Because I have been off pursuing my MFA, I haven’t been focusing on my performing career for a little while. Lately, though, I have been going to more auditions and callbacks, preparing myself for life outside of school. You would think that the hardest thing to acclimate myself with would be the rejection and the self-doubt, but for me, it is the prep that goes into the audition day. Here are some lessons I’ve learned and tactics that help me set myself up for the best audition possible.
1. Be Mindful of Mindset
I always say, “If you don’t want to do the audition, don’t do it.” You can’t possibly expect to be successful if you don’t have the desire and drive behind it. Take the morning (before crawling out of bed, while brushing your teeth, during the commute) to meditate. Focus on a mantra, like: “I am enough,” “I am an athlete,” “This day doesn’t define me,” or “I will do my best.” Prepare yourself for a focused warm up. Clear you mind of other clutter, so you can concentrate on your job – the audition.
2. Do a Physical Warm Up
Whether you are doing a dance call, vocal call or an acting call, a physical warm up is key. I always start an audition day with some calisthenics, or at least some crunches. This gets the blood moving, engages your core, and, like Elle Woods reminds us, releases endorphins. If you have time, try to stretch the body by doing some yoga poses. Since I have been doing a lot of vocal auditions lately, it has been important for me to release my neck and jaw tension. I have certain stretches I do starting from the time I wake up until right before going into the audition room. By making sure you are relaxed, you allow the voice to perform unhindered and sound even more natural. If you are a dancer, I assume you already have a warm up in place. What I can offer, though, is a reminder: don’t forget your squats! While stretching is important in order to show off flexibility, at the end of the day, strength is just as crucial. In addition to doing some pliés, use the chairs in the waiting room to be support for your good old-fashioned squats.
3. Do Your Vocal Warm Up (Even in Public!)
Warming up in a waiting room is tough, but can be done. No one likes the annoying person who talks the whole time they are waiting, but there is some merit to participating in a bit of small talk before an audition. Speaking a little higher than your normal voice, or in a “princess voice,” will help get the nasal resonance or “buzz” moving while also tapping into your upper register. If you are lucky enough to drive to the audition, after meditating, take some time to figure out if anything in your voice feels stuck or unfocused, and work slowly to get everything flowing freely. If you are taking public transit, try humming your normal vocal warm up while thinking about the vowels and space you would use if you could really let it fly. Vocal sirens and sighs work well while a subway train is going past or while crossing the street outside. You might get a few stares, but you won’t be disturbing anyone. Above all: breathe! Breath is essential for allowing good sound to happen – make sure you are engaged and not holding your breath before entering the audition room.
4. Mind Your Mindset (Again)
In the 30 seconds before walking into the audition room, focus on your mantra. Remind yourself that THIS is your job (if you are very type A like me), OR think about how lucky you are to get the opportunity to sing today and share it with this group of people. This is yourparty that you are hosting – invite the team to your party! Basically, make sure that you are emotionally ready to begin the audition before ever setting foot into the room.
With a strong set-up, you can expect a strong finish. Prepare yourself in a way that will allow you to be successful.