10 Rules for the College Audition Room

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Student actors should expect that college auditions will vary from one school to another; no two auditions are exactly the same. However, there are some rules about auditions that are always the same: be prompt, have a current headshot and résumé, know your program, practice proper audition etiquette, etc.

In the spirit of those always-the-same rules, I offer some commonalities to help take the mystery out of what happens in the college audition room. Although there can be exceptions from time to time, here are some general things you can expect.

For Musical Theater Auditions With an Accompanist
1. When you enter the room, smile and say hello to the person conducting the audition, but don’t expect to shake hands.

2. The person conducting the audition will likely be seated behind a table. Hand him/her your stapled headshot and résumé.

3. Take your book of song repertoire to the accompanist. Greet him at the piano and open your book to the two songs you plan to sing. Show the pianist your cuts (clearly marked) and set your tempo. Do this by softly singing a few bars of the song. Do not snap your fingers or tap on the piano. Setting tempo should only take a few moments.

4. Walk to the center of the room and tell the person conducting the audition what you plan on singing. Then, find a place on the wall just above the his/her head to place your focus. Do not look at them directly in the eyes while you are performing.

5. Give your accompanist a cue with a nod of your head, and begin singing.

6. When you are finished singing your songs, smile and look at the person conducting the audition to signify you’re finished.

7. For the monologue portion of the audition, slate your pieces to the person conducting your audition. If you are only performing one monologue, it should be your “thumb print.” This is the monologue that is the most like you. If you are performing two monologues, begin with your thumb print. Find that same spot on the wall to place your focus, then begin.

8. When you have finished, hold for three seconds, then break and smile at the person conducting your audition to signify you’re finished. Do not say thank you immediately after you finish.

9. If there are no questions, retrieve your book of rep from the pianist and thank him/her. Lastly, thank the person conducting your audition for his/her time as you exit the room with a smile.

The entire audition will probably last about five minutes.

For Musical Theater audition With Recorded Tracks

The only difference involves your playback device.

1. Once you enter the audition room and have handed your headshot and résumé to the person conducting your audition, place your playback equipment on a table or chair made available for you near the center of the room.

2. Be sure your playback is fully charged with no need to plug into a wall socket. Most students use an iPod or iPhone with docking station, or a small portable CD player.

3. When your audition is over, retrieve your playback equipment and exit with a smile and a thank you.

And as always: Be joyous, be brave, and be yourself!

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Mary Anna Dennard
Mary Anna Dennard is a nationally recognized college audition coach and the founder of CollegeAuditionCoach.com, the first ever online prep for college performing arts applicants.
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