What do I DO?  What do I NOT do?
Sunday musings...

After many years doing auditions in multiple genres,  speaking to many casting directors,  directors, producers,  working with singers/actors to prepare for auditions,  I feel I can address these questions.

We would hope so much of this is common sense, however, since the dawn of the American Idol mentality,  people show up at auditions who truly aren't prepared,  and frankly, have no business at the audition.  Period.  Yes, I said it.

What do you DO in the room?

Are you studying your craft?

Do you have an audition book that is well marked,  with music cuts that are chosen because they show what you DO well?  Are your cuts in the right KEY? 

Do you have your resume and head shot in HARD COPY stapled back to back in case the team at the table needs it?

Are you dressed appropriately?  Do you know what appropriately is?

Have you chosen your cuts to show specifically what evokes the show/style/character you are wanting to be considered for?

If you do not know what you want to evoke or what you want to reveal in the room,  then think again.  If you are confused or ambivalent so will the team.  YOU control that room.  Make your decisions clear and firm and commit to them!

I would think all of these are common sense, but alas, they are not.  I have seen and heard about people walking into an audition without music,  without a head shot,  not dressed properly,  not prepared vocally or musically,  not, not, not...


You have so much information at your fingertips.  Literally.  Why are you not making the best of any opportunity you have?

I know many of you are - but come on the rest of you!!!

What does the genre of your audition require???? Be it opera or music theatre or straight theatre or cabaret - know what that requires.  Period.  And do it.  Period.

So what NOT to do?

Do NOT apologize.  Ever.

If you know enough to apologize for it,  then you know enough to have fixed it prior to the audition.

"I am so sorry I forgot the music"

"I am so sorry I forgot my resume/head shot"

"I am so sorry I am so sick" cough cough cough.

"I am so sorry I am not what you are looking"


Not apologizing doesn't mean you give attitude.  Know what you are there to do;  DO IT. 

If you are too sick to sing, don't go to the audition.

If you are not prepared to audition, don't go to the audition.

If you don't have your materials and they are needed,  get thee to a Kinko's and print them off!

Yes, you can say "my apologizes - I have somehow misplaced my head shot, may I print it off and drop it by after I sing for you?"

Wait for the answer.  Accept the answer.  Don't keep apologizing!!

If you are sick,  but not sick enough to cancel,  it's okay to say "I'm dealing with a slight cold, but I didn't want to cancel at the last minute."

You don't have to keep coughing or going on and on about it. 

Ongoing apology in the room sounds like excuses.  If you look like the singer that is always full of excuses, nobody wants to work with that.  Suck it up princess.  If you are there, just do your best. 

If you don't think you are good enough,  that will read in the room.

If you are auditioning for the wrong character, with the wrong material,  you shouldn't be.  Learn how to discern.  Learn how to see yourself objectively.  Learn what you actually DO well, and do it.  Don't do what you would like to do well.  Do what you DO.  RIGHT NOW.

Know what you want to reveal in the room and simply reveal THAT.  Nothing more nothing less.  Leave the baggage at the door.

Don't try to stay in the room longer than the team wants you there.  Trying to chat or ask questions, if not instigated by the team in the room,  is not your place.

Do your work,  be gracious,  be professional,  be respectful of the TIME (yours AND theirs),  be respectful of the PROCESS.  It is yours after all!

Do not make excuses.  Do not blame the pianist,  or the acoustics in the room,  or the size of the room,  or the CD texting on his/her phone,  or that it was 10 a.m. and not 2 p.m.,  or that you didn't get enough sleep,  or didn't have enough coffee.  Nobody cares.  Yes,  bad acoustics can suck;  learn how to sing well to find your physical acoustic.  Yes, some members of the team look like they aren't paying attention: trust me, they are.  Yes, sometimes we have to sing at times of day we aren't happy with.  Big deal.  That's the gig.  Sleep? Coffee? Up to you.

Do not try to be too familiar with the team.  Even if you know them,  or have sung for them a million times.  This is still a professional situation.  You aren't out for drinks or coffee.  Again,  respect for the process is key.  You are there to AUDITION not to apologize, to visit, to be buddies.

Use your common sense.  Find out what you need to do,  and what you don't.  If you don't know, ASK!  Use all the resources that surround you. 

Embrace the process, and show yourself in the best possible light,  no matter the details.  If you are prepared,  the "do nots" are simply not relevant.  The "dos" will be there, because you have worked for them.

Audition with purpose,  not with apology!

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

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