Wednesday, February 27, 2013


After doing a spate of auditions over the winter, I have been impressed by singers following up when I have asked them to do so.  In the past, this was not always the case, and not doing it (when requested to do so), results in missed opportunities more often than not. 

So, to reiterate, if you sing an audition, and you have feedback sessions with a judge or adjudicator, and they ask you to follow up with them by e-mail or phone - do so!

If you are asked to do that, it means there is interest.  And that is when possible employment gets cultivated!!

Monday, February 25, 2013


My previous post produced this question:

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the quality of recordings...what things you listen for, if overly compressed recordings go right in the waste bin, how much the sound quality itself affects your ability to judge a recording, etc. This is a topic that I feel pretty hazy about when giving advice to young singers. What do people who cast hear in recordings? What should young singers avoid? How much is too much to spend? Thanks!

This is an excellent question.

First, yes, overly compressed recordings are not a good idea.
Second, the sound quality plays a HUGE part.  If volume, distortion levels, etc. are bad, you will have undoubtedly hurt your chances.
Third, make sure that each selection presents you as you are now.  Acoustics, recording quality, when the recording was made all make a difference.
Fourth, having a recording with orchestra is not an advantage, and it becomes a disadvantage if the recording quality is not good.
Fifth, I don't know what all people hear, or listen for, but I would say that I am listening for a great sounding instrument, for excitement to come through the recording, and also, for all the mundane things, like diction, musical accuracy, etc.
Sixth, avoid anything that will not give the first impression that you want to make!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Some post audition and listening to recording thoughts

I have just recently heard a lot of auditions and competitions, including regional Met Auditions, as well as listening to a lot of recordings for our Studio Artist program.  In no particular order of importance, I thought I would share some thoughts, both positive...and less so.  Some of these thoughts I have shared before, so I apologize for repeating myself.

The good......

1.  There is a lot of talent out there!!  This may seem pandering, but it truly is not.  As I get further away in age from the "starting out" demographic, I am heartened by what we have to look forward to in our art form.  While our "business" has all sorts of challenges - some artistic, most financial - the young performers who will give us a reason to meet those challenges are still out there, working to express themselves through the art of singing.

2. Singers have not let the challenges of our business deter them from pursuing the thing they love.  To me this is most heartening, because young singers will not only populate the stage in the years ahead, but they will also be organizational leaders. 

The "still need to be worked on".......

1.  Some singers still don't play to their strengths in competitions.  I still hear a fair amount of singers "trying out" arias in high pressure situations, which is not the time to do that!  A variation on this is doing aspirational repertoire.  In my view, a singer should audition with repertoire that shows where he or she is now, not where they want to be in five years.

2. Singers sometimes don't realize that they can't ease into making a great first impression.  When you audition, hit the listener between the eyes with your best stuff......assume that you won't have that much time to make an impression.  Imagine that you are a musical singer, and that you only have sixteen bars to make your point.  That may give you a better sense of urgency!

3.  make sure your recording is the quality it needs to be.  I am am amazed how often that doesn't happen.