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How to ace any school audition!

A new school year means tryouts for your school play/musical are coming up—and you have no idea what to do or where to even start. Fear not, because we've got you covered. Here are 10 pieces of advice guaranteed to help you ace your audition—and land that lead role.

1. Pick the right song/monologue.

When going into an audition, it's important to consider what your school show is about before selecting a monologue or song. Ideally, pick something that's similar in genre to the show your school is doing. Your school is doing something light and comedic like Bye Bye Birdie? Don't do a song from Les Miserables, try something from Grease. If you want to be even more specific, it may be good to pick a song or monologue that matches the character role that you are aiming for. For example, if you want to be Amneris (from Aida ) or Belle (from Beauty and The Beast), pick a song that Cinderella sings. The idea is to help the directors visualize you in your targeted role. Picking the right song will also show that you're knowledgeable about theatre—and dedicated to the production. 

2. Make sure you know what your song/monologue is really about.

What is going through your character's mind while they deliver their monologue/song? What is their internal struggle? Are they conflicted over a decision they must make? Are they overjoyed or distressed? Knowing the mental state and the context of your character will help you demonstrate acting ability—and also shows you're able to do more than just stand there and sing. A proactive performer is usually more engaging and entertaining than a stagnant one. 

3. Be mindful of what you eat or drink before an audition.

The wrong food or beverage will coat or dry out your vocal folds and ruin your ability to project. That means no salty foods, no cold water, no caffeine and especially no dairy products. Don't eat anything too heavy either. A full stomach could potentially disrupt the diaphragm, another important part of the body that is needed for projection. Remember: your body is the instrument, so take good care of it! (That also means a good night's sleep.)

4. Warm up before your audition.

It's best to warm up at least 10 minutes before an audition. If you don't warm up, you won't be at your best when you perform—and you will be kicking yourself later. Trust me. Do red leather yellow leather, solfege or whatever you need to do to prepare yourself.

5. Practice, practice, practice!

This usually goes without saying, but here it is again: Practice is important. You don't want to go up on stage during your audition and realize you can't remember a single line. Know your material like the back of your hand before you go out there. The more nervous you are, the more likely you'll forget something. Practice for half an hour to 45 minutes a day in front of the mirror for at least a week. 

6. Have confidence.

Even the most seasoned and talented of folks have some stage fright. Performing in front of other people is nerve-wracking for anyone. Just have confidence in your abilities and the hours of practice that you put in. If you tell yourself that you're going to nail your audition, you probably will. Also, remember that everyone else is just as nervous as you are. If you're still not convinced, here's a story of how Sutton Foster wasn't on her A-game for an audition.

7. Be a good sport. (Aka don't be a diva.)

Theater people can be eccentric, that's a given. However, it's a completely different thing when said people let their egos go to their heads. Don't set your sights on just one sole role. You may end up getting something that's still substantial that you may enjoy even more.

Also, don't be mean to or badmouth people you think have a better chance of getting the part you want (trash-talking can bar you from ever getting a lead or of participating in a show to begin with). Remember: theater is a collaborative effort—you are not the most significant person in the room.

8. Dress appropriately.

Believe it or not, there is dress etiquette for auditions. Dressing appropriately for an audition shows that you are dedicated and taking the audition process seriously. Pick something that's pretty and easy to move around in like a loose, solid-colored dress. Think nice, but not too dressy. If you're doing the dance portion of the audition though, its best to just stick to sweats and a t-shirt.

9. Get to know the teachers and their classes.

It doesn't hurt to actually get to know the teachers that are heading the choir/ show that you're trying out for. The best way to do that, of course, is to take a class with them. A bit of familiarity will greatly increase your chances of getting the role you want. Helping out with some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, like set building and tech, also gives you brownie points.

10. Recognize seniority.

No matter how talented you are, priority will always go to those who have seniority. This means that you may not get a lead simply because you're a freshman or a sophomore. Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait until it's your moment to shine.

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by Grace Nardei | 8/21/2019
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