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10 Tips For Auditions

Updated: Sep 4

Auditioning can be nerve-racking and until you've done a few, they can be quite daunting! Here are 10 tips that we think will help anyone planning on auditioning.

1. First Impressions

First impressions are so important in auditions. You can often tell a lot about someone within the first 10 seconds of meeting them so it is really important that you take a second before you walk in to focus. Try and calm your nerves so you appear confident and make sure you smile when you walk in.


  • Top tip - It sometimes helps to think of the whole audition as a performance so you're almost 'in character' as the most confident version of yourself from the moment you walk in!


2. Walking Into The Room

Every audition is set up differently so it can be hard to guess what it's going to be like. You don't know how many people are going to be in the room, how big the room is, where the panel are going to be sitting or even what they are going to ask you to do. Sometimes they might ask you to sing straight away or they might want to have a chat first. For this reason, there is no 'right way' to walk into the room but there are things you can do to make sure it's not awkward.


When you walk in, walk confidently over to in front of the panel and stand about 2 or 3 metres away from the table. Make sure you smile and say 'hi' and then wait for them to lead you and give you instructions. They might ask you to go straight to the piano or ask you how you are or what your singing so just let them lead it and try not to feel awkward!


  • Top tips - Avoid standing too far away from the panel or getting too close. You should feel comfortable that you can speak at a normal volume without coming right up to the table.

  • Don't put your bottle on the panels desk. leave it at the side of the room or by (not on!) the piano!


3. Talking To The Pianist

Before you sing, you will get given a chance to show the pianist your music and this is the time to explain any cuts in your music, how fast you want it and anything else you think they need to know! Make sure you've marked any cuts on your music and taped it together to make their job as easy as possible!


  • Top tips - Make sure you are polite and say thank you to the pianist, they are your best friend in an audition room!

  • If the pianist plays your song too fast of to slow, sing at the speed you want it as they should follow you! It might take some getting used to but you need to lead them not the other way round!


4. Starting And Finishing Your Performance

Make sure you are in character from the moment the piano starts playing until the last note is played. Often people are themselves through the introduction and then once they start singing they become the character, but it is way more engaging to use the music as part of the story! At the end, hold the final moment until the music stops then you can relax!




5. Cutting Your Song

Most auditions only want a 90 second 'audition cut' of a song in the first round. This is more than enough time for the panel to decide if they want to recall you!


If the song has a standard structure, most people would start with the first verse, cut to the chorus and then cut to the big end bit. This way, there is a nice story arc and you can build through the song and show off a range.


Each song is different but when you're cutting you music, think about:


  • Showing off your range

  • Telling a story

  • Not repeating bits

  • Key changes work

  • You mark all your cuts clearly


If you cut full pages, don't be afraid get rid of them. Draw brackets around your cuts like in the picture below and cross out bars not used so it's clear what's in and what's not. (This is what you'll be pointing out to the pianist when you chat to them!)




6. Take Us On A Journey

Don't give a way everything too soon! If you have a big, impressive, belty voice, it is sometimes tempting to come in and show it off straight away in the first few lines but it leaves you no space to grow! It is far more engaging and impressive if you hold off and slowly build through the song so we get to see more of a journey and a bigger range of what you can do.


  • Top tip - Play around with how much sing every line. Maybe at the start it could have more speech quality - don't feel the need to hold on every note!


7. Don't Fidget!

It is so distracting when someone is performing if they are fidgeting. We all do it when we're nervous but try to be aware of it so you can attempt to control it. Whether it's playing with your sleeve, your jumper, your hands or shuffling your feet, it comes across to the panel as nerves and so makes it harder for us to imagine you're in character!


  • Top tip - Practice performing in front of a mirror or film yourself and watch it back, you'd be surprised at how much we fidget that we're unaware of!


8. Don't Play 'The Mood'

Playing 'the mood' of a song is where you subconsciously take the song and decide what the general mood is, i.e. sad, and then perform the whole song in that way. In every song, there is a variety of emotions and feelings so it is so important to be detailed with each line you sing. In life, we could be really sad but still show glimmers of anger, desperation, hope, love, frustration or any emotion you can think of so make sure your performance has this much detail.


Example - With You - Ghost The Musical


This might seem to be a 'sad song' as Molly is talking about missing her husband who she tragically lost. She's talking about all the things they used to do together.

'I picked up your shirts this morning, I don't know why, I don't know why'

This line could be played in many different ways. The obvious way would be sad because she misses him, but she could also be confused as to why she's done that, or find it slightly funny that she's done such a pointless thing or frustrated that she doesn't understand her actions. The point is, if you vary your performance and keep your mind active, it will be more realistically to what we are like as humans.

  • Top tip - Go through the entire song as a monologue just speaking the words and play around with how you say each line. Then try and bring that feeling when you sing it.


9. Song Choice

Make sure you have done your homework! It's so important to know everything about your song - What show's it from? Who is your character? Who are the talking to? Where in the show does it come? What's happened just before?


All of this information will inform the decisions you make when you perform it and we will be able to see that detail in your performance. If you are performing a stand alone song or taking it out of context, decide your own answers to these questions!


Pick a song that you enjoy singing but also one that suits your voice! Try and find one that isn't over done and is age appropriate for you for you that you can connect to!


10. Confidence

EVERYBODY GETS NERVOUS! Nerves are not a bad thing as they are what keep the excitement and energy in a performance. They also mean that we enjoy it and have adrenaline so don't get frustrated if you feel them before you perform.


The hard part is trying to control them and channel them in a positive way. It goes without saying that the more you do something, the less nervous you will get and the more confident you will feel so by simply getting experience performing in front of people and auditioning, you will feel more comfortable. A common thing we see in our auditions is people walking into the room shy and nervous and then when they perform, they transform into a confident performer so try and walk in with that persona!


  • Top tip - Try thinking of the whole audition as a performance so from the moment you walk in, you are acting as the most confident version of yourself!



West End Calling is a national musical theatre singing competition in the UK for performers under the ages of 22. For more information and to enter the competition, please visit www.westendcalling.co.uk

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