Musical Theatre Audition Tips 1. Be prepared. a. Read the audition notice carefully and comply with it (e.9., "no pop songs", "sing a Broadway standard"). b. Different music directors have different preferences. Some prefer that you sing a song of the character role you are seeking; some do not. Inquire ahead of time if the audition notice does not note a preference and you are unsure. c. Know your song well enough so you can sing a few bars of it to help the audition accompanist gauge tempo, and so that if the accompanist falters in the music, you can keep going. d. Don't perform an audition piece that you "just learned yesterday".
2. Mark your music clearly and cleanly. Important things to note: a. Mark "START" and "END", especially if it is not the actual star/end of the piece. b. Mark any places you want the pianist to slow down / wait for you, or where you wish to back-phrase (sing behind the beat). lf this is not marked in the music, the pianist may slow down to keep pace with or wait for you. c. Try not to make cuts that jump all over the place, and most importantly, do not make cuts that go both forward and backward in the music.
3. Talk to the accompanist. Do not just hand your music over then walk away. Common things that are helpful to know are: a. Name of the song and what show it is from if not clearly marked on your music. lf it is not well known, give us an idea on how the song feels (e.9., slow ballad, driving rock, swing). This will help us figure out what style to play it in. b. Where to start and end the piece. c. lf starting in the middle of a song, whether you need a starting pitch via prep note or chord. d. What cuts you will be making. e. Whether you will or will not be taking repeats. f. Any other special markings, e.9., pauses. g. Tempo. Make this the last thing you tell us, otherwise we will probably forget by the time you go through any other instructions.
4. Sing according to your markings (e.9., freely, ritard, railroad tracks, "wait for me!", no repeats). lf possible, have a pianist review your music ahead of time to make sure that your markings are understandable.
5. Songs by Jason Robert Brown or Stephen Sondheim (and even Stephen Schwartz), can be difficult to sight-read and therefore not recommended unless you've worked with the audition accompanist beforehand (or bring your own with you). Same with handwritten music. lf the only version you can find is handwritten, work with someone ahead of time who can help you transcribe the handwritten music to print.
6. Practice your audition piece with a pianist so you become familiar with the piano version of the accompaniment and are happy with it. Some songs (e.9., rock) do not sound good with solo piano accompaniment, and sometimes the sheet music is in a key different from the professional recording. In addition, working with a pianist beforehand will enable you to get feedback as to the accompaniment level of difficulty. lf the level of difficulty is too high, you might consider selecting another piece.
7. Most auditions ask for 16 bars of music, which means your sheet music should usually not be longer than four pages. Single-sided pages taped together are preferable as they enable the accompanist to see what's ahead and decrease the likelihood that pages will fall off the stand. In addition, page turns make sight-reading difficult, and books and binders sometimes do not lay flat on the piano. lf the pages don't stay open, we can't play from them.
8. Do not ever use sheet protectors. Not even the non-glare type.
9. When you tape your music together, tape it from the front. Do not lay the pages down then flip each page over and tape them from the back. lf you do this, your music will be backwards.
10. Do not bring one double-sided page of music.
11. Do not bring lead sheets, libretto pages or fake books.
12. Do not fold or curl your music in any way. lf the pages won't stay up, we can't play from them.
13. Make sure your music is legible and not blurry. a. Notes should not be cut off anywhere on the page (top, bottom, left, right). b. Music should be dark, not faded. c. Do not reduce pages. lf the original music is oversized, make sure to minimize the amount of reduction so that the music is legible. Bottom line: lf we can't read it, we can't play it.
14. Chord symbols can be very helpful if your piece has many sharps/flats or if the accompanist is not familiar with the song. lf there are chord symbols on the music, make sure they are clearly marked and not cut off.
Please remember that the audition accompanist wants you to succeed and is going to play to the best of their ability based on the sheet music you provide. Thank you for reading and good luck with your next audition!
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