AMERICAN IDOL AUDITION INSIGHT

I have been wanting to write about a very interesting experience I had just recently at Disney Springs, Fl. with American Idol Auditions.  As a local prominent vocal coach, I was contacted by their producers to recommend students to audition.  I rounded up some of my very qualified students who were at least 16 years of age and got them to the audition.  It was very different than the auditions I had seen on the early Idol auditions in various towns across the U.S.   Usually auditions are at an air conditioned hotel ballroom, but here in Orlando, they were outside in tents at Disney Springs.  I would LOVE to know the answer to that question…Wow–was it HOT!! 

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Another thing I noticed was the CROWDS!  It was HOT and yet there were thousands of people there vying for the few spots that were going to Hollywood. 

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It was amazing that they could possibly sing after spending so much time waiting in line!  I don’t know exactly what they are looking for.  I wish there was a “rubric” so I could know what they wanted because I sent them some VERY capable, versatile, amazing talent and they took only a FEW people out of the thousands of people they heard that day.  Some came with instruments and most came just to sing, but (from too far away), I heard a lot of amazing singers.

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Getting insight from my students, I noticed some interesting things: 1. One of the students I sent told me that a guy from her group got a ticket to Hollywood.  He had already been on the show “Boy Band”.  I guess success breeds success, or they needed young looking boys  2. There were some “bad sports” with really bad attitudes who, having been”rejected”, were putting on a show of their own, which was probably largely the reason they were rejected to begin with (not to mention they lacked quality training, voice quality, etc.).  3. Best of all, NONE of my students regretted a MINUTE of the experience of auditioning.  They all said it was a great experience and they met many very interesting people.  I don’t regret the experience either! 

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Here is a link to my Audition Workshop, which I hope helps you prepare for the next AMAZING opportunity!  BREAK A LEG!

Audition Workshop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnjVLikg1HI

To prepare for your next audition, check out my Voice Lesson Series: relaxedsinging.com

 

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How To Audition Workshop Video

Here are some excerpts from my recent workshop on ‘How To Audition.’ I hope you enjoy it, and if you would like a copy of the workshop notes, contact me by e mail – Ann@palmcoastsummercamp.com 

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Audition tips

annpicsummercamp 

 WOW what an amazing few months it has been! We had another VERY successful musical theater camp season, enjoying the opportunity to work with a very talented and enthusiastic cast for our LEGALLY BLONDE JR. production! As the school year came to a close and in working with my private students who range from age 9 to professional adults, here are some insights I would like to share.

 #1 AUDITION PREPARATION:

*Choice of song-There were some cast members who did NOT show what they could really do at the audition. They chose a song that did not show off what they could do vocally at all. I could tell they were songs that were “hip” and popular, but showed us (the production team) NOTHING! Their songs had a range of about 3 pitches, they sang it with terrible “stylization”, with no volume, clarity, or focus. Some were very nasal, which we later found out was not their real voice at all.

*Not prepared with accompaniment. We were in a setting where the internet was “iffy” at best. When you are going to an audition, BRING YOUR OWN CD, sound file, and small speaker just in case. We had a few people who did this, and the CD had not been checked, and did not work on our Cd player. Most of those auditioning wanted to use youtube, brought a phone that was dead, etc. It was very frustrating. I DEMAND to hear auditioners sing WITH accompaniment because I want to make sure they can match pitches with the accompaniment. I will NOT cast a lead who cannot show me that they can sing on pitch with the accompaniment, in the KEY it is written for. It is complicated enough to put on a show without having to change the key of a song because I have a lead who does not have the range for the part. I will just cast someone else.

*Not prepared for dance audition. I actually had a couple of people wear FLIP FLOPS to their audition! I realize this is Florida and we are near the beach, but you cannot safely dance in flip flops! Not only that, dress comfortably and look your best! After all, in an audition, you are selling the entire package, and that includes YOU! We are looking for people who really WANT to be in the show, your appearance tells us that.

*LATE!! Be on time for an audition and be prepared to stay for a while, if you want a lead role, anyway. Usually the guidelines are set out in the audition information. But sometimes, as in our case, a LOT more people show up than planned, so we went later than planed. We also had the lack of music preparation problem stated above which added at least 1 hour to the audition time, fiddling around with the internet. We had a lot of people show up late, and several who “could not” stay for line reading.

 #2 AFTER CASTING MISTAKES:

*TAKE WHATEVER ROLE YOUR GET WITH A GREAT ATTITUDE!!

Story of auditioner “Ellen”. I am changing her name, but we lucked out. We only had one “casualty”. Actually I don’t think it was the cast member, but probably was this person’s parent who caused her to be dropped from the cast list. I received an email within 1 hour of posting the cast list, where this cast member who had danced well, had an average voice (good enough for ensemble), so received an ensemble role with a small speaking part. Keep in mind this was a “Junior” show which is shorter than regular show, has mostly music numbers and less lines than a full sized production. Anyway, the parent wrote that her child had “better things” to do and that it would be easy to recast her “1 line” to someone else. Guess, what? It WAS! I immediately dropped this cast member from the show, no explanation, no questions asked. I feel badly for the potential first-time cast member because this person really missed out! Our ensemble members were EXTREMELY busy the entire show, and played at least 5 different characters throughout the show. She would have had many featured dances, probably even more lines added, etc.

Do you think this person will be cast in other shows? Not mine, and if she doesn’t learn from this, not any others either. Directors usually do not cast leads unless they know the auditioner, his/her teacher or voice coach, or have had good experiences with him/her in the past. You work your way to the “top”.

 #3 YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR:

What is my advice to anyone who wants to get into a QUALITY production? GET TRAINING from a QUALIFIED teacher/coach! Often they will not be the “best deal in town”, but you get what you pay for. Look at their background and follow the success of their past students. Are their students versatile and are they out there performing, getting scholarships to colleges, leads in plays and musicals, winning singing contests, etc?

I conduct an AUDITION WORKSHOPS, my last one was Aug. 12, just before the American Idol Auditions which are coming up in Orlando that same week. The beginning of the school year is a good time to brush up on your skills, since school and the theater season brings many occasions for auditions. You need to be PREPARED! I also have a voice book/DVD series available for purchase as well. See links below

Article In The Newspaper About Our Show Legally Blonde, Jr.

Summer Camp Website

Facebook page 

 Contact me if interested in a workshop near you Click Here To e Mail Ann

Ann’s Online Singing Course

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BEWARE WHEN SHOPPING FOR A VOICE TEACHER!

Lately my heart has been burdened by the plethora of people who are mounting the “Professional Voice Teacher” sign on their business door. Would you expect a person who is not and never has been a Medical Dr. to put up a Doctor’s sign and start practicing!

Here is a funny video on this subject–the girl is hilarious, but NOT a voice teacher, giving the Pentatonix  “voice lesson”!

 

 Unfortunately in my state, there is no criteria set as to who can pose as a music teacher. Some singers who have had little to no training TEACHING singing techniques, consider themselves “professional teachers”. And how are parents to know? They obviously don’t. I have seen some students still taking lessons for 6 years now from some voice “teachers” who are still singing with incorrect placement shout-singing with no beauty to their voices. This is unacceptable! If you are a voice teacher, I apologize and pray that you will help to be part of the solution, not the problem. Here are a few steps to take as a consumer when looking for a voice teacher.

 First of all, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Go to performances of several voice teachers’ students. You will get a taste of the quality of and style of vocal quality that these instructors produce in their performers. If they all sound alike, or sing with bad technique, WATCH OUT!!! Every singer should be developing his or her own “sound”, with good consistent vocal technique. Ask yourself, “Is this singer in control of his/her voice? Is he/she confident? Is he/she breathing with full relaxed breaths from the diaphragm. Or is he/she breathy, nasal, off pitch, etc?

Carefully LOOK AT THE TEACHER’S BIO. If they do not have any education in Vocal Music, watch out! It is not enough just to be a good singer themselves. From experience, I know that at a music university we were taught not only quality vocal production as singers ourselves, but how to teach the concepts to others. Obviously, years of experience DOES count in this business. Would you hire a lawyer who has never tried a case? Or a first year intern to do surgery on you?

 OBSERVE CAREFULLY THE PROGRESS OF THEIR STUDENTS. If they are not improving at a reasonable rate, then stay away. If your throat is hurting when you finish your lessons, DO NOT CONTINUE! Your throat should NEVER hurt after a lesson. This is a warning that tension is causing stress on your voice and it is NEVER O.K.

 CHEAPER IS USUALLY NOT BETTER! You get what you pay for. I know I am not the cheapest in my town, but people get results quicker, so in the long run, it is cheaper because you get greater results with the money you do pay out.

 In conclusion, I had a young student a few years ago who had paid thousands of dollars to be in pageants (registration fees, costumes, etc.). She had NEVER learned HOW to sing though. And of course because of this she could never place at pageants or get an agent to take her on. She actually SAVED money taking lessons from me, and learned HOW to sing. She was soon on a touring group to Europe within months because she learned how to sing! You get what you pay for…IF you shop around and take this advice. You shop for the best value at the grocery store, why not do it when looking for training for your child in the performing arts!

There are music students who post “lessons” on youtube for class projects. Some are pretty interesting, but these should never take the place of a quality, experienced professional to teach you voice lessons on an ongoing basis. 

 

 

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CHEWBACCA MOM BRINGS IT!!!

Wow—I had no idea how talented Chewbaca mom was! It is refreshing to hear the Star Spangled Banner sung without changing keys. She started on a pitch that she can handle, then move up to the higher section with ease. I noticed in this video of her singing the Star Spangled Banner, how great her placement is. She “scrunches” her nose especially on the higher notes, which gives her power and makes her match the higher pitches with her lovely lower chest voice. I teach this technique in my vocal series which you can buy at http://relaxedsinging.com/ Way to go, Chewbacca mom! Keep up the good work! For further information about Chewbaca mom, here is a recent article about her.

To develop a free, relaxed voice, go to: http://relaxedsinging.com/

 

 

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