5 Tips to Nailing Your Audition Song
1. Choose the Right Key for You
Selecting the right song for your audition is critical, but once you have found it, you need to make sure it showcases your range and ability in dynamic and meaningful ways. Try out a few different keys when singing a new song. Try singing a song in 3 different keys before you make a decision. You can try singing the song in three similar keys close in pitch, or challenge yourself and try a lower key or a higher key. Sometimes a song may sound more interesting if it is flipped around. Trying something completely different can give the song a fresh, new element. Just be sure that whatever you pick, and whatever you key you choose, that you feel comfortable and confident mastering and performing it again and again. Have fun with this and explore!
2. Find a Connection
A vocal audition is an opportunity to sell yourself. Directors do not just cast voices - they cast people. As an actor, you would be wise to connect yourself to your performance in some meaningful way. In what ways can you empathize with the character in your song? Use your imagination to step into the thoughts, feelings, and circumstances this character may be facing that could impact the why and how of your performance. Finding this connection between the song and yourself will not only help you be more comfortable in your audition, but also showcase a more personal component of your ability for the panel of directors watching.You will discover you connect with the directors better if you can connect yourself to the story you are singing.
3. Do Not Sing from the Show
Every casting director is different, but unless they ask you to prepare a selection from the show you are auditioning for, it may be safer to avoid using a song from the show. Everyone will know that you are a fan of the show by coming to audition in the first place. However, singing from the show could end up hurting your chances - you maybe limiting yourself to one role in said play, or the director's vision for that particular song may be so rigid and specific that you could be stepping into expectations you know nothing about, and thereby get yourself written off. Also try and stay away from incredibly popular songs. Everyone loves Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but after you’ve heard it 10 times in 3 hours, they all start to run together. In selecting a song, be aware of any requirements the casting director or agency has outlined on the front end of your audition, and be sure you meet them exactly, but beyond that, what is most important is that your selection not only matches the tone and genre of the play, but also showcases your range and ability in a way you know you can consistently recreate.
4. Warm Up—and not only your voice
Most singers make a habit of warming up their voices before they sing but many forget their body. Your body and your voice are very connected and should be treated as such. Fun fact: If you warm up your body first, your voice will warm up faster! Tension is a voice’s worst enemy and releasing that tension from your body not only frees up your vocals without having to sing a single note, but also grants you greater breather support - allowing you to more skillfully control and sustain your voice throughout the performance.
“Along with inhibition and lack of specificity, failing to do a physical warm up is also partially to blame for the ‘no lower body’ syndrome I see in so many singers who sing from the waist, but are disconnected below that. A physical warm up incorporating your whole body is a step in the right direction.” —Philip Hernández, New York City-based acting coach and working actor
5. Be Yourself
Come to do what you are passionate about! Do the work you love so much, not needing to please or get approval from anyone! Enter with confidence and certainty. Do not give up your power as soon as that door opens by letting yourself be overcome with fear and anxiousness. Some level of nervous energy is normal for most people auditioning, but this can be channeled and controlled to actually fuel your performance. Know you are on a level playing field, and we are all figuring it out...together! Let everyone know you are ready for this, and make no excuses whatsoever. Leave your baggage outside. Better yet, leave it at the house. Own the room. It will make all of us, yourself included, so much more relaxed and engaged, and you will execute your audition with pride, regardless of what happens, knowing that you gave it your all.