Time to Break Down Your Book
Aaron's Thoughts on the Inside of your Book
Alright, we're arrived. It's time to start chatting about what should go inside of your audition book. Remember, there are no "right" answers here. This is just my opinion about what should be in your book. This comes from years and years of being in the room. I do think that I have a little more authority about the audition book than most people. Most people don't spend the amount of time in the audition room that I spend, or any audition pianist spends for that matter. There are stock lists of what should be in your book. Lists from audition coaches. Lists from acting teachers. Lists from everyone and everywhere. But most of those people aren't in the room on a regular basis. We're in the room. I'm actually writing this blog in a dance call for THE BOOK OF MORMON. I'm always in the room. We're in the room. All the time. For good and bad. 'Til death do us part. Heed our advice, we mostly know what we're talking about.
You'll find a lot of lists online that describe the "perfect" audition book. Be warned! Look judgingly at these lists. There is no such thing as the "perfect" audition book. Just the book that works best for you. Which isn't the same book that works best for someone else. If there were such a thing as the "perfect" audition book you wouldn't be reading this and you would always be working. There aren't a lot of "rules" in the audition world. Contrary to other people I do think there are some rules, but they are mostly common sense. Things like:
- Don't tell the people behind the table to go to hell.
- Don't show up naked.
- Don't pee in the corner. Maybe under the table, but definitely not in the corner.
- Don't try to exit through a closet after your audition.
- Don't make me turn a page if your cut is only 2 pages long. Seriously, don't do that. It's rude.
Those are the rules that are pretty self-explanatory. But even those may not be rules in the right audition circumstance. Who knows?! It's a crazy business. But if anyone starts telling you the "rules" about an audition or your audition book – leave them and ask for your money back. Immediately. Then go find a better coach/teacher.
Aaron's basic list
- Jazz Age Standard
- Golden Age Standard
- Post-Golden Age Standard
- Contemporary Music Theatre
- 1950s Rock
- 1970s Rock
- 1980s Rock
- 1990s Pop/Rock
- Contemporary Pop
- Contemporary Rock
- Contemporary Country/Cross-over Country
- Hip/Hop - Rap
You should generally try to have a ballad and an uptempo for each of these categories, the pop/rock categories can mostly get away with either a ballad or an uptempo.
There is a lot of wiggle room with that list, a lot of songs can cover a couple categories. I'm going to spend a bunch of blog posts breaking down all these categories and talk about appropriate song choices for each of them. Again, this is will be my opinion! And if you've ever talked to my wife, you know that my opinion doesn't count for much.
Songs I Don't Think You Need
- Anything written by Andrew Lloyd, Boublil & Schönberg or Frank Wildhorn
- Novelty Song - though it isn't a bad idea
- Songs that don't show you off. This is a big problem. Just because you like a song and think it's great doesn't necessarily mean it is great for you. Or that it is a great audition song. It may just suck as an audition song. That happens. Move on. What's next?
This is going to be a lot of stuff to cover. I know I've talked about keeping your books thin and controlled. There is a way to cover as much material as you possibly can while maintaining a proper size book. That'll be covered as we dig into these categories.
Inside of the list above there are a million variations. Some people absolutely wouldn't have a Hip/Hop tune in their books. Other people may have 3. Take this list and tailor it to your needs. Need help? Send an email! I'll gladly help you talk through your book or send you to some super smart people that I trust to help you with your book.
Next week we'll start to break down each category and get into the nitty gritty of each genre.
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Until then, every audition counts.