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Entering Singing Competitions: Hints and Tips

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Preparing for a singing competition? Need some help? Here are some useful tips to ensure you show off your capabilities in your next competition.

Before you even start preparing for your audition you need to research the company you are auditioning for, so you can understand exactly what they are looking for. Is the competition looking for the next big singing star? If so what age? What genre? An all round entertainer? Or a sob story?

Spend some time on the Internet finding out as much as you can. It's also good idea to research the organisers of the competition too, so you can find out if the competition is credible, as unfortunately there are more and more competitions emerging that offer very little to the winners, other than the organisers making a lot of money.

What to look for when researching:

  1. The organisers credentials
  2. Information on the judges - who are they?
  3. What do you win?
  4. What does it cost to apply?
  5. How do you apply? Is it an online competition or live audition?
  6. How many categories are there?
  7. What happened to the winners of previous competitions?
  8. Do you perform acapella, to backing track or do you bring a musician?
  9. What will you get out of entering? Experience, the chance to win? Exposure?

So now you have researched the competition and have decided you are happy to enter, what next?

You need to chose your song, and style of performance:

  1. Up-tempo;
  2. Ballad;
  3. Original song; and
  4. What aspect of your voice do you want to show off?

The majority of singers are going to chose ballads, as it's the most obvious way of showing off your capabilities. But beware, a lot of singers will also chose to sing a ballad, so you need to look at something that you can do very well, or something you arrange slightly differently.

What's the point of learning a song and then performing it just like the original artist? The judges have seen if all before, and really don't want to just see another 'imitation' singer. So what if you can sing like Michael Bubl, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Rhianna, Justin Timberlake, you may as well become a tribute act (which can offer you a worthy career though). Wouldn't you rather develop your musical 'identity'? So look for a song that shows off your strong points, and adapt it for you. Play around with it. Adjust the key, have it arranged differently. Make it your own.

Don't be afraid to sing an up tempo song. Up tempo songs are a welcome break for judges, after listening to several versions of "Hero", "My Heart Will Go On", "I Will Always Love You", "When You Say Nothing at All" and "You Raise Me Up", they will be glad of the change. Why not look for a song that is really fun, to show you can entertain and allow and audience to have fun. Maybe a classic from the sixties, or something in the charts at the moment. Again, don't sing it just like the original. Make it your own.

This essay first published October 5, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008.

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