Tuesday, May 29, 2012

First presentation from Classical Singer Convention

I had a great time presenting at the Classical Singer Convention in Chicago, and we had a great turnout for the presentatiions.

Here is the handout from the first presentation:

A Holistic Approach to Preparing for YAP Auditions
William Florescu
I.               What are the “Building Blocks”?
a.     Vocal technique
b.     Languages
c.      Correct repertoire
d.     Musicality/musical accuracy  - these are not the same thing, but you need both!
e.     Selling the piece
1.     A sense of your body
2.     Dramatic intent
3.     A sense of the room
f.      Knowing when you are ready to audition, knowing who can give you the best advice
1.     Teacher?
2.     Coach?
3.     Director?
4.     Administrator?
5.     Peer group?
6.     All or some combination of the above?

II.             The “Hard Goods”
a.     The resume
1.     What to put on? – what’s relevant
2.     What to leave off? – what’s “filler”
b.     The photo
1.     Many more options than there used to be
2.     Cardinal rule – make sure it looks like you, so the person hiring has another aid in remembering you!
c.      The recording
1.     Mp3s are becoming more popular (i.e. YAP Tracker)
2.     CDs – if you burn a cd make sure that it works in all machines – a common problem are cd s that only play on a computer
3.     Make sure the acoustics on different pieces don’t drastically change the quality of your voice.
4.     Particularly early in your career, there should not be large lapses in time between recordings, because the voice can change quickly – make sure you are giving a snapshot of you now.

III.           Applying
a.     Pay to Sing or not Pay to Sing?
1.     Research pay to sings carefully – some are worthwhile, while others are strictly money takers
2.     Year round programs – when you are done with grad school or when you take a hiatus.
3.     Summer programs – some are tiered for different level singers.
b.     Delivery system – more and more companies are using YAP tracker, but check to see  - many resources are available now – Classical Singer, Opera America Career Guide, etc.
c.      Age? – This varies from program to program but you can reasonably expect that 35 will be the upper end of eligibility, with some programs having lower limits.

IV.           Auditioning
a.     Dress
1.     Classy, but don’t draw attention to the outfit – it’s you that should be remembered! 
2.     Keep your hair out of your face!
b.     Scores – have your scores accompanist ready with cuts, page turns, etc.  – this is a problem OFTEN!
c.      Entering the Room – confident, friendly, eye contact – are you aware that the audition has already begun??
d.     Pronounce the titles of your pieces correctly – again, this is an issue far more often than you might imagine.
e.     Assume you will only get to sing one piece – pick one that gives the most complete snapshot of you as a performer

V.             What we (or at least I) are/am looking for
Simply - The complete package!
a.     Yes, first and front and center, a fine voice, but…
b.     Confident delivery, dramatically true
c.      An “individual” artistry – not a sense of mimicry
d.     A desire to communicate – not a “defensive” audition – which is all about not making mistakes, but really saying something through your performance
e.     Command of linguistics – diction, pronunciation, inflection
f.      A sense of preparedness and professionalism – in performance, dress, speaking, etc. – these are all harbingers of whether or not you  will be a good colleague

VI.           After the Audition – feedback?
a.     Try to find out the company’s policy before approaching.
b.     Begin any written request for feedback by thanking the auditioner for taking the time to do so.
c.      Don’t overweight any advice you are given, but rather add it to other advice you are given, and try to find commonalities that can help you in your development.

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