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Avoiding the Wrong Audition Song

Picking songs for your audition that highlight your talent is a fundamental task to success. It’s the wrong audition song if one of these conditions applies:

  • You don’t like the song.

  • It’s out of your league as a singer or musician. For example, the song is out of your range, most notes sit too high, or it’s too difficult musically.

  • The song needs a band to make it work. You’re likely to have only a pianist backing you up at most auditions, so stick to songs that work with this type of accompaniment. If you’ll have a band at your audition, make sure that you know what key you want your song in and bring lead sheets.

  • The song makes the listener think of the famous person who made the song a hit. You want the listener to hear you and focus attention on you. It’s hard to find great songs that no one famous has performed, but be aware of this point as you’re choosing your song.

    If you remember that famous performance, chances are good that someone else will too. The reality-show contestants who sing the famous song really well are the ones who figured out how to make the song their own.

  • You couldn’t sing the song on your worst day. If you constantly have to be aware of your singing technique when you sing it, choose something else.

  • Making a 30-second cut is impossible.

  • You can’t get through the song without crying.

  • Every accompanist you’ve worked with has trouble sight reading it.

  • The song is really negative. Because singers should choose songs that represent their personality and their skills, a negative song may make you look negative. Most people prefer to work with someone positive.

  • The song is overdone. The eternal question is “What’s overdone?” Each year, the answer to this question can change. Assume that if it’s a song that everyone knows and loves to sing, it’s probably done quite a bit. If you have a copy of the song in a popular music book, so do several thousand other people.

    If you see the show listed in the trade paper Backstage or Classical Singer all the time, your song is probably super popular. You don’t have to find obscure songs, but if ten other people sang your favorite song at the last audition, it may be overdone.

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