One of the biggest battles when it comes to a musical audition is to pick the right song or songs. If you’re lucky, the casting director will give you a song to sing for your range. However, that doesn’t happen very often, so you need to have a good repertoire that will see you through a variety of audition scenarios.
The key things to think about when picking an audition piece, aside from showing off your vocal range, are:
1. Who Is The Character You Are Auditioning For?
It is critical that you pick a song that relates to your character. It doesn’t have to be an exact match for the situation in the production, but try to find something that reflects the general emotional range and personality of the character.
This will help the director to see you in the role.
2. What Has The Casting Director Asked For?
A casting director will often put a lot of work into the casting brief and know exactly what they want to see from the performers. If you show up with something outside of that brief, you will not make a favorable impression.
The biggest mistake is preparing a pop song instead of a Broadway song or vice versa.
3. Will This Song Show Your Range In Just 16 Bars?
You never know when the audition process is going to be running late or the casting team is itching to get to lunch, so they cut you off after only a few bars of the song.
They may think they’ve heard enough in just 16 bars of music, but what if the big finish you’d prepared was something out of the ordinary? Make sure that you have enough in the beginning, middle and end of the song to show off what you can do.
4. Can You Deliver The Emotion Required?
The emotional and character performance of your song is just as important as being able to hit all the right notes. However, too many people try to go for the big emotional piece in order to show off a great depth of feeling.
The problem with this is that it’s hard to build up enough emotion in the stressful situation of an audition and bring the full weight of a production like Les Misérables into those few minutes.
5. Is The Song Famous Or Are There Famous Performances Of It?
You may be able to sing Don’t Cry For Me Argentina perfectly, but can you do it better than Madonna does it in the film everyone has seen?
Don’t put yourself in a situation where the casting director will immediately compare you to a famous performance or performer. Just like real money Blackjack games, you need a strategy that stands out – and trying to beat Madonna may not be it.
6. Is The Song Currently Popular?
There are some songs that just seem to do the rounds at auditions. They go in and out of fashion, and when they’re on trend, they can really annoy casting directors and producers.
Think about how many people they are auditioning and how boring it’ll get for them if a third or half the people sing the same song.