So the time has come, the day of the competition, or audition. First things first... Ensure that you have everything you need:
- Directions to the event
- Your backing track(s)
- Promotional documentation on yourself
Bottle of water
When you arrive - be yourself. At every audition or competition the judges or those watching the audition want to be able to get to know you, and see your personality. Whether they can work with you in the future is important to them. Be polite and always introduce yourself. Sitting in a corner on your own is not the best way to go, however nervous you are. You will find your anxiety will become less after speaking with others who are in the same boat as you anyway.
When you enter the audition... Now most of this is common sense but when nerves kick in, it makes it more difficult.
- Introduce yourself and hand over any promotional information you have - ideally a demo CD and photograph including your contact details. You would be surprised how many demo CD's I am given without contact details! Add your MySpace or website address too, so they can find out more about you.
- Offer your backing track and get to grips with the room you are in: How much space you have to perform.
- Then comes the big moment... Now, this really does sound obvious, but look at the judges/panel. Don't let your eyes wonder around. Focus as soon as the music starts. I don't mean stare them out, but eye contact is very important.
- The first 30 seconds are the worst. The nerves will rush straight through you, so ground yourself, as if the nerves shoot straight down into the floor. It will feel like you are singing really fast and your adrenalin with be pumping. This is the point where you need to let your technique kick in. Allow all the hours of practice take over. You have sung the song many times before, so why should this be any different. An old favourite piece of advice of mine is imagining the panel naked. It works!
- After the first 30 seconds you will find you begin to settle down, your technique and natural ability kick in and you can begin to relax into your surroundings. This is when you need to think more about your body language. Even if you are singing a ballad avoid standing completely still. Use natural, maybe literal movement to tell the story in the song.
- Try not to let your mind wonder. It's dead easy to do. What am I having for tea? I wonder if they like my song choice? Stay in the zone until the song is finished. Don't leave the room before thanking the panel/judges and then be on your way. Waiting to hear is pretty awful, but if you don't get the part don't worry, you were not what they were looking for, but next time maybe you will be.
This essay first published October 20, 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.