With auditions for Annie coming up in September, and then Mamma Mia in January, now is the time to make a serious beginning to preparations in order to win the audition! If you are a follower of this blog, three weeks ago in a blog titled “Mistakes and the Art of Perfection” I mentioned a mantra that has always helped me get to the best of my abilities: “It is a question of time, patience and intelligent work”. For auditions, all three do apply, but I truly believe, based on personal experience, that intelligent work will help you win that audition.
No matter if you are an actor, singer, magician…if you perform on the stage, you need to prepare for that big break. I doubt I even need to say it, but DAILY practice is imperative and obviously the number one thing to do in order to be prepared. Even if you have been called a genius or prodigy, no amount of talent can be ridden on forever. One must practice, and practice every day.
So, now that you are practicing every day, this is where intelligent work comes in for audition preparation. First, dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s”. As you practice, don’t just go through the motions. For example when you are practicing scales, if you make a mistake, CORRECT it. Then make sure to do it CORRECTLY at least three times IN A ROW. It is human nature to skimp especially if scales (long tones, posture techniques, etc…) bore you, but scales are essential to flawless technique for the musician. Few people have won auditions without flawless technique. (Now, I feel obligated to say that MANY people have won auditions which were not flawless. Keep in mind that mistakes are human and an audition committee can tell if the musician/actor has a solid technique and when it was just a flub. But, by having flawless technique, mistakes are less likely to happen.)
Secondly, we live in a world of technology – USE IT to your advantage. Record and video tape EVERY practice session (and performance, if you can). The next day, go through it and pick it apart. How was your pitch? Your rhythm? Your tempos? Pick just a couple of issues that you think are most important and need the most work, and then write them down. During your practice session, focus only on those things. Make sure you record/video your practice session, but don’t listen to/watch it today, wait for tomorrow’s practice session. (Most serious athletes do this daily, too).
Next, do your research! Get multiple recordings and read everything you can find on the role or piece you are working on. You don’t have to re-invent any wheel for an audition, so allow people who have gone before to give you direction. Listen to three different performers for each piece, if you can find that many. Pick and choose what you like and try to emulate them.
Finally, meditate. I will be the first to say traditional meditation is tough. However, this “meditation” is about visualizing. If you are going for the Annie lead role, you don’t have to sing “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” song 500 times a day – you would blow your vocal chords. Sing it silently in your head. Close your eyes and hear it from start to finish in your own voice. Do this MORE than you physically practice and you will find your preparation goes faster than you ever thought possible.