Archives For Auditions

Unexpected Inspiration

February 3, 2019 — 49 Comments

Header 3rd Feb 2019

As someone at the very start of my professional career with so much to learn it always surprises me from where I can draw inspiration.  As with everything in life when faced with something that is new to us it is important to draw on the experience from those around us, from Parents, Teachers, Coaches, and our peers.  But sometimes inspiration can come from the most unexpected places.

During an audition or when performing on stage getting my makeup just right can be a bit of a hit or miss affair and can have a huge impact on how I feel on stage.  As singers, we spend hours and hours practicing the many technical aspects of our craft but often when it comes to our stage appearances the way we present our selves can be a little daunting without the help of the many talented makeup artists that help out with an Opera production.  So, when faced with this challenge on my own I can sometimes lack the skills to make the best of my appearance when attending an audition.

Over Christmas whilst at home with my parents and brothers we watched some episodes of a programme called Ru Paul’s Drag Race.  It is a competition in which Drag Queens take on a series of challenges to demonstrate a range of skills that will ultimately make them the winner of the competition and enhance their performing careers.  I loved watching the way the competitors rose to each challenge, gaining self-confidence and improving their stage presence with each round. What I never expected to discover however were makeup tips for stage performances, but that was exactly what I found.

Many of the performers recorded their makeup routines on YouTube which I have found so helpful.  Their make up tips are brilliant for my job, they spill their secrets for how to hide unwanted blemishes and how to make it last for a full performance which can often be a problem as I found out in the heat of the Summer performances of Candide at the Minack Theatre.  So, fingers crossed this is another skill I can continue to develop and with it give myself the extra confidence that is sometimes needed for an audition or competition.

Have you ever found inspiration in an unexpected way? If so, I would love to hear about it 🙂


I have some other good news to share with you, following the success of Waterperry Opera’s ‘Mansfield Park’ last Summer, Jonathan Dove has agreed to become an Honorary Patron for the festival and I can’t wait to reprise the role again this July.  Last year the tickets sold out within weeks of going on sale so this year there will be two extra days.  Once the tickets go on sale I will let you know in case you want to come along to Waterperry House in Oxford and join in the spectacle.

Waterperry 1

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Waterperry 3.jpg




January 15, 2017 — 78 Comments


This week has been another interesting and exciting week for me. With lots of challenges to overcome, starting with a tube strike by the London Underground on Monday. It could not have come on a worse day for me as at Midday I had an audition on the other side of London to get to.  The trip using the tube connections would have taken me about 50 minutes normally. So when I heard about the tube strike I gave myself an extra hour and half to use the buses with the goal to get there 30 minutes before my warm up time. A Northerner’s ignorance! I also thought it would be a great idea to take my trusty pink wheelie trolley bag with all my belongings rather than just a back-pack. [Which turned out to be a blessing as I’ll tell you later.]

It started well as the first part of the journey was OK, my bus stop is relatively near the beginning of the bus route so I was able to get a seat with my bag.  For the first 5 minutes I thought, goodness this tube stress is just malarkey, I have a seat and the bus is moving! HOWEVER at the next stop next to what would have normally been a busy tube station the amount of people waiting for the bus was just insane. The only thing I can compare it to is leaving the Manchester City Football stadium at the end of match and everybody trying to get on the same bus. The bus was packed both upstairs and down within minutes, bodies against bodies with very little wriggle room. People were pushing, desperate to get on, they seemed willing to risk getting their limbs trapped in doors, with families not being able to board together they had to agree to separate and travel on separate buses. The risk assessor inside of me was wishing I had a seat belt but I was quickly reassured because we were moving at a snail’s pace.

We were making very slow progress and the minutes were slowly ticking by. I was conscious of the time but kept telling myself “You left with plenty of time, you will make it”. Then suddenly it was announced that due to the long delay the bus was now having to change route and proceeded to kick off all the passengers a mile from the stop it was supposed to take me to.  My adrenaline kicked in and I managed to walk to the next connection which was a mile away in about 10 minutes. But the bus stop I had planned to use was queuing around the block.  Remembering the crush that I saw earlier I decided to walk back along the route and find a quieter stop. Every road was jammed solid, the buses, taxis, cars weren’t making progress even the bikes were finding it difficult! Success! I found the terminus for the bus route and managed to board the bus and soon we started moving along side streets  towards my next destination, but when we joined Oxford street again we ground to a halt.

I only traveled 800 yards in 30 minutes, with my audition time looming, I worked out it would take me about 35 minutes to walk the remaining 2.5 miles, and that If I stayed on the bus I would probably miss my slot. So I asked the bus driver to let me off and luckily he was a very nice man and he let me off at the next stop. I then zoomed and jogged like nothing before. Friends of mine will laugh as I am a terrible runner and would have been better off doing jetés down the pavement. So I weaved through the crowds with my four wheel wheelie bag (which has now had a very good review based on its mobility skills!) And to be honest, I must have had the look of fearless determination as people began to move out of my way as I flew towards them.


My Trusty Wheelie Bag

You’ll be relieved to know I made it just in time, to get changed fast and warm up before singing. Phew!!

Now I’ve been kicking myself for not getting a picture of the crowds for my blog, but here are a few I have found online. I must admit I did try to take a picture but people look at you very funny and I didn’t want to advantage of other people’s misfortune.



Picture From The Evening Standard – Tube Strike 2017

Then following the Audition I had to return to Royal College of Music for a rehearsal and I had the bright idea to walk back along the bus route rather than wait for the next bus.  The traffic was moving so slowly I just kept walking from stop to stop.  It started raining and after 2 miles but still no bus had caught me up.  I kept going down the Strand, then walked down the Mall, past Buckingham Palace and then up Constitution Hill.  I was started to tire now, but still no bus had passed me so I decided to refill with cheeseburger and a coke because my city mapper app had told me that I had burnt off the equivalent calories to this from the walk of my first half alone. So why not make the most of it. When I got to the Hard Rock Café it looked shut from the front door and I couldn’t see much life inside. I was panicking because there wasn’t much I could afford in the area, Kensington darling! I was starving and in need of a burger, so I searched for a possible way in. Luckily! It was under refurbishment so they were seating customers’ downstairs in the original part of the restaurant. Which was super cool! Sadly, I had not walked far enough for an Oreo cheesecake.  After a quick recharge I walked the rest of the journey and made it to school on time for my rehearsals which were fab!

End Of Term

December 13, 2015 — 77 Comments

Me and My Big Brother Matt

Goodness, this past week marks the last teaching week of 2015 for me, and with it I started to question the changes and decisions that I know I may encounter in the New Year. However, just for now, as I travel to London on the train for my last audition I am enjoying the moment and feeling full of the spirit of Christmas.  It makes me reflect on the things that I am grateful for, good health, awareness of myself and for this wonderful life that I am lucky enough to have. On a more immediate note I am also thankful to my parents for help with travel costs and my big brother for putting me up a couple of nights and for the Christmas treat that I know he is planning for me when my auditions are finally over, can’t wait 🙂


Beth Taylor, Me and Susannah Bedford

Last week I had the joy to perform , alongside my friends and fellow RCS students, Handel’s ‘Dixit Dominus ‘ at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow. I have thoroughly enjoyed preparing this challenging work and the triumphant manner it has to stir up energy.

I’m looking forward to visiting home and my family at the start of next week, and taking some time to catch up on cuddles and kisses. I can’t wait! 🙂


A Little Bit Of Research

However , there is no rest for the wicked, I have plenty of exciting new music to prepare such as my part in my 4th year opera scenes. I will be performing the part of ‘Fiordiligi’ from ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ in the Act 1 finale, which is a fun and marvellous scene full of drama. I will also be preparing for my performance of ‘Zerlina’ in Bowdon Festival opera’s performance of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ in a mix of English translation and Italian. A project that I’m very excited about.

But most important of all I want to wish you all a truly wonderful Christmas season and I hope that it brings you as much happiness as it has always brought for me.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.