Is it time to declutter your audition book?

Is it time to declutter your audition book?
The ongoing development - what is in your audition book?

This particular blog is for Music Theatre creatures,  but certainly can be translated into the Opera world too...Some of the basic principles are the same!

Should you revamp your audition book?  YES!   How often?  as often as you need.  There is no specific time line.  If it needs a refresher,  if your voice has developed and needs new repertoire,  if you are feeling "stale" in the audition,  IT IS TIME!!!

If you aren't getting good feedback from the songs you are using - time to find out WHY and make the changes...

If what you are using is working then don't fix what ain't broke!  Add and switch up maybe, but use what works!

Again, what's crucial is a reality check.  How are you seen?  Are you being seen in the best light?  Are you being realistic about what you can do well NOW?  Is your repertoire reflecting your best traits vocally, musically, type or is it only reflecting your tastes???  Remember, auditioning is going in to get a JOB.  It isn't always about what fulfills you artistically. 

So here are a few of my key points that I hope may help you:

 Just cause YOU love it, do THEY love it?  These are those songs that might be better suited to a cabaret,  or a concert or something other than a 16 bar audition! 

Do you take the room with the cut?  You have to take that room!!

What does it show about your voice?  It all has to be good things!!  Do NOT show what you are working on,  what you'd like to be able to do - show what you CAN do.  If you can't do it...are you studying?????

Are you evoking the style of the show?  Are you able to build a character/mood/atmosphere with that 16 cut?  What does it show?  What can you make it show?

EVERY cut in your book needs to know why it is there.  You need to know why you are using it - what it evokes, what it shows about your voice,  what it reveals about your dramatic intelligence,  what you can embody in those 16 bars!

Do not learn a new cut the night before and think you can fully realize it in the room.  Doesn't happen.  You need TIME to work it into your body,  your voice, your breath,  and your gesture.  Trust me - it isn't happening.  We always know when you haven't spent enough time with it.

Are you singing for fresh ears and for your team to get feedback?  Are you getting to audition classes?  It is so crucial.  Sing for your teacher, your coaches, and maybe a consultation with a new set of ears to get another sense of how you are coming across in that room with that repertoire. 

Your book should be full of options and possibilities!  Are you scattered or too much the same?  Do you have what you need to take on any audition that is right for you?  Can you give a great contrasting audition with 2 cuts that show your versatility and your strengths? 

So now - your turn.  Go through that book.  Write down what it shows about YOU.  Is it strong enough? If it isn't, throw it out.  Find something else that is stronger, more vivid, more direct.  Don't worry about subtle - you only have 16 bars!  You have to show what you can do right away.

As you clear out the clutter - make notes about what you need to replace:  eras, styles, uptempos, ballads...the book will build itself. 

Go to those people in our business who are great book builders.  Take them what you do well, so they can help inform you about specific ideas based on what you do well.  Just because you have a high C in the studio during your lesson, doesn't make it a good idea to sing it in a cut.  Can you do it every single time and nail it?  Only THEN should it be there!

If you aren't a belter,  then don't hope it works in an audition.  Work on your mix.  Show them your STRENGTHS not what you are still developing. 

As you begin your de-clutter be black and white with your decisions for EACH cut:
1.  what era
2.  what style
3.  what type/characters/shows does it evoke?
4.  what does the cut show vocally?
5.  what does the cut show musically?
6.  what does the cut show dramatically?
7.  can my voice and my personality and acting intelligence show all that?
8.  can I take the room with this cut?
9.  can I sing this and perform it in my sleep or does it need more time?
10.  am I passionate about it?

If ANY of these answers isn't VIVID and POSITIVE - throw it out.  Trust me, there are TONS of choices and wonderful music you can connect to.  Everything you sing, you need to love. 

Ultimately,  the first step is that your VOICE has to be aligned and developed, or developing to simply dress itself in the choices you make.  The study of and knowledge of your voice is going to make these choices easier and more accessible.

Study,  listen, explore, and ask questions.  Find the professionals that will give you TRUTH not just what you want to hear.  Invest in the truth - which will then become YOUR truth,  not your delusion.  The truth isn't always easy, but it will clear the clutter!

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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