin your audition.
  • Listen to him/her: they often know what the jury is looking for. Consider advice on shortening a piece or using a higher speed or pitch.
  • Say hello to the pianist: he’s not a part of the furniture. He’s probably been working the whole day, and it’s a tough job, all those new songs.
  • Take your time to explain the sheet music. You don’t want to start all over again by rushing the explanation or having to make explanatory signs to the pianist during your audition itself.
  • Indicate the rhythm, for instance by singing, and giving a beat (by snapping your fingers). Sing loud enough; do not whisper. The pianist will understand the rhythm better and the jury has already an idea of what is coming.
  • Explain changes in tempo, or repeats, or fermatas. But don't give too many directions as the pianist will forget half of them. Trust the pianist: he has been studying and is musical.
  • Ask a pianist to begin when you are ready and give him a sign, like a nod. So prepare yourself before you begin.
  • If there’s any musical interlude remain focussed and in your interpretation. Don’t look at the pianist till he’s finished. If the interlude is very long you could make a cut in it in your preparation. But keep it musically.
  • If the pianist is not that good as you’d wish, don’t go mad, stay calm. Just focus on the jury and your interpretation. Also possible: you picked a very hard song to play.
  • If you’re doing something wrong, don’t get annoyed, and especially: don’t get furious at the pianist!
  • If you’re singing a song which is very difficult to play, bring a second song with you just in case.
  • Thank the pianist afterwards. If he/she played well, you may mention it.

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2.3 Health/technique

  • If you get a dry throat during the audition, chew a bit on the inside of your cheek. It’ll help.
  • You can take some water with you to the audition to drink a bit between the songs, but don’t exaggerate. No constant drinking and it’s not a Japanese tea-ceremony. I have once been looking for two minutes to an auditioner looking for her bottle of water. When things take too long, you will be checking your list looking who’s next.
  • Before going in: visit the toilet to be sure.

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2.3A Singing technique

  • You can’t learn to sing in a week. It takes lots of lessons to learn it. But even if you’re experienced, some things can go technically wrong during the audition. Here are some tips:
  • During an audition you may find yourself out of breath. Because of stress you’re likely to tighten your stomach. If you learn to relax it after a sentence, the air will flow in automatically, like if you were speaking. That should be enough air to sing the next sentence. And you don’t use so much air, because you’re using your breath. When singing/speaking you pull your stomach “in” (with not too much effort). Singing techniques differ very much between singing teachers and techniques. Just do it healthy and naturally, so you can sing your whole life.
  • Don’t lock your knees in order to stand ready. You won’t feel your feet anymore, and you’ll “loose ground”.
  • If you have difficulties with a low note: put some “twang” in it (a bit sharper). Don’t push on low notes, just relax.
  • If you have difficulties with a high note: don’t think it’s high! Simple solution, so you won’t contract your throat. Rather an inner smile (retraction).

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Hoofdstuk 1 - Before the audition

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Chapter 3 - After the audition