Singing for Drama College Auditions (Part 6 of 6) – Delivering a song audition performance

Typically, auditionees focus almost entirely on how deliver the actual material, whether spoken monologue or song. However, there are other factors at play that can either enhance or undermine the experience of

  • the audience (or audition panel)
  • the performer.

To create a professional piece of theatre for your song, take into account the following:

The Space
  • If you’re performing in a venue, remember the performance space is yours. You are the ‘host’, and the audience/ audition panel are your welcome guests; you are inviting them into a world of your creation.
  • If you are filming an audition submission from home, set up a space that helps establish a sense of occasion, and feels and looks like a performance space. It helps the audience, and it psychologically helps you, the performer, focus.

Dress for the occasion. This is not an ordinary event. It is a performance.

Warm up mind & body

Use exercises you have learned with various tutors, especially movement and voice ones. You can also use the Clearing Breaths (exhalations for thoughts-emotions-body.)

Introducing the song

All of this is part of the performance. It establishes your presence, and begins to draw us into the world of the song.

  • Speak clearly. Don’t rush. Use your voice to establish the tone of the moment and space.
  • Announce your name. Avoid a high-rising terminal (HRT) – don’t lift the pitch at the end of the sentence or your name.
  • Work out a one-sentence description of the song. Make sure you can speak it in a way that expresses the emotional world of the song (objectives, obstacles etc). You can decide later whether you want to use this in your actual introduction. It helps you clarify for yourself what you (the character or storyteller) are singing, and why. This can remind you of your intention when you come to perform. If you are doing a music theatre audition expect to give more context about the character and story, and how this song functions in both of those.
  • Work out how to speak just the title, with the same emotional shape as the sentence description of the song.
  • Decide how you will introduce the song – sentence first, title first, or just the title. Practise this. And use this to get you into character to start the song. This can be a crucial part of drawing the audience into the song-story’s world.

After the introducing the song, you need to enter the character that sings the song-story. Find the appropriate inner life moment for the opening line of the song before you sing it. If you have spoken the title (and maybe the sentence description) with some of the character of the song world, it will be easier to make the transition into starting the song.

The first line

This must immediately draw the listener into the world of the song. Be very clear in yourself why the character-storyteller says-sings these opening words at this moment in this way.

The last line

Don’t leave this to chance. Don’t rely on the delivery of the song getting you ‘in the mood’ for delivering the last line. Practise singing the last line, and having a good feel for how you want the song to finish. Know where you are going. This is the destination point of the song (or the shortened version you are performing for the audition).

Hold the moment

After you have sung the last line, hold the moment, and don’t break state straight away. You have, hopefully, created a world for your listeners. Let them stay there a while before you bring them out.

Break state graciously

When you finally leave the song’s world, don’t switch off. You are still the performer, visible in the performance space, and you are still holding it for your guests, the audience. Gently acknowledge, with a nod, or smile, or slight bow. Don’t use any physical movement or gesture that undermines the performance, or what you have just given the audience.