Those of us who do many auditions know it doesn’t take much for things to go wrong. When these things happen, it can easily rattle our game and shake our focus. We already have enough to worry about when auditioning, but we should all be prepared for those audition what ifs that could turn an audition into a horror story.
The airline loses your luggage… which contains your music and your outfit
For those of us who travel for auditions, the fear of losing our audition outfit or music can cause anxiety. Sometimes things happen, and you lose your bag containing the few items that are necessary for the audition. What do you do?
First, if you have any singer friends in this city, contact them as soon as possible. They will hopefully have an outfit you can borrow and a way to get music quickly. If you do not have any contacts in the area, then getting your music is the priority. The audition panel can forgive jeans if you have a fab voice. Use social media to ask if anybody can send you the sheet music online. Try calling the school or company - you may be able to use their music library and/or printer. If all else fails, check IMSLP and other online sheet music sources to see if you can buy and download the music. If you absolutely cannot get the music, ask those managing the auditions and the other auditioning singers for help. You never know who will come to the rescue.
If you are able to get your music quickly, you may have time to replace your outfit - schlep to the nearest TJ Maxx or Marshalls and buy a dress and shoes, even if it’s not perfect. The goal is to look put together and professional.
To prevent this from ever happening, always put your music and your outfit in your carry-on bag. In the event of gate-checking, it is a good idea to have a smaller bag containing your music and outfit that could fit under your seat. It also never hurts to pack a pair of flats just in case your heel breaks or your feet are barking too much to wear heels.
You lost, forgot, or ruined your music
Once again, things happen. If this happens last minute, try the above suggestions to quickly get your music.
To prevent ever having to worry about this, utilize technology. Before your audition season begins, scan copies of all of your audition music and email them to yourself or put them in online storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive. You will always be able to access your music, and you can always print a copy wherever a printer is available. If you have a tablet, I recommend having all of your audition music on your device. Most pianists prefer not to play from a tablet, but it’s better than no music at all! Bring your tablet with you, and you will always have an extra copy of your music. It’s also a great idea to have your headshot and resume in your electronic files just in case.
You’re running late… for whatever reason
While it is ideal to plan and give yourself plenty of time to get to the audition, sometimes things happen that are out of your control. Maybe there is unusual traffic, or your flight gets cancelled. If it looks like you will be late, let the organization holding the audition know as soon as possible. Try to call or send an email to whoever you have been in contact with to let them know your expected time of arrival. Most people are understanding, and if something extreme is happening in the outside world, then you’re probably not the only person that will be late. Try not to freak out, and get to your audition as quickly as possible.
To prevent this, be sure to give yourself enough time to get to the audition, then add 30-60 more minutes. That is your departure time. Depending on where you are and your mode of transportation, give yourself this extra time to get lost, park, find the audition room, go to the bathroom, and get settled. Don’t worry about being too early to an audition – your stress level will thank you for being over prepared. If you're able, try to find the audition venue the day before the audition to be extra prepared.
The audition panel is running super late
This is something that is completely out of your control, but can be stressful all the same. If the panel is running so late that you may miss your flight or another appointment, politely ask those running the audition if you could switch times with another singer or be bumped up in line. If you’d like to make a good impression, only ask this if you’re absolutely in a bind. People will be understanding.
You woke up feeling sick
Ugh, this is always unpleasant, but you can get through this. Sometimes it’s just a tickle in your throat, and sometimes you have food poisoning. If it is something you cannot power through, then you must cancel or reschedule the audition. You always want to make a good impression, and if sickness will prevent you from doing so, then it is best to cancel. Call or email the auditioners as soon as you can, and hopefully they can reschedule you. If they are unable to reschedule, then you will have to wait until the next audition. If you feel like you can power through the audition, break out your singer emergency kit – Throat Coat, throat lozenges, steamer, and whatever else works best for you.
To prevent sickness, always try to eat healthy and stay active. If possible, keep stress levels low to keep sickness at bay. If you have a big audition coming, take Vitamin C or other supplements to put your body on defense mode.
You got a stain on your outfit
Fellow clumsy people, hear my roar! This happens to me almost daily, so why wouldn’t it happen minutes before an audition? Depending on the stain, you may be able to get to the restroom to clean the stain with some water. If you’re especially accident prone, carry a Tide Stick with you everywhere. It can get most small stains out quickly. If there’s nothing to be done and you don’t have anything else to wear, then wear the stain with pride. You can make a joke about it in the audition, and it will show your personality and easy-going attitude.
You forgot the words/you’re bombing the audition
If this happens, do your best to power through and stay in character. Sometimes the audition panel doesn’t even notice if you just make up the words. As long as you don’t break your concentration, then you won’t clue them in to what is going wrong.
To prevent this, always be as prepared as you can and only present arias that you feel extremely comfortable singing.
The pianist is bombing the audition
Pianists are amazing, but no one is immune to having an off day. Sometimes the audition panel is unable to get an experienced pianist or their pianist gets sick last minute. If this happens to you, then, once again, power through it. Do your best to take control of the aria, and sing it the best you can. And no matter what, be gracious to the pianist.
To prevent this, bring your own pianist or a pianist you are able to rehearse with ahead of time. This is not always possible, but when it is, it never hurts to shell out the extra money. If you cannot bring your own pianist, try not to bring any pieces that are notorious for being difficult to play. If you would like to sing a more obscure piece, then email the audition panel ahead of time and let them know the piece and/or email them the music. This does not mean that the pianist will look at the piece before your audition, but it cannot hurt to send it.
Though auditions can be stressful, being prepared is the best way to keep your mind at ease. If you plan for the worst, hopefully nothing will go wrong! Do you have audition horror stories that could have been prevented? Let us know in the comments!