After the Audition
I’m regularly on stage teaching, speaking or acting and am a voice teacher, so I sing all the time. But earlier this month I had my first musical audition in around 20 years. While straight acting auditions have become much easier for me over the years, I was terrified at the thought of singing in an audition. Go figure! Even after working with my amazing voice teacher – and rehearsing in front of friends – I still became so nervous my body tensed, so my singing voice went out the window.
I almost canceled the audition; but before doing so, reached out to the director asking if I could sing a different style of song, one my body knows in muscle memory and I know I can sing even when fear sets in. That song is Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues. I learned it with my fiancé accompanying me on guitar, while we both felt Johnny’s presence in the room. (By the way, this is not a practice I would recommend to any of my auditioning students.)
The director encouraged me to keep the audition slot and sing one of the songs in the traditional style I’d been working on, saying his team was very easy to audition for.
After receiving such a kind and encouraging response, I couldn’t cancel my audition slot!
Two things happened after that. 1) A friend and business colleague sent me an MP3 file designed to release fear patterns in the brain, and I listened to it and tapped along (about a 14 minute process) every morning the week before the audition. 2) I chose a different song to rehearse, lower than the other songs I’d been rehearsing – one of my “shower” songs I’ve been singing for years. I have a super high voice, but sang alto for years before beginning voice training in my early 40’s. This song, Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man, felt closer to Folsom Prison Blues in my body, and in my mind.
That’s the song I sang for the audition. I read for one character from the script (and of course thought of six things I could have differently after I left the theatre.) But I didn’t embarrass myself. My singing voice was fine other than one wavery, weak note right before the end.
I wasn’t asked to come back for the dance audition and wasn’t cast. But I met my goal of having a solid audition, and something has shifted in my brain since I had the courage to do it.
The following day, I ran across a live staged version of the musical RENT on TV and watched the whole thing. I couldn’t stop singing along. I loved the movie and love the soundtrack and have been singing the songs ever since. Now…is it possible?…I’m actually looking forward to my next musical audition?! I will keep singing and working on repertoire for me and my students in the meantime.
Somehow, just having the courage to do this audition has further freed my voice. Isn’t that something?
I learned so much in the process. 1) Performers, singers, voice teachers need to have a regular vocal practice. (I didn’t, until now.) 2) It’s uber important – thanks, Linda! – to regularly check your body for any tension that will constrict your God-given voice, and let that tension go – encourage it to leave. You can’t do this just one hour, or even eight, before the audition. 3) I fully realized how much the thought processes starting with impulses in the brain affect the rest of our body. And our entire body is our vocal instrument.
What a humbling, and ultimately uplifting, experience.
Come sing along with me now, will ya?!
I have worked with Laura on and off over the years – as a professional speaker, she helped me increase my vocal variety and taught me how to project my voice to the back of the room (in such fun and interesting ways: “Money, Money, MONEY!”). As a professional singer, she has helped me safely roar out the rock tunes and ballads, and taught me how to smooth out my registers, etc. Laura is professional, competent, and knows how to help people with their vocal-goals! Highly recommended! -Annie N.
I’ve been working with Laura for 8 months. She has helped me significantly improve both my public speaking and singing voice. Most importantly though, Laura helped me rediscover authentic self-expression and confidence in my ability to positively impact the world with the words that I speak! -Lennon R.
Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)