Auditioning Tips for Music Theatre Students

Auditioning Tips for Music Theatre Students

By Alyssa CowellSuccess

This is about the time of year that the local Middle and High schools hold auditions for the big spring musical. Every year, there are students who are nervously considering auditioning for the first time, and have no idea what to expect. While every director has their particular way of auditioning prospective students, there are definitely some audition practices that can ensure a better audition. Here’s the outline that I share with students to help them put their best foot forward when it comes to auditioning successfully:

Do Your Research!

  1. What is the play you’re auditioning for?
  2. Have you seen it before? If you haven’t – is there a video recording or copy of the script you can read?
    1. Look online for a synopsis of the plot and character descriptions.
    2. Track down any information about the show that you can – this gives you an idea of what parts are available.
  3. Know what the audition requirements are, and follow them!
    1. Try to meet the requirements as closely as possible – make sure your monologue really IS one minute long or you have a full 16 bar selection of music!
    2. Choose audition pieces that are in the same style as the play you’re auditioning for. For example, don’t use an excerpt from Shakespeare to try out for High School Musical.
    3. Is there anything extra like a dance audition?
  4. When are the auditions/ When is the show?
    1. Do you need to schedule an audition slot ahead of time?
    2. Are the call backs on a different date than the initial auditions? Make sure you’re available for those dates too!
    3. In the event you get cast in the show – are you available for all the performances? Often, attendance is mandatory for all cast the two weeks leading up to the show – know your schedule conflicts ahead of time!

Be Prepared!

  1. Be on time! Being on time actually means being at least 10 minutes early.
  2. Have your audition pieces memorized!
    1. Know how to count yourself in on your musical selection
    2. Know what show your song/monologue is from, and who the composer/writer of the selection is.
  3. Wear appropriate clothing
    1. Are you going to need to dance/use big gestures in your audition?
    2. Wear clothes that provide ease of movement.
    3. Wear shoes that you feel comfortable doing dance steps in.
    4. Clothes that are too tight/short/low can make you feel self-conscious onstage and take away from your performance
    5. Clothing you feel good in gives you confidence and allows you to focus on giving a good audition.
    6. Wear something that fits well, and makes you feel good about yourself.
  1. Bring your music!
    1. Even though you’re memorized, you need sheet music to give to the audition accompanist.
    2. Make sure your music is clearly marked – where the playing should start, end, and any changes you’ve made.
  2. Extras – a few things to have handy during an audition
    1. Bottle of water
    2. Snack
    3. A book to read, or a game to play while you wait for your turn.

During the Audition:

  1. Don’t Hold Back!
    1. Speak/sing loudly and clearly – Directors want to know the audience will be able to hear and understand you.
    2. Be confident with your movements! Don’t be afraid to use your body to emphasize a point in your monologue/song.
  2. Take your time! This is YOUR audition!
    1. Breathe. Make sure that you take a minute to focus before you start to speak or sing.
    2. Slow down! Feeling nervous can make you rush.
    3. If you’re going too fast, the words you’re speaking/singing can be too hard to understand
    4. Speaking/Singing too fast can make it difficult to work in a breath where you need one!

Your audition is just the beginning of the fun and rewarding experience of participating in a musical theatre production. While a director is looking for talented performers who fit the characters in the play, he/she is also looking for students who are enthusiastic, committed, respectful, and able to behave in a professional manner. By taking your audition seriously you show the casting director you want to be part of their production, which gives you a better chance of getting a part!

Catoctin School of Music
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