Auditioning for the musical theater is an art form in itself. It takes careful preparation weeks ahead of an audition usually. Most performers always have a book filled with old songs and audition pieces that can be utilized at a moments notice. Now for many the task of creating a book is challenging, and once you obtain your audition pieces how will you practice them. Today we are going to give a few pieces of advice that will help you with all your music woes.
1. What Pieces Do I Use?
This is a loaded question with more than one answer to say the very least. Everyone is different and therefore your book will reflect who you are and the talents you possess. If you find yourself in a starting from scratch situation, there are a few ways you can begin your search for new audition material.
The first thing anyone should do when learning what pieces work for them is to determine your limitations. That means finding out your range and the type most people view your performing style to be. An excellent way to go about learning these things is to ask a music or theatre teacher for help, or even friends with experience in the arts. Now if that is not possible for you, then you can always find a local voice teacher who will help you determine all of these things, and will specialize their teaching for you.
Your range is essential for a multitude of reasons. Mainly it will help narrow your song selection to pieces that are comfortable to sing in your voice. Many people split vocal ranges into a few primary groups, and musical theatre is no different. These groups are in order from lowest to highest Base, Baritone, Tenor, Alto, Mezzo, and Soprano. These are again broad categories, and not everyone will fit nicely into one or the other. Using myself, for example, I am a Baritone, but my range extends actively into a low Base, and low tenor. Now many women will be somewhere amongMusic Notes the Alto-Soprano range while men will be in the Base-Tenor range. Determining your range is vital for finding out what pieces you can sing which affects the roles you will be able to play as well. Any vocal coach or choir teacher should be able to test your range for you quickly and accurately.
Once you have determined your range, you can move on and find your type. Your type will be the roles that you can play comfortably, these types range from ingenue to the leading man type. Now a good way to determine this is to ask others what roles they may cast you in. This will help you learn how casting directors will see you when you walk in for auditions. Types do not define you though, and you will break them from time to time, but for now, your type is a good starting point. Once you discover your type and the vocal range you can sing then it’s time to move on to find pieces.
2. Listening to Musicals
It may seem obvious but one of the best ways to find new pieces for your book is by listening to musicals. Now, this doesn’t mean that it is time to throw on your Wicked Original Cast Recording for the hundredth replay. Instead, it’s time to find new pieces in the older selections of musical theaters libraries.
Broadway has a long list of “forgotten” or “overlooked” shows that have lovely scores. These are goldmines for any performer looking to go out of the traditional songbook, so many people select from. Directors have heard Defying Gravity from any girl who thinks she can belt her face off, and will almost always write you off for an unoriginal song selection. However, the person who walks in their singing their hearts out with Shy from Once Upon a Mattress will stand out from the crowd a little more.
In this day and age, it is the easiest its ever been to acquire and listen to old cast recordings. You can find many of them uploaded onto Spotify, Apple Music, and if all else fails YouTube.
3. Sheet Music & Practice
Now that you have listened and found your pieces it’s time to acquire a physical copy of the sheet music for them. One of the best places to secure sheet music is on Music Notes. This website is home to vast libraries of sheet music including musical theatre all available for reasonable prices. You pay for each copy however and therefore only get one print per license that you buy. You can always access this sheet music though on their mobile app and website in your own personal library. The online sheet music also allows you to listen to the song played through at any tempo and with select parts. Perfect for anyone who needs a little practice.
If your music cannot be found on Music Notes, you can always check elsewhere on the internet, and if all else fails try to buy the libretto or score. If you must purchase a physical score of the show, then you are going to need to find a piano player to practice your selections.
If you’ve followed thes steps than you will be on your way to creating your own musical theatre audition book. Please follow and subscribe for even more articles and updates.