10 Things That Annoy The Hell Out Of Your Audition Pianist - Part 1.5

10 things that annoy the hell out of your audition pianist-01-01.png

Ten things that annoy the hell out of your audition pianist:

I imagine this is what 7 year-old me looks like when I get annoyed.

I imagine this is what 7 year-old me looks like when I get annoyed.

This is a rehash BLOG that I wrote for a friend, I’ve kept some of the more annoying things and added some new annoying things, enjoy! The original post can be found here. Also Sara Glancy is great, use her if you are looking for new rep.

The musical theatre audition pianist. That hero among hero’s that sits behind the piano and makes you sound like a dream each and every time. Okay, maybe not each and every time. But that’s what we aim for. But while we are back there trying to make you sound the best we can, there is a lot of stuff you do that just annoys the hell out of us! A LOT OF STUFF.

This blog is a list of things that annoy the hell out of me as an audition pianist. It should be noted that this is just my opinion. I have audition pianist friends that would disagree with some of these and agree with others, as well as have their own list. But these are the things that drive me nuts. They are arranged in alphabetical order by the last letter of each subtitle. So basically… no order:

Not recognizing me:

Not a real conversation. But a fair faxsimile.

Not a real conversation. But a fair faxsimile.

The room is weird. It’s a high stress situation. It all happens fast and sometimes you’re already back out the door before you realize you were in the room. That being said, pay attention to who is in the room! I can’t tell you how often friends have come into the room and had no idea that it was me behind the piano. I have a conversation with you when you walk in! How do you not realize who your pianist is!? Take a deep breath, have a moment of recognition and then we’ll go through your song. Having a friendly face in the room is a good thing, become our friend, know who we are, we’re here for you. Don't send me an awkward text 30 minutes later that says...

Sing your song in the right time signature:

This mostly applies to when you are talking your song through for me. The number of people that sing their “tempo” in the wrong time signature would be baffling to most people. That 3/4 time signature should not be song in 4/4. Don’t slip in extra beats or take away a beat. I mostly assume that that is how you actual want the song played. But surprise, you go up there and sing the song correctly and now I look like I’m bad at my job for 3 measures. Thanks.

Over explaining your song:

Yes, I know that you are going to take your sweet ass time when you sing “II won’t care if I…” at the end of ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE. Yes, I know that you are going to take your sweet ass time when you sing “I only know when he...” at the end of I COULD’VE DANCED ALL NIGHT. Yes, I know that you are going to take your sweet ass time when you sing… Get the picture? Unless you are doing something different with your song, you don’t need to tell me about it. Most of the things that you feel the need to “explain” to me are things that are already marked in the music.

Broken binder:

I completely understand, you use your audition binder a lot. A real lot. If it is starting to fall apart, go buy a new one. The worst is when the rings don’t connect and properly hold your sheet music inside of the binder. The top one starts going first, you’ll notice your music starting to slip out of the top ring, then the middle one starts to go, all of a sudden your music falls only held on by the bottom ring and it’s now almost upside down and hanging on top of the keys of the piano. Not many people know this, but we use both hands when playing the piano so it’s hard to fix this problem as it is happening. So let’s just nip it in the bud. Go buy a new binder. Also - buy some 3-hole punch reinforcements if you don't use sheet protectors and your pages are starting to rip. There are only so many times you can say "I'm sorry my music is falling out" before I start to think that you just don't care.


Sexts on iPads:


Let me repeat that for those of you in the cheap seats… 


I have seen more than one sext come through on an iPad during an audition. And more than one NSFW photo.

I’m not kidding. This isn’t a drill. 


Transposed chord symbols:

Holy shit, this one drives me absolutely bonkers. If for some reason, any reason, you have written in transposed chords in your music, please erase them if you aren’t doing it in the transposed key.

Side topic: If you are doing your song in a different key, get it transposed properly.

Back to topic: Seeing notated music and chord symbols that don’t match makes my head explode. It’s like my brain is playing tricks on me to see a chord written in that I don’t see in the music. It’s not cool. Don’t do it. Even worse than that… Having more than one transposed set of chord symbols written in. 3 different transposed keys is the most I’ve ever seen, so with the actual printed music that’s 4 different keys my brain is fighting about. STOP IT!


Okay, this deserves it’s very own in depth blog post, which I'll do eventually. But as a quick rant: If your cut involves multiple endings and codas and turning pages backwards instead of forwards… Please fix it. I’ve had people walk up to the piano and say “Okay, this is super complicated….” Why would you do that to yourself, much less me!? That’s just opening yourself up to lots of mistakes. 

My rule for audition cuts:

They should start at the beginning and end at the ending. It’s super simple.

Hair in binders:

This one is mostly aimed at you ladies. But gentlemen with long hair, I’m not excluding you. The amount of loose strands of hair that end up in your binder is mind-boggling to me. It’s everywhere.


I could start a pretty decent wig making business with the hair I’ve pulled out of binders, or blown off a piano after an audition. Just check it out from time to time. This is the stuff you never think of. But we have to deal with it.

A lot.

Two page cuts:

If your cut is only 2 pages long, why are you making me turn a page? Why? Honest question… Why? That’s just mean. It’s only 2 pages, put it in your audition book so that they lay open. Seriously. It’s just rude. People doing this ghastly mistake is why I started my new audition services website. www.SaveMyAudition.com

But seriously, 2 pages… Don’t make me turn a page. It’s simple. And if your cut is printed 2-sided. Go make a copy of one of the pages so you can lay them flat in your book. Audition pianists the world over will thank you for it. I promise.

Let’s bring this to an end:

This list could go on for quite some time, and if you were counting, that was nine things, not ten. So I either over-advertised, or if you read the first round of this, we are now even, even though I repeated some of the more annoying ones. The lesson in all of this is to be as clear as you can be with your music, be a real human being with compassion and feelings, and breath. You get to control everything that happens in the room from the time you walk into the door until you stand in the center of the room and begin your audition. After that point things start to slowly get out of your grip.

Best of luck auditioning. Remember I’m on your side, even though this blog post makes it seem like I hate everybody. I don’t.

Every Audition Counts!

Audition book blog posts will continue on January 8th. There may be some more fun rant-like posts before then. But I'll get back on my schedule come January 8th.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a great New Year! Be safe! I'll see you in 2018 here on the Blog and in class if you sign up for some of the amazing classes being offered!


You may also be interested in...