Friday, August 2, 2013

5 things to remember before every audition (Bari-Chunk Style)

I recently read a blog post on entitled '5 Things to Remember Before Every Audition.' Upon reading the title, I was intrigued. I thought, 'this could be great! Good advice for young singers who are headed to an audition.' Then I read it. I had a few issues with their Top 5. It was, well, too nice. It was a positive blog focusing on positive thinking and good vibes ect ect. That's fine. A positive attitude is a great thing to have in an audition. But their list seemed so far from the reality of what auditions are like. Auditions are not all rainbows and unicorn farts. They are hard, stressful, and a general pain in the ass.

Now, I have been called a pessimist in the past. That I'm just a curmudgeon. Not true. I'm a realist. And I'm all about being positive and supportive to fellow performers, but I believe in being honest as well.

Here is's Top 5, and my issues with them.

1. You are unique in the universe

So? So are snowflakes. So are potato chips. So is dog poop. Being unique does not give you a leg up. Think about it, if everyone is unique, then you are not special, because you're just like everyone else. Yes you have your own experiences to bring to your art, but so does everyone else auditioning. Uniqueness is not a gift, it's just a fact of life. What you do with you individuality in your performance prep, and performance is what matters during an audition.

2. You have the power to change the room

No you don't. It's a room. You don't have super powers. A room is just a room. Yes, I know Backstage was talking about the 'energy' in the room and how you can affect the people in the room with your art. I guess that's possible, but not probable. If you catch some one in a bad mood, they are probably not open to a musical experience, and therefore going to stay in a bad mood. Plus, you're not the only person they are listening to. 6 hours of listening to auditions has to be some kind of medieval torture.
This room is an oval now....

3. Feeling aren't forever

Ok... Backstage was talking about embracing the nerves, anxiety, ect of the audition and use those emotions in the audition. Um, bad idea. You know what no one wants to hear? Someone singing Don Giovanni as if he was nervous. Or an anxious Carmen. Or tired Tosca. Feelings don't last for ever, but memories sure last a long time. I remember all my bad auditions (granted, I've learned to look back and laugh at them now) and the people in the auditions remember them too. What did you think they were writing/typing while you were singing?

4. Your acting is important.

Duh! This is like saying remember to wear pants. Your signings important too, in case you didn't ink of that.

5. This is the most fun you can have, legally.

No it isn't. Skydiving is legal. Getting drunk is legal. Having sex is legal. Combing any or all of the aforementioned activities is legal. All are way more fun that auditioning.  Actually, most things are more fun than auditioning. Just my opinion...

So here's my list of 'Stuff You Should Know Before You Audition.'

1. You have less 30 seconds to make a good impression. 45 if you're lucky. That includes you walking in the door. So make it count. Smile, be polite, and start strong with your aria. After that, they are on to hinting about what to order for lunch.

2. When you walk in, they see dollar signs. For young artist stuff, you most likely had to pay a fee to sing their audition. You walk in, and they see how they are going to pay for lunch.

3. You are too fat/skinny/tall/short/male/female/ugly/pretty for the role you are singing for. They most likely already have the perfect someone in mind for the role, and you probably aren't it. Now they're wishing their lunch break would hurry up and arrive.

4. They don't want to be there either. Auditions suck for singers. It's 5-10 minutes of pure hell. It's awkward, uncomfortable, nerve racking, and stressful. Now imagine the people who have to sit there for 7-10 hour days listening to tons of singers all selling themselves, and their talent for the job. I've sat in auditions before. It's rough, long and boring.  By the 12th baritone to sing the Count's aria, they are starting to picture the singers as bacon turkey wraps from the deli down around the corner.

Yes, auditions are a necessary evil. We have to do them in order to get the work and get our name out there. So how do you deal with them? You just do. It's just 5-10 minutes of your life, and even if you screw up royally, no one will die. We're not performing brain surgery for Christ's sake. So walk into the room like you own it, do your job, sing your face off, and walk out with your head held high, and learn for the experience. Because in the end, that's all it is. One moment in time...

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