Audition Season

November 8, 2015 — 73 Comments

I will be having my Master of Music postgraduate program auditions soon and I’m trying to recollect all the advice I have received during my training here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and from people I have met along the way.

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This picture was taken a couple of months before my Undergraduate auditions

In this blog post I want to talk about my undergraduate audition experiences. It may help answer some questions for those about to take their first auditions but if not it is my account of what I discovered and I hope that you find it interesting. I don’t pretend to know all the answers but I know that when I was auditioning I would have been grateful for more knowledge.

I personally think it’s important to feel as confident and calm as possible on the day so that you can sing at your best. For me I can help to aid this by planning and making decisions before the event for example; what I’m going to wear; how I’m going to get there; who am I going with; when and what am I going to eat. They may seem like silly questions but I like to know that on the day the only thing I have to make decisions about are artistic and creative ones when I sing. I was once told that we have a limit on how many decisions we can make in one day. I think this is really interesting and I will research into this to see if it’s true, (one day).

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Try and travel to the Conservatoire using public transport, remember that if you are offered a place this is probably how you will be travelling between home and your place of study.  Check the routes, timings and how many changes you will need and this will help with journey times.  Book your train tickets early it’s less costly and you don’t run the risk of there being no seats available as I did trying to book a week before going to Cardiff.

It can be an anxious time but think of this as a new skill to master, the audition will be important to you and the anxiety you may feel is just because you are about to encounter something totally new in your life.

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Ralph Strehle, a professor at the RCS once advised me to create a ‘positive list’. This is essentially a list of things people have said about my singing that they liked or thought were a strength. This could be comments from an exam critique, a teacher, a friend or audience member. The list may start off as just one bullet point, however it only takes a moment to realise that as your training progresses the list will grow. Reflecting on what’s good can improve your attitude, increase your optimism and boost your wellness.

Like preparing for an interview, research the school you are applying to. I know the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland voice department have a Facebook page now, on which they keep updates of what is going on and what our alumni our achieving. It can be quite exciting to see what is happening and can help you to form some informed questions that you would like to ask during your audition. But for these questions focus on what interests you and don’t be afraid to ask.

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Check out the audition requirements for each Conservatoire as they will vary.  Each will ask for a specific selection of song types but within each genre the song choice is yours. Some have a written exam and others may ask for a spoken monologue and a sight reading test so be prepared.

Most conservatories have two rounds and some possibly three. I can say without embarrassment that I didn’t get through every round at every conservatoire but I did at several others. We all are diverse and so are the Conservatoires. All you can do is be yourself and show them where you are at that moment in your journey and they will decide whether you are ready to work in their way.

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Just remember that everybody’s voice develops at a different pace and there is no set age to join a Conservatoire. In my year there are a range of ages and it is OK and normal to re-apply if unsuccessful the first time around and you’ve set your heart on going to a Conservatoire, or to take time out before you commence the audition process.    There are 16 vocalists in my year 11 girls and five boys, some Conservatoires take more at undergraduate and some take less but if singing is your passion then they are fabulous institutions to train at.

Lastly and probably the most important thing to remember on the day is that the audition panel are looking for keen students so remember that they want you to succeed.

 

73 responses to Audition Season

  1. 

    Charlotte, you’ll be interested to hear of Elizabeth Lewis, an Australian soprano who has just won one of Opera Australian’s biggest scholarships to study in New York – having made the transition from mezzo to soprano only 4 months ago! I heard her last week in a companion piece to ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ in which young composers were given a sin to associate with an Australian capital city. Very clever and lots of fun.

    • 

      Thank you I’m very interested to learn of singers journeys, although I’ve learnt during my undergrad years to not compare myself to other singers it’s fascinating to see entry routes into the profession as I don’t know any new emerging professionals personally.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. 

    Hello Charlotte, great share, thanks a lot, very interesting, nice writting, nice picts !!! Yes, it’s important to shake all to have just to think at performe when the audition day arrive. And the most important, be “Yourself” , think about some nice things you do with familly, , friends, masterclasses, etc. catch the love of this pieces of your life and put it in your heart and just mixe it with your voice ! You can have to energetics picts in your phone and lovely enrgetic scarf in your pocket if you want ( great smile….)
    All the very best for you !!!

  3. 

    Dearest Charlotte, you will do excellent-Best of Luck from the USA, Your Fan and friend, Cheryl.

  4. 

    Sound advice. Very best wishes for upcoming additions

  5. 

    Sorry, *auditions* (self-corrected without me noticing)

  6. 
    Annette Rochelle Aben November 8, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Thank you so very much for the inspiration! Not only in how YOU are going for your dreams but the amazing posts of memes to remind us of how powerful we are. God Bless you dear Charlotte!

  7. 

    Best wishes for success with your auditions, Charlotte. I love that you are such a positive person, reason why you are so successful! Blessings and hugs!

  8. 

    Love all the positive energy here. Nicely done.

  9. 

    Wonderful, informative post, Charlotte, full of excellent advice for students. It is generous of you to share the positive approaches with others. I am sending you prayers for successful auditions and have full confidence in your talent.

  10. 

    Good luck Charlotte! It seems you are on the right track!

  11. 

    Those are good things. I think they can apply to other activities than audition too. I was thinking that some of them are good for presenting your work to larger group of people. Good luck with your audition!

  12. 

    You can do this, with all of your hard work, guts, gumption, and a great heart.All the best Charlotte, Darlene

  13. 

    That is really putting a positive spin on the ordeal. At the crux of things, though, as you point out is that they are as keen on getting good students as the good students are in getting in, and if one isn’t a match for a particular one it is just as well to find out at the audition stage!

  14. 

    Sing your heart out! Thanks for all the positive messages. 🙂

  15. 

    I like this post. Sparkles! I’m a little crazy, which also makes me a prime candidate to change the world. Thanks, Char. 🙂

  16. 

    I’m crazy to see peace on earth, and I know the Lord will bless you, Charlotte, to get your Masters of music, because you are a positive person. The Bible says the diligent hand shall prosper, and you are destined to prosperity.

    • 

      Thank you Rev. Tim I’m very thankful for the gifts I’ve been given and try my best to make the most of opportunities, it doesn’t always work out the way I think it might but it’s an adventure ☺️.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  17. 

    A very nice post! It proves that you know how to put a positive spin on everything, even thinking of others while you prepare for your own ordeal. Good luck on your Master of Music postgraduate program auditions! Oh yes, I know you have a birthday coming up, so if I don’t “talk” to you before then, early happy birthday!

  18. 

    Best of luck with your auditions! How thoughtful to compile a help-list for other young people going for their first auditions. I used to find it very difficult to decide what I should eat and when. Eating when nervous always gives me indigestion and singing with indigestion is almost impossible!

    • 

      Thank you Clare my first audition is at 9am, I’d usually get up around 5am to prepare for something like that, I usually eat cereal with lots of fresh milk for breakfast but I don’t like to sing following eating or drinking dairy products so I’ll make some toast and herbal tea and make sure to digest it before I start getting ready and warming up. I usually have bananas ready to eat after the audition and the customary large bottle of water. It’s a mistake not to eat at all before such a high adrenaline day because you need the energy.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  19. 

    Wow – how time flies! You are really moving along…wonderful advice for the newbies.

    • 

      I can’t believe I’m in the final year. Teachers always advise you about technique, warm-up, song selection etc. but it’s the little things that can catch you out. I arrived so early one time for an audition hanging around in the waiting room would have just made me too nervous so I found a little church nearby that was open and sat in there, they even let me warm up and sing a couple of oratorio arias which was lovely.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  20. 

    “We gain strength, courage and confidence every time we look fear in the face – we must do that which we think we cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt

  21. 

    These quotes are all so inspirational, and your sparkle can never be dampened, so go out and continue to be who you are. It is great seeing all your successes Charlotte, wishing you the best.

    • 

      Thank you Randall, I don’t know if sparkle can be dampened, I hope my sparkle isn’t far from the surface, one comment by someone that would normally pass right over your head can hang heavy at this time and it was just a reminder to myself to let things go. 🙂

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Agree, I think sparkle cannot be defeated ~ and I think your sparkle has a permanent residence on the outside, you really do shine in life with all you do and accomplish. It is great to see. Cheers to a great season for you 🙂

  22. 

    Anyone reading this and going for an audition will have excellent advice here. This is absolutely excellent.

  23. 

    Strong all your selected quotes,they do get your message across.Where there is a will,there is a way.Best of luck to you,you are a very promising,young star,dear Charlotte 🙂

  24. 

    I’m sure you’ll ace the auditions, Charlotte, considering you’ve done such great works in the past years and in this post, showing you’re well prepared psychologically. All the best!

    • 

      I hope so Arti, when I was seventeen and doing this for the first time I was quite confident, I had some wonderful auditions, sang one song instead of two and told I was straight into the next round, I got fabulous feedback on movement etc. and didn’t get offered a place so I’m not so complacent. Hundreds of girls apply from Conservatoires and music universities from all over the world and if you’re voice type isn’t required or your face doesn’t fit it can be as simple as that I think.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  25. 

    For anyone standing on the brink, this would be sound and sage advice. It will soon be over and you will depart and I feel Scotland in general and Glasgow in particular will be a lesser place. I would wish you Good Luck in your career, but I don’t think you will need luck – you have talent in spades.

    • 

      I’m auditioning for Scotland but nothing is guaranteed, I thought I’d be offered a place in Manchester near my home after studying there at Juniors but it wasn’t to be, so some things are just fated because I’ve had a fabulous time up here in Glasgow and I have a new teacher this year who is an international soprano and has added a new dimension to my studies and food for thought about song choices and career advice. Thank you for the confidence boost though I appreciate it 🙂

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  26. 

    Very best of luck and enjoy!!

  27. 

    Lovely advice, and I am going to use it next year, when I will need to give several talks (a thing I dread doing) and I’m sure it will help. Good luck with your auditions, you have the talent and will succeed.

  28. 

    Great advice, Charlotte! Thanks a lot–and such pretty graphics you chose, too!

    Best regards,

    Cate

  29. 

    Positive words to challenge us… so lovely to read! My best to you, Charlotte. 🙂

  30. 

    Congratulations on your degree. Hope we see you in Hong Kong soon. Seasons Greetings!

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