How do you prepare for an audition? What song do you choose? What happens at an audition?
Last year, I participated in a workshop for Contemporary Singing lead by Irene Bartlett. Irene is Jazz and Contemporary Voice Teacher at the Conservatorium of Music at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. She was also a coach at the New Zealand National Singing School in 2009. The NZ Singing School is a summer residential school held in our mid-summer, January. http://www.singingschool.org.nz/
There were 20 singers in my three-day workshop, held at Unitec Institute of Technology. We each had the opportunity to receive a 'master-class' style coaching for a song we were learning. I chose "I'm Martin Guerre" - a dramatic song from Boublil and Schonberg's "Martin Guerre". (This team created the well-known modern opera "Les Miserables".)
Each singer had ten minutes of workshop time to gain maximum advantage from the master-coach, Irene. I launched into my song. The song begins with my singing 28 bars, nearly all the same pitch and rhythm. Just as I was about to launch into the exciting, drammatic, melodious part, Irene stopped me! And began my coaching.
Valuable coaching ensued, but I could have gained much more from the coach if I had known the secrets of preparing for an audition. Whilst this was more of a master-class than an audition, I think there are some useful lessons that apply regarding how to prepare for an audition.
Subsequently, I bought a variety of music resources from an an Aladdin's Cave for musicians, Piano Traders, in Mt Eden, Auckland....
One book I acquired has some relevance to the task of auditioning:
Pamela S. Phillips. (2003). Singing For Dummies. New York: Wiley. Retrieved February 18, 2009, from http://www.dummies.com/store/product/Singing-For-Dummies.productCd-0764524755.html.
Chapter 21 presents 14 pages of advice on auditioning for a song for music theatre. The chapter covers topics including:
- Get some tips on musical theatre
- Select a song that demonstrates variety
- Dramatise your lyrics
- Avoid the wrong song (the mistake I made)
- Adjust the key if you need to (yes: I transposed down 3 semitones that using Smartscore - to the horror of my accompanist)
- Make a 16-bar cut. That is, choose a small part of the song that shows you at your best ... you may be given no further time than 16-bars! The main mistake I made.
- Work your songs with an accompanist
- Know how to work with the audition pianist
For scholars and researchers, if you were impressed by my complete APA referencing for the Phillips (2003) book, let me share my latest productivity aid. I have just installed the Zotero citation and bibliographic reference management system. Zotero heps me manage all the web sites I visit, local .pdf documents, and off-line print media in one database reference system.
When I need to cite a reference, I conveniently drag and drop from Zotero into a document, such as my blog (as above) or a text document. Zotero is open source (free!) software, and runs as an add-on to my Firefox browser. See: http://www.zotero.org/
Top image: Peter Mellalieu sings "I'm Martin Guerre" at NZ Aria Competition, Rotorua, October 2008.