It’s that time again! We’re all either constantly combing through yaptracker or relentlessly pestering our managers for appointments this Fall. If you’re like me, you’re always searching for new ways to make things easier during this season replete with the necessary evil of auditions. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.
Prepare: Knowing the arias is a given, but I try to map the best route to Opera America, set the alarm early enough, iron my clothes the night before, and remember to pack my dress shoes separately so I can wear snow boots, etc.
Rest: It’s easier said than done, but I attempt at least 7 hours of sleep before the big day.
Get Physical: My whole body is my instrument (not just those 2 tiny vocal folds) , so practicing yoga or going for a jog is a great way to warm up. I don’t go crazy lifting weights or exhausting myself for hours on the Precor machine, and I take extra time to stretch if I need to sing later. If time permits, I love taking a lavender Epsom salt bath before leaving the house. It relaxes and calms me, and it smells great.
Hydrate: It’s always essential to drink enough H2O, especially since I sleep in one of those old NYC apartments with a radiator that makes my cords feel like sandpaper when you first roll out of bed. I start guzzling water early in the morning and don’t stop until after the audition.
Get Happy: I listen to a podcast that makes me laugh or songs that make me smile when I’m on my way to Nola. I plug in my earbuds and try to drown out all distractions.
Get Mental: Before walking into the room, I try to deepen and slow my breathing. I’ll repeat a mantra (not out loud), something like “I am grounded, I am present, I am prepared and I am centered,” and then I’ll focus on three goals I hope to achieve. It isn’t always the same, but it might include breathing and supporting from my pelvic wall, keeping my jaw and neck relaxed and my ribs expanded. Above all else, I try to remember to communicate with the people in that room.
Power Pose: Studies have proven that people increase testosterone and decrease the stress hormone (cortisol) when they stand up straight with their hands on their hips or lean powerfully over a table and hold that position for a few minutes. I’ve tried this a few times, and I honestly think it helps with my confidence.
Perspective: Things go best when I remember that I’m not begging for a job; I’m offering them a performance. The best auditions occur when I don’t worry about what they might or might not want. My goal is to be authentic, show them what I can do and remember to not just sing, but to find a way to express myself to the panel.
This list could include many more detailed and expanded points, but find what works best for your specific circumstances and needs. Even after you discover your best routine, remain flexible. If anything throws you off your normal course, be mentally nimble and figure out the next best step for your day and the audition itself. The final results are out of our control, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the journey through hell… I mean audition season!