I’ve been grappling with this question for some time now. Every time I think I am ready – it seems I am not. By ‘ready’, I mean prepared enough to then have the confidence to excel in an audition (or performance – but for the sake of this blogpost I’m discussing auditions).
Perhaps I am simply not good at auditions. STOP. I don’t like that – seems little defeatist…
I find auditions really, really hard. I did one this week. I travelled to a different country to do it and on the day of the audition I completely over-sang. I was nervous, and, as mentioned in my previous blog post, I have just had something of a vocal-technique overhaul in Turin. So, before the audition, I dutifully went to a warm-up room. I was there over three hours before the audition (first error) and I started working on my technique as I would on a day with no audition (second error). Then when I had a run-through with the accompanist I sang through EACH piece as if it were the audition (third error). Then I had a cup of tea (herbal) and a sit down. Then I did the audition.
It is crystal clear to me why I didn’t sing well having done at least two hours of full singing beforehand.
There are technical ideas that I am using that are new and even though I now sound more ‘ready’ as a young singer because of them, I don’t believe or trust yet that I will be able to do them if I haven’t ‘checked’ first. I don’t think this is uncommon in young singers, but I’m still frustrated at myself for making the mistake. I am pleased with how the actual performance was in the audition, just not with my use of my ‘new’ technical ideas. I feel like I let myself, and my teacher down. But I also know that it is all trial and error and that you’re allowed to not sing brilliantly if you learn from the experience and realize what you’re doing to do to improve and learn from it.
I am coming to the conclusion that auditions will happen best if you are secure in what you’re going to do – READY!! And I don’t just mean in whether or not you remember the words and the music. I mean ready in every sense – knowing who you are, what you want to say with the music, what you want to say with the drama, what you are want to say as an artist and that you are ready with your VOICE as a technician as well as a musician. By that I mean being ready so that you only need to vocalise briefly on the day and then sing straight to the panel – sounding completely fresh.
I’ve come to this conclusion before (hence the irritation at my approach this week) and am coming to it again. Even if there are new things to incorporate into my singing I should have trusted that
What are auditions for? Well the panel clearly wish to cast singers in something (production, opera studio, music college) so they want you to do well. They want to hear YOU. Your musicianship, your voice, your interpretation of the pieces. Not too hard? I think nerves come from not being sure. They’re also important as they show that you care (everyone needs some good adrenaline), but they needn’t be debilitating. The way to stop them from becoming so is by being prepared. Maybe I will be ready next time, or maybe I need more time to really let my technique settle so that I have confidence in it before putting myself in front of a panel of people again. I’m not sure.
I’ll only find out by trying!