Twenty-Two Music and Theater Audition Tips

With the National Unified Auditions for undergraduate B.F.A. programs in theatre and music starting this weekend in New York City, high school students applying to these college programs will be in the spotlight to show they’ve got what it takes. Halley Shefler and her team at ArtsBridge Educational Consultants have terrific tips for students. Halley writes that “the hope and plan is that you can BRING IT right away once you step into the audition room.” So, rather than focusing solely on your lines or your songs, take advantage of these 22 Audition Tips borne of experience.

1. This audition thing isn’t personal – if you don’t get in – it doesn’t mean you aren’t good and should quit. Just do the best best best you can.

2. This is it – you’ve been working so hard – go for it! What have you got to lose?

3. Faculty like risk takers and students who are interesting. If you’ve written a play, tell them, or better – bring a copy (one is fine).

4. Be prepared when and if someone asks, “tell us about you.” Think of what you would say to someone in an elevator.

5. Bring extra head shots/résumés. Don’t ask the faculty if they like your picture – if they say something, great.

6. The faculty want to love you – believe it or not. They want to look up from their notes and think – DAMN!

7. On this note, don’t begin until they’ve looked up from their page!

8. Bring extra copies of music – Do you know how many people forget their music?

9. Don’t forget the pianist’s copy.

10. Don’t wear anything too tight, too low, or too short. You have no idea what it is like to sit at the table and watch student hike up their top, pull up their bra straps, pull down their skirt, pull their shirt out cause it is too tight or take off their shoes cause they hurt. Take a look at yourself from behind – ’cause that is what the faculty will see as you walk out of the room.

11. Bring an extra pair of tights or hose (if wearing them) and if not – room may be cold, so good luck. And a run down the front of black tights is never a good look!

12. Wear shoes that work for you. No, don’t wear flip flops, Danskos or Birks, but you should be able to walk, stand and breathe well.

13. Hair should not be in your way; don’t fuss with it. And don’t do the “wet look” or actually have wet hair!

14. Check your makeup in daytime light (take a mirror over the the window). No clown cheeks!

15. No food in the teeth. (I had to say this – you’d be surprised.)

16. Your audition starts when you walk in the room. Don’t shake hands; faculty are freaked out about illness this time of year.

17. If you really need water, bring it in. If you don’t, don’t. And NEVER put your water bottle on the piano.

18. Don’t name drop, “Mrs Brown says hello. I hear you used to date;” they hate that. If they ask you, “I see you study with Mrs. Brown,” though, of course answer (minus the dating part!).

19. Think about your questions before you go in the room. It’s ok to make a list. But if it’s a question like “when will I find out if I got in,” don’t ask it. The answer is March.

20. Don’t Don’t Don’t engage with people outside the audition room. There are kids who try to psych you out – I’ve seen it. Students used to run out of the Boco audition room screaming “I got in!” when I was in the room and we never said that!

21. Wear headphones even if you aren’t listening to anything; people won’t bother you.

22. Tell your mom or dad or friend or cousin to leave and meet you at Starbucks (or someplace else) afterwards. And remember, this is very hard for them. So be nice; they are doing the best they can and they want this for you more than anything; this I know!

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