We talk a lot about what makes up a quality college audition. But – want to know a sure fire way to not ace your college audition? Here are our top five no-nos:
1.) Snap/Glare at your pianist
Be kind! They are playing your music. Be friendly without being suffocating. Sing them a bit of your song instead of snapping at them to give tempo.
2.) Use your auditor as your scene partner
Do not direct your monologue at the person auditioning you! Make sure to pick a spot above or to the side of them. Only if you are specifically instructed to do so by the auditor never, ever force the auditor to be your scene partner. They want to enjoy your performance, not feel like they have to be a part of it.
3.) Have no idea what your song/monologue is about
Read the play! Know the musical! You must be well versed on your character and what he/she wants from the person they are singing/talking to.
4.) Present inappropriate material
Make sure the character is your age and is dealing with an obstacle that you can easily relate to or have experienced yourself. Screaming, swearing and presenting especially dark material is never a good idea for your college audition.
5.) Don’t follow directions
This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind when preparing for your college audition: follow directions! If a school asks for a one-minute contemporary monologue, do not present a two-minute classical. Make sure your music is clearly marked with tempo, stop and starts and what you want them to play.
Looking for the perfect gift or stocking stuffer this holiday season for your MT/Acting student/friend/teacher? Here are MCA's top five suggestions for anyone you love in the performing arts!
If you want to be well informed in this industry you must be well read! I love to randomly order plays from The Drama Book Shop with characters similar in age of myself that I know nothing about. I have found some of my dream roles this way. Also, I was able to find some stellar, not overdone monologue material! Does your daughter perform a monologue from a play she adores? Order 5 more from the same playwright and I guarantee she'll find more! Plus, you'll be supporting someone who inspires you - and that's always good.
2.) Tickets to a show
While getting tickets to a Broadway production is always fun - you should also be checking out what is playing regionally in your town! Or better yet, go check out a professional theatre that is in the town of your dream college. What a cool way to get acquainted with the area and maybe you'll even spot a current student from your dream school in the playbill! Examples: Want to go to Hartt for Musical Theatre? Then go check out the Goodspeed Opera House or The Hartford Stage - I bet you'll spot some current students/alums up on the stage! Want to go to Syracuse for Acting? Get tickets to Syracuse Stage!
3.) Tote Bag
Every performer needs a durable tote bag to carry around to audition to audition! Here are some suggestions on where to grab high-quality bags: Timbuk2, Ben the Actor Tote Bag and the Gary Oldman Tote Bag.
4.) Resource Books
Being informed in the college audition process all the way to landing your first agent is crucial. Here are some suggestions for students/adults at every stage:
Tackling the College Audition Journey: Before the College Audition by Chelsea Diehl (yes, this is our book, and yes, we do think every kid should have this in their hands before college auditions!) Learn how to make a performing arts college list with the appropriate amount of Reaches, Middles and Safeties and gain invaluable insight from department head interviews.
Auditioning Insight: Audition by Michael Shurtleff - just trust us. Every actor should read this book. I've heard many people say (me included!) that this book played a significant role in how they view and tackle auditions.
Breaking into the professional business: Confessions of a Casting Director: Help Actors Land Any Role with Secrets from Inside the Audition Room by Jen Rudin - she is a prominent casting director and knows her stuff. Always good to gain insight from power players in the industry.
5.) Shakespearean Lip Balm Set
Because why wouldn't you want this? To be chapped or not to be chapped, that is the question.
- Coach Chelsea Diehl
One of the most difficult cuts to make for your college audition will probably be your 16 Bar
cut. The 16 bar cut is challenging because there’s a lot of ground to cover in a short period of
time. The selection needs to be compelling, musical, and also have a strong ‘want.’
Here are several important points to remember for every 16 bar cut.
1. It MUST have a beginning, middle, and end. Your 16 bar cut must have a narrative arc
or journey, no matter how brief. I need to have some exposition, a middle section, and
then a period. Here’s something to remember: if I get that whole narrative in 12 bars,
that’s also okay. If you can take me on the journey of the character, it doesn’t have to be
a RIGID 16 bars. Several of you have great 12 bar cuts and that is super!
2. Key: There is NO reason in today’s day and age to sing in a bad key, especially for a
16 bar cut. Work with your song coach to find a key that is appropriate and that sits in
your voice well. You don’t want a song that flips back and forth between head and chest
voice. Make sure the song is seamless.
3. The cut MUST have a strong ‘want.’ This means that there has to be a compelling need
from the character singing the song that drives the acting objectives. Remember you
won’t have much time to sing, so make sure you fully understand your objectives!
4. The cut must have a strong musical structure. There should be a strong sense of ABA
or some other kind of sectioning of the music. This will help not only for your acting
objectives, it will also help give you more diversity of music as well.
5. The cut must not be overly repetitive. Make sure that the music isn’t overly static. We
don’t want something so short to be musically repetitive.
6. Make sure you have a superbly strong START to the piece. AVOID complicated songs
and piano parts that could throw you off your game. Know if you need a bell tone, or a
short introduction (usually 1-2 bars). You should be able to launch into this song with
7. Make sure the music is totally clean. The pianist doesn’t care about your interpretive
notes, so be sure that any markings you have in the score are JUST for the pianist.
8. A 16 bar cut is a MICRO-CUT, so make sure that there aren’t any strange or demanding
vocal skills that you can’t do ‘on cue.’ If you can’t roll out of bed and belt the high note,
chances are it shouldn’t be in your 16 bar cut. Remember, you’ll be nervous, and this cut
is going to FLY BY. There should be no vocal hiccups or flaws in such a short song. If
that means you simplify, by all means, DO IT!
- Coach Justin (Vocal/Song Coach)
Thoughts from our Pace Masterclass
with Amy Rogers, Director of the BFA Musical Theater Program at Pace University
Sunday, we got the pleasure of working with head of the Musical Theatre Department at Pace University in New York City, Amy Rogers. Her incites into the world of performing a song and auditioning for musical theatre were fantastic. Thank you, Amy!
Here are some things I wrote down from what was said in the room, what I imagined, and what I saw...
There are big ideas, big lessons, big concepts--don't try to understand or do all of them at once. Just focus on one or two at a time that really speak to you (or the ones you think you are struggling with most).
Happy Rehearsing and Auditioning, All!
- Nick Sulfaro, Acting for the Song coach, My College Audition
1. Sing to someone who matters. Especially with a "story song," it's never about singing a story; it's about living through it. You're saying it for a reason. Now. Here. If the story happened in the past, it is also happening NOW. For us.
2. Moments between. They're real. They're important. They're there for a reason. They get you from one moment to the next. Use them to get from here to there. And likewise...
3. Play EACH moment. Lyric by lyric. Breath by breath. The moment before is not the moment that's happening know. What you feel or say at the end of the song is not what the whole song is about/not what you're saying right now. (This is especially important with figuring out a pop song). So...
4. Breathe with each line/thought. Don't breathe in the middle of a melodic line or lyric (unless written that way, because of a rest in the music, for final emphasis of an idea/theme, if your vocal coach told you to, etc.). When you do this, it breaks up everything. Honor the punctuation (especially with Shakespeare and Sondheim). It means something. It's there for a reason. USE it!
5. Feeling stuck or bound up by the seeming constraints of a "soliloquy"? Try singing to your reflection? In mirror at the gym? Try being alone, but quite literally with and in conversation with yourself. Now, you have the freedom to do anything! (*Could even be useful just as an exercise!) But remember, you are ALWAYS talking to SOMEONE. ALWAYS. Always be in conversation, even if there is no literal 'conversation' occurring. There's always a conversation happening.
6. Find that sparkle in the eyes!! You have to actually be seeing something. Where are you? We (the "audience"/adjudicator) HAVE to see what you see. If you don't see it, we don't see it. (*Need some help with this? Try keeping an imagine journal/diary. Draw them, paste images from a magazine, describe through your own words or poetry, whatever you are singing--figuratively, sure; but even more importantly, literally what are you looking at).
7. Be wary of singing songs where the character is self-deprecatory or spends the whole song admitting faults: They can be great, but are difficult to "sell" as it may send across the wrong message about who YOU are and how you feel about yourself (the actor) and your abilities. Should definitely be careful about doing two of these songs as "contrasting pieces." Better to pair with another piece that is strong, confident, and more obviously "active." AND even then, dare to do one?! Great! Find why 'you' (they, the character) are doing this, and let that feed an active way of communicating to the other person that isn't just the verb of "admitting" or "revealing"--playing that sort of action for a whole song NEVER works.
8. Get in your body! Use the space! (The literal space: how big is the room you're in? And the imaginary space of the world your create for yourself within the context of the piece). Musical theatre is ecstatic!! You use your body and voice to say words, sing melodies, and dance. It's bigger than ANYTHING. It's total FULLNESS! When you sing a song, it's because there's nothing left to say. It has to be bigger than just saying something. (*Remember, it's not about BEing big; it's about FEELing big. It's about daring to make whatever you're saying/doing THAT important/THAT scary to try to achieve). (**Try: gesturing once on every lyric/with each breath. Big gestures, that use the space all around you: below, beside, behind, above. You'll probably feel crazy and it may end up being way too much, but you'll feel different and you may even find a few things you like and want to keep).
9. Do the obvious. If you're singing about looking at a tree in sunlight, look at the tree in the sunlight. True, there is a fine line between doing the obvious or indicating. But if you don't do what you say/what is in the text of the piece, to the adjudicator it looks like maybe you don't know what you're saying. So, put that tree somewhere in space, and really see it!
10. Can't just stand there. Don't stare at one point. It's life. We move around and look at different things constantly. Doesn't mean that there is not incredible power in stillness--there is. But don't be doing nothing. You have to be DOing something. And you have to do it with your WHOLE self: eyes, body, arms, heart, mind, mouth, voice, ears, fingertips, toes; EVERYTHING.)
11. "Not looking like everyone else" / How to set yourself apart: This just means don't dress in a certain way because we tell you to or because you think you're "supposed" to--you need to be dressed appropriately, so take what we say into account. But you don't want to look like everyone else; it's not helpful to you or "me" (the person trying to figure out who you are/what you're like/what you have to offer). What makes you YOU? Show THAT to me. That is why I will want you--for what is uniquely and authentically YOU. (This can be scary to do sometimes, but it will help you in the end; and actually, it feels great!).
12. Use personal circumstances that work! Don't stretch or reach too far. Don't over-complicate or intellectualize. Use something tangible/real. Not an idea of something. Don't talk about emotions. Talk about what you're DOING and what you NEED (and what you need the other person to DO to you/for you right NOW in this moment HERE).
13. Know your task! And Do it! GET what you want! Demand that it happens for you! Be totally, unapologetically ruthless and fearless about wanting something and having it for yourself.
14. Never say "sorry"! (Unless you truly do something rude or offensive, which should never happen anyway... Right?). Own it! Whatever it is you did (or you think you did), own it. Be confident! MY STAKES. MY VERSION/STORY/CIRCUMSTANCE. Defend it to the death!!
15. Try creating a "mantra." ('[This] is what I want. [This] is want.' 'I need you to DO [this]. I NEED you to DO [this]!' For example, "Help me! Help me!" or "If you don't kiss me, I'll die! If you don't kiss me, I'll die!"). It's just another way of phrasing and/or thinking about the active DOing of something to the other person AND what you want from them.
Some Thoughts on TECHNICAL THINGS:
- Awareness of being louder than the accompanist. Where are you? What is the space? Fill it!!! Know where the person/thing is you are speaking to and HIT IT! Imagine your voice is a color and you want to splat the back wall with it. Fill the whole space! (This doesn't mean shouting or belting; don't strain your voice). It's an energetic thing. It means FEELING like you're everywhere in the space. If you don't feel like you're filling it, you probably aren't.
- Can't understand the words you're singing: Never let this be the reason an audition goes poorly. Use clean and clear diction. USE the consonants. (Vowels are the emotions; consonants are how we tell the meaning). If we can't understand the words you're saying, nothing matters.
- No weird vocal scoops or trills! Please! Watch out for these more modern, pop-based vocal habits or 'choices.' Sing cleanly. (On Sondheim, especially! And on most pre-65/Golden age, unless it's for jazz-y effect and regulated by your vocal coach)
- USE the onomatopoetic potential of words: make "screaming" sound like a scream. (Healthily, of course). Dare to go there.
(Some Notes on GOOD VOCAL HEALTH):
- Speak ON your voice. When you're talking, even in the introduction or "interview" phases of things, speak cleanly. Don't whisper or let your voice fall back into that weird grumbly place--don't vocal fry. You should speak like you sing--they're (nearly) the same thing.
- Warm-up! I don't care if it's embarrassing or if your mom asks you not to in the car while she's driving cause she thinks it may cause her to run off the road at 9am. You must find some time somewhere to warm up.
- Try to get out of the habit of clearing your throat. It's potentially damaging to your vocal chords.
- Try drinking warm to room-temperature water. Not cold. It helps to keep your body warm on the inside and out (like how we warm-up our bodies before we dance--it's important with your voice as well). Warm water also helps to break up mucous (and then you don't need to clear your throat as much).
- Sound ugly! Don't be afraid of sounding kind of nasty! That nasally place can be really helpful to a lot of singers in getting more and healthier power, especially in a higher part of your range. Don't sing through your nose--that's too ugly. But there's a place in the front of your face, in the mask, that is not in your throat or mouth--for some people, it's scarier to sing from there, but can be helpful (*at times!).
I did a blog post a few years ago on Overdone College Audition Monologues (check it out here). This year, instead of telling you specific pieces to avoid, I’d like to walk you through what makes up a quality college audition monologue. What topics and genres are favorable and what content might not be appropriate. Specifically, we’ll examine Contemporary Monologues.
First things first, here are the qualities that I look for when selecting pieces for our students:
1. Present Tense. Monologues must be in the present tense. Story-telling monologues or monologues that solely talk about past events are dull and hard for an auditor to connect to. I want to feel like I am a fly on the wall witnessing a conversation between two people.
2. Scene Partner. In your monologue, make sure you are talking to one specific person (or sometimes a group of people). Talking to “yourself” or the “audience” simply does not work in a college audition setting. You should have a clear, defined person that you are speaking with.
3. Super Objective. A Super Objective is something that you ultimately want from the person you are talking to by the end of the monologue. Your character should want something and this desire drives the entire piece. If there is nothing that you are working toward in a monologue, why is your character talking for two minutes straight? If you can’t decipher a clear Super Objective, you may want to consider a different piece.
Here are some monologue topics to consider:
- A monologue that allows your character to specifically need something from the “other” person you are speaking to (i.e. your Scene Partner). Maybe your character is looking for forgiveness from the Scene Partner or they are seeking an apology themselves. It could be as simple as your character needs some affirmation in their choices and they are seeking guidance. You must need and want something from them or else, why are you talking for two minutes?
- One that reveals something about you (you, the actor). I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you are a transfer student at your high school (in real life!) and have had a hard go at making new friends and adjusting to a new environment. I am willing to bet you could find a piece that has the same scenario: Your character is an outcast and is looking for friendship in one of their peers. I’ve already had 4 monologues come to mind while writing this. They are out there! Don’t settle on one that is okay, find one that represents you/your life/your dreams and you connect with. You’ll be happy you did and the auditors will appreciate hearing why you picked the piece you presented.
Here are some topics to avoid:
- Anything that might make the auditor feel uncomfortable (rape, killing someone, harming animals, suicide). It alienates the auditor and makes it extremely difficult to connect with.
- Anything that is over dramatic. We don’t want to see you cry – really. If you happen to get to that place in your piece on a given day, awesome, but you certainly shouldn’t be pulling monologues based on how dramatic you think they are.
- Anything that has no real content. Your character should be changed by the end or have a revelation. Telling a story and delivering a monologue are two completely different things.
- Anything that is a “shtick”. Many students are drawn to comedic monologues that are more a comedy routine than a monologue. You shouldn’t just be telling jokes – there needs to be real content and heart in your piece.
Make sure you pull pieces from published plays. Film/Television monologues are not acceptable (unless, of course, you are auditioning for something like a BFA in Screen Acting). Feel free to piece together a monologue from a scene if you are able to – often pieced together dialogue has more of a story arch and you don’t run the risk of pulling a paragraph from a play that a million other people have as well.
Break legs and happy searching!
- Coach Chelsea
Need helping selecting and preparing the perfect College Audition Monologue? Get in touch with us today! Email: email@example.com
What makes a great audition song?
As I work with students on finding great repertoire for their college auditions, it is apparent that there are some criteria by which song selection can be assisted by knowing what makes a great audition song.
Once you know the particular requirements of the programs that you are auditioning for, you need to consider the following things for a successful audition song:
1. Is it short? Can the song be well excerpted in 16 or 32 bars? Some story songs are just too long to make convincing cuts, and some songs don’t musically ‘cook’ for a while. Avoid songs with a lot of exposition and anything that prevents you from getting into the ‘meat’ of the song right away.
2. Does it grab attention from the outset? Have you found the best cutting to get to the heart of the song without fumbling around? Your cutting shouldn’t include a tremendous piano introduction. Some sources prefer a 4-bar intro and others are okay with a ‘bell tone’. Don’t let the audition panel WAIT to hear you sing - get right into it!
3. Is the song in your vocal range? Sad, but true. Some auditioners have delusions of grandeur about their singing and think their high Cs aren’t screechy (they are), or that their belt voice is huge (it isn’t). Don’t be AFRAID to sing something understated if you want - it will take pressure off your singing if you are nervous, and let you ‘settle’ and make strong acting choices. Last year I gave an MCA student a song from a 70s musical that was totally understated and conservative in range, and she sang the pants off of it! It was a total winner for her because she realized her vocal skills and range and auditioned with a song that played to her ability.
4. Does it show off as many of your talents as possible? If you’re funny, is the song you’ve chosen also funny? If you have a great mix/belt/high voice, does the song show that? If you have a unique vocal quality, does the song take that into account. If you are facile with words, do you have a patter song?
5. Does it provide an acting narrative? When I took a Masterclass with David Chase last summer, he mentioned that having a cutting that features an A/B or B/A format is best because it gives the panel a chance to see how you tell the story in musical form. Does the character in the song take a journey, even if its just 32 bars? Where does the character start and where does the character end? What do they know at the end of the song that they don’t at the beginning. The isn’t just about your voice, it’s also about your acting choices! If the song doesn’t have a moderate ‘arc’ then it’s probably not a good selection.
6. Is it appropriate for you as an actor? If you are a gorgeous tall blonde, please don’t sing songs that say “I’m so ugly” - it will stretch the panel’s credulity. Does the song allow you to communicate a part of yourself to the panel? Can you identify with the character you are singing? If not, then you should pass on the song.
7. Does the song show off your inventiveness and imagination? Sometimes making a daring choice can be fun, depending on your skills. Do you have a ‘take’ on the song that is totally personal and unique to you? Does it show your creativity with the music and lyric? Does it feel spontaneous?
8. Does it OBVIOUSLY contrast with another song in your book? Most college auditions require a pre-65 and contemporary song. As you build your book, make sure that there is enough musical and character contrast in your selections.
9. Does it demonstrate your ability as a musician? Are you able to show a strong sense of musicianship in the song? If there are riffs, are they totally clean? Are faster moving passages swift and flexible? Do you understand the musical structure, key, and tempos that the composer has written?
10. Do you LOVE it? If you don’t love it, any song is really worthless. I have to see the ‘light go on’ in your eyes when you are singing it. It will release all your inhibitions and let you ‘go for it’ from a place of love instead of FEAR. Singing out of fear will constrict your voice as well as your emotions, which we want to hear and see. Sometimes a singer can make a song work if they love it - even if they don’t sing it all that well. They understand the song deeply and know what to do with it. If you like singing it, the panel will like listening to it.
Justin Petersen, MCA Vocal Coach
Okay, first and foremost: don’t think too hard about this! We routinely get phone calls from students and parents after an audition is over claiming that they are positive they either did or didn’t get in. Sure, sometimes you have a killer audition and you leave feeling like it couldn’t have gone any better or sometimes you leave knowing that you cracked on your song and got a bad vibe – in some cases, your gut instinct may be right. But most of the time, trying to decipher what the auditor did or didn’t do in the room is impossible.
Here are some common misconceptions:
I didn’t get an adjustment so I am not getting in.
False! Wrong! Not true! They may have seen exactly what they wanted to see or they may be running short on time. They may be more interested in talking with you then adjusting your material or they’d like to use the 5 minutes they have to ask about some awesome credits on your resume. There are hundreds of reasons why you wouldn’t get an adjustment – many having no bearing on whether or not you get accepted.
I got an adjustment because I did a terrible job the first time through.
Again, so not true! Sometimes an auditor can tell that you are nervous or are a bit jittery, in that case, sure, maybe they will give you an adjustment to loosen you up a bit – but that doesn’t mean you did a terrible job. Many times, it’s awesome if you get an adjustment! It gives the auditor a chance to see how well you take direction, how open you are to feedback and how well you can apply a note. It’s a chance for them to work one on one with you and get to know a bit about what type of student you would potentially be for the next four years.
They didn’t ask me any questions and I felt like they didn’t “like” me.
Some auditors may give off a more stern or professional vibe to try to treat all the students auditioning equally. This eliminates students leaving feeling like they “nailed it” or “bombed it” based off of how the auditor reacted. Or, sometimes, that’s simply they way that person is! Auditors are humans after all and some may be more expressive or vocal than others.
I nailed it. My pieces went flawlessly, I got adjustments and they asked questions. I am getting in.
This can be really tough. Maybe you had a connection with the auditor, you bonded over shared interests and they expressed to you how talented they think you are and it left you feeling pretty confident. Having confidence in yourself in this business is crucial, but it’s also smart to keep things in prospective and not get too much ahead of yourself. While there seem to be a million reasons why you would/should get in, there could also be many factors why you aren’t the right fit for their program. Many times when students think they bombed their audition they end up getting in – and unfortunately, the reverse can happen as well.
I didn’t get a callback at a school that gives callbacks.
Okay, not going to lie on this one, that’s probably not a great sign. Most schools outwardly say that if you don’t get a callback, you can safely cross them off of your list. However, there is a small silver lining: there is a small chance that you could be waitlisted or could be considered for a different performing arts degree. So, before you eliminate a school, investigate what options you have if you don’t receive a callback.
In short, keep everything in prospective and don’t beat yourself up over something that may just be in your head. Have fun, remain positive and remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place.
Keep breaking legs everyone!
MCA Holiday Gift Guide for Theatre Lovers
Wondering what to get your theatre lover this holiday season? We here at My College Audition have some savvy ideas for the actor-student! Whether it’s a last-minute stocking stuffer or a big gift from Santa, you’ll find a great gift for your aspiring actor.
Every actor needs a trusty tote to carry around clothes, shoes, scripts, and snacks. Consider a simple tote or a more robust tote that will last for years. Here are a few of my favorites:
For the long-lasting tote, Timbuk2 makes durable, high-quality bags. The Custom Tartine Tote Bag is customizable, so you can get creative with colors and patterns.
Society6 has some incredible designs and many of the designs on the site can be purchased as a tote bag, iPhone case, pillow, and more. The Ben the Actor Tote Bag and the Gary Oldman Tote Bag are fun choices.
Music and Plays
A few years ago, I received several Musical Theatre Anthologies for Christmas and I was in heaven. For new musical theatre, trywww.newmusicaltheatre.com. You can purchase songbooks or sheet music from the hottest new composers and narrow your search easily by searching via artist, vocal range, style, genre, and more. For plays, try sites like www.samuelfrench.com, which also offers an easy way to filter your search to feature a specific gender, genre, and age range.
Spotify Gift Card
This is an amazing last-minute gift for your actor/singer. Spotify is an online music streaming service for your computer or mobile device. It’s a great tool to help your performer create playlists, find new music, and practice for upcoming college auditions. They can redeem Spotify gift cards for ad-free subscriptions.
Whether prepping for college auditions or just keeping up the chops for the next open call, lessons and coaching sessions are a perfect idea. Tap, jazz, ballet, acting, and voice lessons are all good options. You can also contact us at My College Audition for package prices and information to help your teen put their best foot forward for college auditions.
Tickets to a Show
See if there are any national tours coming to a city near you. We recommend Once, Peter and the Starcatcher, and War Horse, but there are so many from which to choose! If you’re not close to a major performing arts center, consider National Theatre Live productions. Some of the best British theatre is now available in cinemas around the world thanks to NTLive. These can sell out just as quickly (if not more so) as live theatre, so see if NTLive is broadcast in a theatre near you!
Rehearsal 2 App
Many actors rely on Rehearsal, an app for iOS devices, to help them memorize scenes, record dialogue, and do scene study. You can upload your scripts and use its many tools to highlight, record, add beat markings, and write notes. Rehearsal 2 is $19.99 in the App store.
The MCA Team
You did it! You got through your monologues and songs! You nailed each piece. You feel awesome. Hooray!
But your audition isn’t over just yet.
You have one more major part of your audition left. Something that can turn a good audition into a great one... THE INTERVIEW!
So many students completely forget about this part of the process. They get so wrapped up in showcasing their talents that they forget to showcase themselves. So here are few things to remember to help your audition stand out even more...
Keep it Simple and Honest
I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. Keep your answers simple and honest. A longer answer doesn’t always equal a better answer. Be straightforward, explain your answer, and trust that they will understand what you are saying.
You don’t need to go on and on about how wonderful the alumni are, or how great the program is. They auditors already know that. Tell them what you really feel and why you feel it. If you like a school because of its study abroad programs, great! If you love the atmosphere that the campus and students provide, awesome! There is no right answer. They want to learn about you. They want to know what makes you tick.
You are interesting. Your answers (as long as they are honest) will be interesting.
It’s very hard to keep every audition fresh and new. By the time this process is over, you will have gone through a lot of auditions. So it’s natural to fall into a rut. Fight it! Fight it with all of your might. No two auditions are the same. Each school is different, with different things to offer. This means, your answers should be different too. Answer each question as specifically as you can.
It’s A Two Way Street
I bet you have been hearing over and over again that you need to make these colleges believe that you are right for their program. And to some extent, that advice is right. There are a lot of students applying for the same 20 or so spots in a program. You do need to stand out and make them remember you.
However, there is something that that advice leaves out. You can’t just show them why you are a good fit for their program. You must also show them why their program is a good fit for you. Your talent and skill set are only part of the deciding factor in being accepted into a program. College programs also have to take into account whether or not they can actually help you grow. While you may be a brilliant actor or singer, your style of learning just might be best suited for their way of teaching.
So remember, when you are answering their questions- don’t just show them why you are right for them… show them why they are right for you.
Just Be You
Understand that the people sitting behind the table have 5 minutes to decide if they want to spend the next 4 years with you. It’s a daunting challenge. So help them out. Don’t show them what you think they want to see. Show them who you are. Be the awesome, quirky, silly, mature, fun loving, outgoing, studious, grounded person you are. If they don’t like it- then trust me- you wouldn’t be happy at that school anyway.
Get a good night’s rest.
Easier said than done, right? Here are some ways to wind down:
· Try to get all of your to-dos crossed off of your list during the early parts of the day
· Don’t drink caffeine before bedtime.
· Stay away from acidic foods during the evening if you’re prone to acid reflux.
· Create a calm environment by turning off the TV, your text messages, and anything else that can distract you.
· Get some exercise during the daytime so your muscles are ready to relax.
Look the part.
Like your headshot, you should look like a well put-together, but comfortable version of yourself.
· Don’t get too dressy. Do you normally wear high heels? If not, you might feel uncomfortable and therefore, you’ll look uncomfortable. A cute flat or kitten-heel might be the way to go. For men, if you’re used to wearing a tie, go for it! But if you feel restricted in it, a nice collared shirt without a tie might be the way to go. As MCA’s founder says, “Dress like you would on a first date.”
· If you wear makeup, make sure it looks natural. Wearing a bit more blush or eye makeup can come in handy if you’re under stage lights, but you don’t want to look made up, you want to look like YOU.
· Show up looking ready to go. Don’t come half ready and then use the bathroom to finish up. Your audition starts the moment you arrive on campus.
Treat your audition day like any other day.
It’s so easy to get nervous and try to make big changes your audition day to give you the edge. Sometimes, those changes can make us more nervous.
· Keep hydrated, but not TOO hydrated. Yes, it is possible to drink too much water. Drink water like you would on normal days.
· Be nice to your parents. They’re nervous too. If you need to get away and focus, let them know you need a little “me time” and find a quiet place.
· Eat something during the day. I always have a meal before I go on stage. Some of my friends can’t stomach a meal before performing, but they always eat something – nuts, veggies, granola, etc. In my experience, not eating enough before a big day can lead to shaky hands – and a shaky voice.
Whether or not you feel like you killed it in the audition room or it was your worst performance ever, remember, you don’t know how the panel felt. You’ve put in a ton of hard work and hard work deserves a reward! A night at the movies? An ice cream sundae? A steak dinner? A new book? You have earned a reward.
My College Audition
16 Bars and Under Two Minutes