Yes Virginia, there IS audition etiquette!

Yes Virginia, there IS audition etiquette!
a Thursday musing as we enter December audition season...

Yes my dearest snow flakes,  there IS an etiquette of behavior AND attire that can make or break your audition.

Whether it is an opera audition, a YAP audition, a grad school or even undergraduate school audition, a music theatre audition - and more - there IS a protocol that you really should consider.

Many of you do pay attention on this, but sadly so many of you do not.

How do I know?  I see it!  Just in NYC alone, I have walked into audition waiting rooms over the last few weeks, and at least half of you are making wrong choices.  SIMPLY WRONG.

Music Theatre auditions, same average.

School auditions, sometimes MORE than half.

Why is this so important?

I say it again:  we SEE you first.  This is your packaging.  This shows us before you open your mouth if you are considering where you are and respecting it fully.  This is before you SAY anything, let alone SING anything!

The packaging enhances your performance, your energy, your persona - or it can deeply deter from it.

First: it is an AUDITION.  Think of it as a job interview.  This is not a performance - no costumes!  This is not a gala - no formal wear during the day nor in the evening for an audition!

You are trying to get the job.  You are trying to get a spot in a school or program.

You are wanting to be taken seriously.  You are wanting to be remembered for POSITIVE reasons, not be talked about as the singer who didn't have a clue.

I have written blogs about this in the past, but I think it still needs to be said and reinforced.  Obviously from what I have seen lately, and what I have been told by other professionals, time to say it again!

Here are some dos and don'ts for both men and women based on what I have seen lately.


LADIES in OPERA
1.  if the material of your outfit and/or your jewelry makes more noise than you do when you move - do NOT wear it!
2.  NO BALL GOWNS.  NO COSTUMING.  NO BRIDESMAIDS' DRESSES!!!
3.  If you wear it to the club, do NOT wear it to an audition.  Cheap looking clinging material, too short skirts, clear heels...no.
4.  Think business dress to begin to get a sense of expectation
5.  Figure out what your body type is, and find the cuts and shapes that flatter it
6.  Not only do you need to WEAR undergarments, you need to wear the RIGHT ones.  There are great websites that have fabulous spanx-like products.  Find out what you need!  When you wear the right undergarments, the outfit looks more streamlined!  A great bra and other undergarments is a necessary investment.
7.  Figure out what colors look great on you!  Wear them!
8.  WEAR MAKEUP. PLEASE!!!  If you aren't used to wearing makeup, get thee to a makeup counter ASAP and LEARN.  Eyes and lips are crucial.  This does NOT mean drag queen central!  This means a balanced day look with a slight intensity to "pop" the eyes and enhance the lips.  You are trying to communicate aren't you?  Draw us to you!
9. Get your hair off your face.
10.  Wear a heel.  Yes I said it.  Wear a heel you can WALK in.  Kitten heels or 3 inch heels. Make sure you can WALK!
11.  If you are wearing a skirt or dress,  stockings or not?  Who cares as long as your legs look good? If you are bare, moisturize and cover up any bruises or nicks.
12.  Draw the eye UP to yours!  You want to create line and shape, and HEIGHT so we pay attention to what you are singing and not looking at the bruise of your left shin or how short your skirt is, or how dowdy your blouse tucked into your choral skirt looks.
13.  PRACTICE in your outfit, in your shoes, with your lipstick on.

GENTLEMEN!
1.  Grooming - whether you have facial hair or not - make sure everything is trimmed and allows us to see YOU, not what's sticking out!
2.  No tuxes please.
3.  Polish your shoes.  And don't wear sportswear shoes. Dress shoes, loafers, whatever works with the rest of your outfit!
4.  No sports socks.  Dress socks please.
5.  Make sure you check the fit of your pants/jacket (should you option to wear a jacket).  Long enough inseam, long enough arm.  Not too long, not too short, just right...
6.  PRESS/STEAM THOSE CLOTHES.  Nothing looks less professional than a rumpled suit hanging on a man.
7.  Find the colors that look great on you - and WEAR them.
8.  Don't be afraid of texture in clothing
9.  Stay away from over sized patterns or too many patterns.  Nobody needs to get dizzy.
10. Break in your shoes.  Nothing is more awkward than seeing you walk in and try to get comfortable in a pair of shoes that are too new and squeak and pinch!
11.  Moisturize!  Look after your skin AND your lips!
12.  Practice in your outfit and your shoes.
13.  Again, long lines.  Draw the eye UP - to YOU.
14.  Leave the khakis and blue button down at home.  You can do better than that.

How do you behave?  Are you even aware of how you come across?

Stay open, aware, polite.  Often when nerves get to us, we can appear apologetic, bitchy, aloof, or even rude.
Start to truly observe yourself physically when you are nervous and when you practice auditioning.  How are you physically reacting?  How are you responding to the audition panel?  What are you saying?  The audition is not the place to create more angst!!  Do not challenge, do not provoke. (yes I have seen both, and hope it was simply nerves!)  Stay present.  Listen.  Breathe.  If you do not understand, as politely for clarification.

Please and thank you, and a smile and a true glimpse of your personality goes a long way.  Give yourself permission to be PREPARED not just in your repertoire, but in your packaging and behavior.  That panel remembers...and talks.

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

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