You've Now Entered the Room!

fantasy-2880028_1280.jpg

So you've finally made it to the audition and you're standing on the precipice of walking through that door into an unknown future. Maybe this is the big one! Maybe this is the audition that finally gets you your big break and makes you a star. Maybe the outcome isn't quite as exciting. But regardless you take a deep breath open the door and off you go!!!

ENTRY!

For the sake of length... I'm going to assume you can make it over to the piano without falling. But then again, you would be surprised the stuff we've seen in the room. Anyway –– time to talk to the pianist...

THINGS YOU NEED TO COMMUNICATE TO THE PIANIST:

  1. What song are you singing?

  2. Where does your cut start and where does it end?

  3. How fast does your song go? More importantly, what is the feel/groove of the song. How do you want the pianist to play it. This is, surprisingly, the step that most actors fail miserably at.

  4. How do you want to begin your audition? When should the pianist start playing?

LET'S BREAK THESE STEPS DOWN:

1. WHAT SONG ARE YOU SINGING?

When you walk in the room have the song you are singing ready to go. Don't plop your book onto the piano and need to look through it to locate the song you want to do. Know where it is.

Chances are we've played your song about a thousand times in auditions before. Not much walks through that door that we haven't played.

Oh, you've got a song that you did in a reading that's about the life of David Koch and his love of dance? I've seen it. True story. While it is always nice when new material comes through the door and we truly get to sight-read some music, it doesn't happen very often.

Anyway, moral of the story, know where your song is in the book. Also know what show it's from and who wrote it. You'd be surprised how many times someone in the room will ask what your song is from and who wrote it... Have an answer. It's embarrassing if you don't.

2. WHERE DOES YOUR CUT START AND WHERE DOES IT END?

This should be pretty straight forward. Your song should start at the beginning and end at the ending. Seems easy enough, right? HOLY SHIT! The roadmaps that people have tried to explain to me about their cut would confuse the smartest of logic puzzle solvers.

Okay, so this is a little tricky, you start playing here, then we are going to take the 1st ending, but instead of going back to the 2nd verse we are going to cut to the bridge, but just half the bridge, then turn back a page and we’ll do the second verse, but just half the second verse and then directly to the chorus 2 pages later, then when you get to the end of the chorus follow the sign back to the 1st page and we’ll do the 3rd verse, then back to the chorus again 2 pages later, take the coda 4 bars early, it’s a key change so just make something up into the new key and then we’ll repeat the last phrase 3 times, on the last time we’ll double it up for a big ending. Oh, and I know this last chord is wrong, just play whatever to make it sound like an ending.
— Actors that drive me insane

The above quote is a little hyperbolic... but not much. I've heard every all the bits and pieces above in the audition room, not necessarily together, but I've heard it all. The crazy paths through peoples music that I've had to take are uncalled for. Have someone fix your music for you. Have it all laid out so that I start at the beginning and end at the end. If there is music you don't want me to play because it isn't part of your cut... GET RID OF IT! I can't play it if it isn't there.

Basically, please for the love of all things holy, pay attention to the music you put in front of the pianist. We are on your side until we aren't. Have respect for your work and your craft. There will be a future blog post about reading music. If you are in music theater, you should know how to read music. End of story. It's not hard to do and shows basic respect for your craft. SaveMyAudition has a great Audition Services section to help you with your music, don't be shy.

3. HOW FAST DOES YOUR SONG GO?

The more appropriate question is:

How do you want me to approach this song stylistically? What’s the groove and how do the drums sound?
— Me, if I were to ask the question properly...

Simply telling me how fast the song goes isn't enough. Now, chances are I know your song and I've played it a million times. But I still ask, I always ask (98% of the time, always) because I don't know how you do your "version" of the song. So take a second, find the part of the song that grooves the best, usually the hook/chorus of the song, and let it get in your body as you sing a little and show me the groove of the song.

Oh, it’s 87 beats per minute
— Actual thing someone has said to me

Yes, that is technically exactly how fast your song goes. But that number is meaningless to me. Not that I don't know what roughly 87 beats per minute is... But you're better off if you sing me your song to give me that number....

4. HOW DO YOU WANT TO BEGIN YOUR AUDITION? WHEN SHOULD THE PIANIST START PLAYING?

This one is easy. Just tell us when you want to begin your audition. Whether it's a bell tone or an actual introduction. When should we start playing? When you get to center? When you nod at us? When you look at us? Right as you are leaving the piano? When?

FINAL THOUGHTS:

 Not me playing.

Not me playing.

We are behind the piano to support you. Most of us have been doing this for a long, long time. You'll encounter some new faces as the next generation of audition pianists comes through the door, but for the most part, we've been through the ropes. We are getting paid well to be back there behind the piano.

Anyway, that's your interaction with the pianist. We are there to support you and we are genuinely hoping you book the job. That's the best part of our line of work, when we know someone booked the gig.

IMPORT AFTERTHOUGHT:

I don't care if you want to use your iPad for your audition. I prefer it if you have the bigger model as opposed to the tiny model. And please, I'm begging you, pretty please, turn it on airport mode when you are auditioning. I've seen more than one sext. That is unfortunately not a joke.

That's it for this one. I'm sure there is much more that can be said about the interaction you have with the pianist, maybe I'll write a book about it.

Until next time: Every Audition Counts!

 

El Ranchero Burritos
359 W 45th St
New York, NY 10036

Some damn fine and quick Mexican food. Great for lunch. A literal hole in the wall.