General Tips for Auditions

Preparation
  • Make sure you have a karaoke track.  If you can’t find one for the song you want to sing consider picking another song.
  • Label your CD with your name and track number (Best if its #1) or have the song already pulled up and ready to play if using a device/phone/mp3.
  • Preparation and practice is essential.  Directors CAN tell when your audition was selected at the last minute.
  • Rehearse your audition to the point the movements/choices are very natural and easy for you.
  • Make sure you learn all the words and the notes of the song.
  • Practice in front of a mirror so you can see your facial expressions.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask former directors, teachers, voice teachers or other/older students for tips or suggestions.  This is a great resource for you.
Performing
  • Show your personality.
  • Be confident.
  • Sing out.
  • Use the whole audition space, move around.
  • Use your eyes.  This means thinking about the words you are singing and reflecting those emotions.  If you connect with your material, directors can see it in your eyes.
  • Become a character – become the person who is singing your song.
  • If you are a dancer, try to add some dance in your audition.
  • A strong, confident introduction will get you off to a great start.
Misc. Tips
  • If you mess up or forget words, keep going.  Shake it off.  Persevere; Directors will respect your ability to pull yourself through.
  • Be respectful of those around you.  This includes people running the CD player, directors, ACs, adults processing your forms, and other auditioners.  Directors see all of this.
  • Pay attention to the other auditions in your group, and take note of ones you enjoy.  What makes them great?  Learn from others!
  • Directors know you are nervous.  That’s OK!  Even directors get nervous when they audition.  Just breathe, focus and have FUN!
Some General Don’ts
  • Don’t put your hands in your pockets or fidget with closing, etc.
  • Don’t throw anything.
  • Don’t rock back in forth.
  • Generally, handing things to the directors or going right up to the table isn't a great idea.
  • Don’t show on your face if you think you didn't do your best or were perfect or messed up a lyric or movement...keep smiling and be confident.
  • Don’t be surprised if you get cut off by clapping from the directors after 1 minute.  Directors have a lot to hear in an evening!
  • Don’t expect to be cast if you have a performance confice and/or a ton of rehearsal conflicts.
  • Don’t worry if someone in your audition group is doing the same song as you.

Tips for Seasoned Students

Song Selection
  • Select your song and practice.  Just because you are older or more experienced doesn’t mean you don’t need to practice!  Directors can tell!
  • Your song selection is important.  BE CREATIVE with it.
  • Your audition should show us what characters in the show you could portray best.
  • NO ACAPELLA SONGS!
  • Make sure your song is in the right key for you.  Auditions are NOT the time to stretch out of your range.  On the other hand, show off your range!  If you’re a soprano, show what you CAN do!
  • Be careful of choosing songs that require you to sing through your “break”.
  • Be careful about choosing a pop song, including songs from pop-musicals.  They can be extraordinarily difficult to pull off well in an audition, especially when you're nervous. 
Preparation
  • Your audition is NOT just a gateway to callbacks.
  • Rehearse and mark your breaths.  Support your breathing from your diaphragm.
  • Staging and movements should be planned.  Don’t rely on yourself to just wing it.
  • If you decide you need live accompaniment, find someone ahead of time and practice with them.  Don’t make someone sight-read your music.
Performing
  • Focus on phrasing and dynamics.  These will make your song stand out.
  • Project.  Think "focus" - in other words, let the sound resonate through the bridge of the nose and cheek bones.
  • Clearly enunciate your words (ie. consonants - esp. the beginning and ending).  Also, "sing to the vowel"; keep the vowels free and open.
  • Generally, don’t add ornamentation to the song even though you think you sound good when you do it.
  • Be careful about belting - DON'T OVERSING!
Misc
  • Use your strengths!  Don’t try to be/sing something that you are not.  Be realistic about your abilities.
  • Don't limit yourself by "going for" one role.  Directors can often see things you didnt' even know you did well!
Callbacks
  • Get some sleep!  The callback list will be the same whether you see it at 3am or 7am.
  • Strong, creative choices are essential.
  • The directors are there to help you do your best - so feel free to ask questions and clarify directions or what they are looking for.
  • Give your best at every role you are called back for - not just the one you “want”.  Every opportunity is important.
  • Be flexible with your role expectations.
  • The number of times you read or sing is really no indication of casting thoughts.  Sometimes directors need to see some people more than others.
  • Don’t give up!  The day is long; don’t let yourself get discouraged by how you feel you are performing or how others are doing.
  • Try!  Do your best!  Have fun with the material!  It's an opportunity to perform!
  • You are auditioning from the moment you walk into callbacks.  Be respectful, helpful, courteous.  This goes a long way.
  • Often the directors will give you a description of the song, character or scene.  Listen - this is essential information for you.
  • Have fun with the material and the characters!
Be yourself!  If you are called back for a role, there is something in your personality or performance that is in common with the character.  So, be natural.

Singing Do's and Don'ts

Do’s...
  1. Respect your own voice by knowing how to care for it.
  2. Warm up before singing or extensive talking.
  3. "Mark" vocal rehearsal when possible.
  4. Keep your throat area warm when rehearsing in cold, damp conditions.
  5. Prepare for physical conditions, such as exhaustion, dancing while singing, or doing a character voice, by taking sufficient breaks.
  6. Use good posture and breathing even when choreographed or posturing an “old” character.
  7. Sing lightly when beginning a rehearsal and never “push” until fully warmed up.

Don’ts...
  1. Scream/yell unless absolutely necessary.
  2. Drink cold liquids before singing.
  3. Use lemon or lemon products or milk/dairy products before singing.
  4. Sing for long hours in the cold night air.
  5. Use throat sprays to numb throat pain--a sore throat needs to rest.
  6. Sing for extended time in a range too high or too low.
  7. Speak over the hum of a vehicle, air conditioner, crowded room, etc., for an extended time.
 

Where to Find Songs:

  • iTunes- Visit apple.com to download iTunes.  When you search, use “karaoke + broadway” or “karaoke + show”.  You can also search by song name, and do try to find the track without vocals on it.
  • www.pocketsongs.com - This is a great site.  Lots of choices.  Make sure you order ahead of time.
  • www.sheetmusicdirect.com .  Lots of sheet music.
  • www.hamienet.com – A track download service.  Most are free.
  • www.hitkaraoke.com - Lots of selection, but you need to order CD's ahead of time.
  • Ask a CYT teacher, director, graduate, or older CYT student if they may have what you need, or have a way to find it for you!  CYT is a great community of many who are totally willing to help and advice!

Skill-Specific Tips

Dance
  • This is not the time to talk with friends - pay attention!
  • Even if you can’t do a move perfectly - just try it!
  • Help each other out.
  • If you are asked to “free dance”, you can use choreography that you learned in the past or just listen and feel the music in that section and be creative.
  • Do your best - be confident.
  • Facial expressions are important. Remember to smile!

Voice
  • If possible, listen to the music ahead of time.
  • Don’t worry if you mess up - try your best and keep going!
  • Even if you don’t think you can sing something - go ahead and try.
  • Focus on breathing and articulation.
  • Don’t get deflated if you crack on a note or miss something.  One note is not going to make or break you.
  • Try to show character and acting with the song you are singing.
  • Try to think about the words you are singing and connect to the emotion of the song.
  • Relax and remember the fundamentals of good vocal technique.
  • Be confident.

Drama
  • Strong, creative choices are essential.
  • As soon as you are given a script or sides, start reading over the scenes with the character for which you are called back.  Find what the most important part of the scene is.  What does your character want out of the scene?
  • Physicality, vocal inflection, facial expressions and non-verbals are important parts of your callback.
  • Make the interpretation of the role your own.  You don’t need to do it the same way as the person in front of you did it.
  • Don’t worry about stage directions or how you think a scene should be blocked.  But add movement and follow the natural movements of the scene.
  • Relate to the person with whom you are doing a scene.
  • Follow along in your script with your thumb. This will help you keep your place.
  • Utilize every opportunity presented.  For example, if you are asked to read in a scene a different part (even one that is the opposite sex of you) - go for it!  You never know when the directors will see something that gives them an idea for casting.
  • Don’t try to “act” – let the natural emotions and reactions of the scene unfold.
  • Feel free to ask questions.
  • If you are called up first - it's ok to take a moment to skim the scene.
  • Try to look up from your script.  Read your next line as the other person is finishing their line.
  • Don’t play to the directors.  Play the scene.
  • If you are doing a scene with a partner that is struggling -  don’t get frustrated.  Help them by delivering a strong performance yourself.
  • Take risks - the bigger the better!
  • If the role requires an accent, take your best stab at doing it.
  • Be engaged in the scene the whole time - not just when you are saying a line.

Conquering Cold Readings

  • Ask questions!

    It’s okay to ask the Director about the scene, the character, and what the show is about. If you ask, make sure you listen, and do what the Director says.
  • Ask if it is okay to read through the scene before you do your cold reading

    Especially if you are going first! Remember the Director wants you to do your best!
  • Take chances!

    Do your reading differently than others. Cry when everyone else laughs. Be loud when everyone is soft. Be different. That shows the Director you can relate emotionally to the character. Never just read the words!
  • You are always performing during a scene.

    Acting is so much more than saying lines. Anytime you are in a scene, make sure you are still acting, reacting and relating to dialog.
  • Take your time.

    Most people rush through a cold reading because they want to make sure that the Director thinks they can read well. The Director really wants to know if you can act well. So take your time and let the lines do their job. Make sure you understand the words you are saying. Feel free to add pauses and breaks in your lines.
  • Try to use the space.

    Don’t worry about following the written blocking, but if you can move around the space, it will help your scene come alive. A good tip is to follow what your natural inclinations are. If you feel like you should do something - do it!
  • Relate to others in the scene.

    Try to make eye contact and interact with the others in the scene you are reading.
  • Be yourself!

    You possess unique qualities that if accented can make a fantastic character. Don’t stereotype a character, try to extend your person and take from what you know.
  • Be the instrument through which the words flow

    The words of the script should be your guide for how you say your lines. Let the words tell you who you are.
  • Don’t get caught up with a hard word.

    If you don’t know a word, or have a reading difficulty, just take your best guess at it or ask the Director to clarify how to say that word.  Directors would rather see you stay in character than pronounce a word perfectly.
  • Find the climax.

    There is a climax in every scene. It might be a minor one, but find it and then make sure you work the scene toward hitting the climax with some kind of force. Pull this off and the Director will be impressed!

Vocal Callback Tips:

  1. If you don’t read music, don’t panic. Try to follow the words and remember that if the notes go higher or lower on the staff - they go higher or lower in pitch.
  2. Focus on breathing correctly.
  3. Diction and articulation are important.
  4. Don’t stress if you hit a wrong note. Keep smiling!
  5. Don’t get overwhelmed by others around you. Do YOUR best!
  6. Try to use facial expressions and emotion even while singing. Show who the character is and what they are feeling.
  7. If the show is available - try to listen to the music ahead of time to be prepared for callbacks.
  8. Don’t push your voice too hard.