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BWW Blog: Knock That College Audition Out Of The Park!

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Shenandoah University Student Stephen Dransfield with prospective students in 2016

Are you or your child auditioning for a college Musical Theatre program and have some questions? NEVER FEAR- It is I: Christopher, a current senior Musical Theatre student at Shenandoah Conservatory, here to help the college audition process go as smoothly as possible!

My Background

I am currently in my senior year at Shenandoah Conservatory's Musical Theatre program, and luckily I have never once doubted my choice to come here. I auditioned at seven schools over a three month period during my senior year of high school. Being from Connecticut, I mainly applied to schools within a modest distance from my hometown, ironically Virginia being the farthest. I auditioned for college theatre programs almost every weekend the first couple months of 2013, and I can honestly say that although it was not easy, I had a lovely time.

If you can afford it, I greatly advise you to audition on campus, as that not only shows the institution you are dedicated to the program but also gives you a chance to have the school audition for you. Not every educational environment or campus is for everyone; you might prefer to have a larger student population, or on the flipside: having smaller class sizes might be more appealing. It's about finding the best fit for YOU. When we get down to it, it doesn't matter which alumni attended the program or which prestigious professors are on the faculty: it's about finding the place where you will thrive for the next four years.

MATERIAL

Each school has specific audition requirements, be sure to locate it on their website. DO NOT MAKE THIS MORE DIFFICULT THAN IT NEEDS TO BE: I greatly advise using similar if not the same package of songs for all of your auditions. Be sure to have additional songs in your audition book, in case the panel asks for a different choice.

Do what you can NAIL. Perform what you LOVE to sing. That being said, present something that is generally appropriate for your age...No one wants to hear a seventeen-year-old girl sing "Losing My Mind" from Follies, as that just reminds the faculty of their waning mortality, which takes the focus off you, and we can't have that: because you're FABULOUS.

My voice teacher: Matt Edwards is one of the leading pop/rock voice teachers in the country, and also has a blog called "The College Audition Blog" Click HERE to see a list of songs you stray from, as many schools or casting directors have released such lists in order to improve the quality of performances in the audition room. As much as I love "On My Own", I don't know if that would be a strong choice to showcase yourself when everyone and their mother has done it...Including Miley Cyrus...

Please do not do monologues about: death, sexual assault, suicide, or involving excessive explicit language. There is nothing more abrasive than a monologue where someone recounts the experience of their dog being hit by a car...

APPAREL

The best advice I've received about what clothes to wear for an audition is "Dress like you're going on a first date." Dress nice, but like you. If you don't wear dresses, don't wear a dress. You're not getting married, you're not going to the prom, and you're not going to a funeral. Dress with the intention of a wonderful first impression, which you will make, because you will be genuine and true to yourself.

Be You

Shenandoah Conservatory's Musical Theatre program coordinator Kevin Covert is quoted in saying "Be YOURSELF and have FUN--this is not nuclear physics." Don't forget that we do Theatre because we love it, we have a passion for it, so shine bright like the sparkly star you are! But also be honest; the panel wants to get to know you, not a false facade of what you want to be. Those scary people behind the table want you to SLAY your audition: they're rooting for you! WE'RE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU!

Be you, but don't be crazy...Let me clarify; having worked several 'Theatre audition days' previously I have met a plethora of personalities, including the rude, whiny, and uptight auditionees. Don't get me wrong, I'm probably one of the most empathetic people you'll ever meet, so I can understand that this process can be a stressful time (I lived through it). But that does not warrant negative energy, especially in the holding room...

Remember that everyone else in the room is in the same boat you're in: "I just want to get into a college theatre program." I made so many incredible friends during the college audition process. I luckily stayed in touch with them (via social media) witnessing their progress in their respective programs and am so thankful to have forged such wonderful relationships.

Let's Review:

  1. Choose age appropriate material that you LOVE and SLAY

  2. Don't complicate song choices, but make sure you are within the guidelines for each program

  3. Dress like you're going on a dinner date with a dashing boy or gorgeous gal!

  4. Be you. Be honest. Be Kind. (You is kind. You is smart. You is--)

I am SO excited for you all to shine bright and have SO much fun during this process. You'll meet me if you come audition at Shenandoah: I'm the skinny blonde boy with the bow tie checking you in. Break a leg! Take a deep breath and knock it out of the park!


*Note: Everything in this blog post is subjective and my personal opinion. I am not an official representative of Shenandoah University, just a mere student! Auditioning is never 'cut and dry' and you may find other articles with severe contrasting ideas to mine. I definitely implore you to do more research on what other people's opinions are on the whole process. Thanks for reading!*


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