Making the Most of Your Audition

For Your Own Good

While a cappella is typically a group endeavor amidst a niche, but large community, For Your Own Good focuses on what individuals can do for their own betterment in this realm.

There are few experiences more nerve-racking than an audition. Take the anxiety that comes with an interview and add a performance component. Your talent, your thoughts, your personality, and your look are all up for scrutiny, and there’s a very real chance that a group you want to be a part of is going to say that you’re not what they’re looking for.

While auditions can bring on all of the less-than-positive connotations listed above, they can also mark wonderful opportunities. Here are some key ideas to keep in mind when you set foot in an audition:

You’re not there to be criticized, you’re there to show off your talents. Too often, serious artists grow so self-conscious and self-critical that they lull themselves into a state of inactivity for fear of doing the wrong thing. If you’ve worked hard at your craft and you have the talent think of an audition less as something you might fail at, and more as an opportunity to show the very best of yourself. Build toward auditions as a goal and when the moment arrives, enjoy your time to shine in front of your evaluators.

Sing your own song. As a budding writer, one of the best pieces of advice a mentor ever gave me was to sing my own song and sing it the best I knew how. This lesson is every bit as applicable to the literal songs an aca-hopeful will literally sing. If you’re most at home in jeans and a pair of Chucks, that’s how you should dress for your rehearsal. If you rock out to Steven Tyler vocals, you shouldn't pigeon hole yourself into a Michael Buble solo because that’s what you think the people holding the auditions are going to want to hear. Be yourself and let the group evaluate you openly and honestly; as an added plus, if you get in, you won’t be expected or pressured to be anything but yourself moving forward.

Audition them. It’s an old cliché that a job interview should be as much about you interviewing your prospective employer as about them interviewing you to ensure it’s a good fit from both sides. While you should not grill someone who is listening to your audition or be so silly as to insist that they sing for you, you should take mental notes of how you’re treated in the audition process, what the group seems to care about in prospective members, and any other information you can glean from your audition session. If you don’t like what you’re seeing , do you really want your time in the organization?

Even if you don’t join the group, learn from the process. After your audition, reflect on what did and did not go well. Was there a part of your solo that seemed to turn off the judges? Were there vocal exercises the group asked of you that you simply were not prepared for? Also, whether you make the group or not, don’t hesitate to respectfully ask for feedback from the people who evaluated you. If they don’t want to give it, so be it; you may be surprised, though, at how many people in such positions will be impressed that you asked, and prepared to give you “insider” information that will help you grow as a performer.

Auditions are one of the few processes a cappella singers need to go through alone. Don’t miss the unique opportunity for personal betterment.