With Gondwana National Choral School auditions soon to get underway all around Australia, we asked Jesse, a singer who has successfully auditioned for six National Choral Schools, for timely tips for aspiring choristers.
Tips to Prepare for Your Audition
1. As your audition song must be from memory, make sure you know it back to front. Auditions are stressful, but not having to worry about remembering your piece is a weight off your shoulders!
2. Choose the right song and make it work. Make sure it is something you enjoy singing, but that also demonstrates your musical abilities.
3. Practice your sight singing and music theory. Though you’ll tend to focus on your main piece, the other aspects of the audition are just as important.
4. When choosing a song, make sure the piano part is not ridiculously difficult for the accompanist, as they’ll be sight reading it on the day.
5. Keep your voice in good shape in the days leading up to the audition. Try to stay out of environments where you’ll be shouting or at a risk of getting ill.
Tips for the Audition
1. Warm up wisely. It’s healthy to begin every day with some humming and light vocal exercises, and you’ll sound better on the day.
2. Try to act naturally and stay calm. Politeness and professionalism work wonders.
3. Good posture radiates confidence and self-assurance.
4. Be friendly, but not overly talkative.
5. When you sing, feel free to use natural hand and arm movements, but don’t use choreography or blocking to accompany your audition piece.
Kim Sutherland OAM, who runs the Newcastle auditions, says that some basic skills are required to be chosen for National Choral School,”I will be looking for a clear singing voice and the ability to sing in tune. Some sight singing ability is also important,” she said.
Kim added that, although having had singing lessons is not essential, some experience of singing in a choir would be helpful.
Members of Kim’s Hunter Singers have been to past Schools and she says they loved the experience and that there was a tremendous culture of support. “My singers have found the experience life-changing. their skills developed enormously over the two weeks.”
Auditions for NCS are granted for all applicants and the audition is designed to give those applicants a chance to demonstrate their singing ability and other musical skills. Everyone has strengths in different areas and NCS recognises this fact in the audition process. Applicants are expected to develop their skills from year to year and older choristers are expected to exhibit a higher standard of aural and sight singing skills.