Nail Your College Audition

There is no recipe for guaranteeing success in every audition. There are always circumstances you can’t control. However, many things ARE within your control. Some of of these things apply to auditions in general, while others relate only to college auditions.

Preparing for your college audition:

1. Do your research before you apply to music schools. Make a list of what is important to you. Do you want a larger school which might offer more possibilities or a smaller one with more individual attention? Who are the voice teachers? Does the opera program perform in original languages? Is there a large graduate program, meaning that you will probably not be cast in a major role the entire time you are there? Is that important to you or is getting good vocal instruction and getting experience singing in opera choruses is enough for now? Does the choral program tour?

2. If you have to send a screening recording, be sure to follow instructions regarding repertoire, and send it in before the deadline. Plan ahead. If you can afford to make a professional recording, it will help.

3. Choose repertoire that is appropriate for your voice. Discuss with your teacher what is well within your reach at your present technical level. Choose pieces you love to sing and which show you off at your best. Mark cuts clearly for the accompanist. Don’t choose a piece that might be too difficult for the accompanist.

4. Work on your diction and your presentation. Rehearse with an accompanist to polish your performance. Really know the words if they are in a foreign language, not just what the piece is about in general. If it is an opera aria, know the entire opera and how this aria fits in. Ask yourself questions such as “Who else is on stage if I’m not alone and what is my relationship to this person or these persons?”

5. As you talk with the panel, speak clearly and articulately. Think about why you wish to pursue your chosen major and what you would like to do with that major.

6. Work on your sight singing and tonal memory. Many schools will test you on this. Ask your voice teacher or choral director to play random patterns for you to sing back, or just to give you pieces of music to sight sing. Do this regularly in order to be well prepared. Try to enroll in theory and sight singing classes or get some tutoring in these areas. Piano lessons are a must!

7. Use gestures that are meaningful. Be sure they enhance your performance, rather than detract from it.

Now the audition itself:

1. Arrive early. Don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily by being late.

2. First impressions are crucial. The energy you radiate the minute you enter the room is important. Make immediate eye contact with the panel.

3. Don’t shake hands with the panel members unless they offer this gesture first! It takes time away from the few minutes you are allowed for the audition, and many people are actually offended by this as it spreads germs.

4. NEVER sing when you are sick! The impression you make will not be good. They might be willing to re-schedule your audition.

5. Wear appropriate attire. Girls: Dress or skirt and blouse – no pants unless singing a pants role for your first choice. Boys: Suit and tie, or a sweater. Be sure your look is neat. Hair out of your eyes for both genders!

6. Speak clearly with an appropriate volume when announcing your piece. Know the composers and be sure you are pronouncing the titles of your pieces correctly.

7. Don’t stare. Look out and take in the room, and perform for the panel.

8. Stay in the moment. Focus. Communicate. Word and tone are equally important.

©2022 Deborah Raymond, Flagstaff Arizona

“Why do you want to
“Really know the words if

Deborah Raymond

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