#14  Audition Basics

For the young singer, knowing what is expected of you in an audition and presenting yourself well may open the door to an opportunity. 

Being well prepared can make all the difference. Following some guidelines and strategies in preparation and packaging can transform the process from a mystery to a science, and may help you get off to a good start! 

 To begin with, create a simple resume.  This is accomplished best when not under pressure to get out the door to an audition appointment.  If you need some ideas for layout, take a look on line and notice the different formats for resumes. Choose something that is simple and attractive.  Remember that this may be a significant reminder to the directors of who you are later in the day after many other voices have been heard.   


Your name


Telecommunication; phone and e-mail 


Primary Instructors; voice teachers, coaches, acting classes, conductors, directors or dance studios

Performing experience

A photograph/head shot

Plan your appearance.  This is also best done well in advance of an audition. Take a look at your wardrobe. Realize that when you go into an audition, you want to present yourself in a manner that shows your best qualities in an appealing way. Think about what the directors will be focusing on when you’re doing a singing audition.  Ideally you want them to be listening to your voice and noticing your facial expressions and gestures and not be distracted by what you’re wearing.  In preparation, try on a few different outfits, and observe how you look singing in them. Make a mental note of what you thought was the best outfit, and make sure it’s ready for you when you need it.

For young women:

Make sure that your hair doesn’t obscure your eyes. Wear an appropriate amount of makeup to enhance your features, as you’ll likely be singing to directors sitting some distance away.  Plan to wear something that makes your face and hands the expressive focus. Avoid busy prints, exposing too much skin; either arms, legs or bust.

For young men:

Have a good haircut.  If you want the leading man part, it’s best to go in looking like a leading man. Wear a simple open collar shirt and dark slacks.  On the mainland upgrade with a jacket. 

Musical Preparation

With the basic packaging out of the way, let your concentration be on your musical and interpretive preparation for your audition. 

Your foremost priority is  that you choose music that shows the best qualities of your voice, allows you to be expressive and is similar in style and composition to the show or opera you are auditioning for.

Make sure your music is memorized.    

Present yourself cheerfully and politely to your directors, administering staff and accompanist, and provide a clean readable copy of your music for your accompanist. 

Point out any special markings to your accompanist prior to starting your piece.   

Your mental and physical preparation
are just as important as your musical preparation. Be well rested and well hydrated, arrive early enough that you have time to focus and relax. 

A word about auditioning when you’re sick. DON’T.  The directors may or may not know your voice, but it’s not fair to ask them to make assumptions that your voice will sound significantly better when you’re  well. See if you can reschedule your appointment, yet accept if you cannot.  Remember directors are usually on a strict time line to cast productions. 

For further reading on developing your performance skills “Power Performance for Singers” Transcending the barriers, by Shirlee Emmons and Alma Thomas; Oxford University Press  is a great tool for those that are seeking a career.  

Try this:

This week experiment with putting together a simple resume and an appropriate audition outfit.

Have a very fine week.






Copyright © 2010 by Sarah Oppenheim-Beggs