#NMTVotW: The Audition

First and foremost, I want to point out our #NMTvotw:

This is Kelsey Mielle singing Sixteen Bars by Peter Mills. Kelsey sings beautifully and follows all of our current #NMTvotw tips.

However, the song she’s singing brings me to my current tip: how to do a 16 bar cut. 16 bar cuts need to be playable by the accompanist, singable by the auditioner, and make a coherent dramatic statement and musical arc. And, especially with contemporary musical theater, that is really hard to find!

So here are the pros and cons of the various methods of creating your 16 bar audition song:

  • Buy an audition songbook.
    • PRO: Already has the best 16 bars of the songs picked out for you.
    • PRO: Accompanists will know the songs really well.
    • CON: Everyone is going to be singing out of these, so you won’t be very unique.
  • Pick the last 16 bars of the song.
    • PRO: Usually has the hardest/most impressive part of the song.
    • CON: Miss out on the story – the build to the dramatic tension.
  • Take some of the beginning and some of the ending and put them together.
    • PRO: Get the arc, as well as some intro into the mood of the song.
    • CON: Really need to work with accompanist beforehand to know and understand the changes, which may be awkward transitions.

There really isn’t a perfect way to create a beautiful 16 bars, but remember that the first and foremost thing is that you are comfortable and steller at performing the 16 bars that you’ve chosen. And with the knowledge that the cut can’t really be perfect, perform with confidence that you’re doing the best you can with the material you’ve got.

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