OnStage Guest Columnist
College is right around the corner! That’s right, high school seniors- I’m talking to you. In just a few months you’ll be handed a piece of paper and be sent off into the big scary world of college. Most of you probably already see yourself in your dream school- acing your classes, and living it up. News flash: you still need to get accepted! Now is not the time to be losing sight of everything you’ve been working so hard for.
Odds are, if you’re a theatre student or a music student looking to pursue your passion, your auditions are in full swing. As a long-time vocal student and performer, I thought my voice audition for colleges would be the easy part. I had been classically trained for years and it had always been my forte. Why would that change? Little did I know just how much work you really should be putting into your college vocal auditions!
Here are the V.I.T.A.L.S of any college voice audition!
Variety- Your song choices should not only stand out from the other pieces the judges will hear, but they should vary from each other as well. To do this, find songs that are not “mainstream” or overdone in the theatre world and also pick two different types of music. Commonly, schools will ask you to show one ballad piece and one up-tempo piece, so use that to your advantage! The last thing judges want to hear are two audition songs that sound similar!
Interesting- Your audition piece should be far from boring! If it doesn’t interest you, the judges will see that and they’ll lose interest as well! Pick a song you can connect with. No matter how good you sound on something, if you don’t love it and don’t love singing it, it’s not for you! Don’t forget that songs are ways for judges to see who you are as a person as well as a performer- show them what you love!
Taste-The piece(s) that you choose for your audition should showcase your personal taste and individual style. Judges like seeing your individuality and what makes you unique. Remember that schools love having diverse student populations- there is no right or wrong when it comes to your personality! The school wants to invest their time in you so show them who you are!
Appropriate- Audition songs should be appropriate for you as a person and also for the setting in which you are presenting them. They should follow all guidelines that the school requires and they should be age-appropriate for you. For example, “Tomorrow” from Annie may not be the best choice simply because it is intended for a little girl.
Legible- Oftentimes you will be asked to cut your song to fit time constraints for the audition. Your music should be clearly and legibly marked so that the accompanist at your audition does not struggle with the piece, and it is also a good idea to highlight or mark in some other way all tempo changes, key changes, etc.
Story- Last, although certainly not least, your selection(s) should tell a story. The character you are playing should go somewhere throughout the piece, otherwise it is unsatisfying to hear. If it’s a love song, does it introduce us to the relationship and then take us through a breakup? Or if it’s about some other big life event, what happens? The story should not remain fixed at one point in the character’s life, it needs a beginning, middle, and end. If the song you choose does not provide you with much in this aspect, I’d suggest either finding another song or thinking about how you as a performer can give the piece some shape and how you can convey the story!