In the midst of unprecedented times, several musicians have faced a new challenge: several auditions that have typically been in-person have now switched to a virtual format. For many musicians, this is a MUCH more comfortable audition method! However, I consider myself as more of a “one and done” kind of gal. I want to walk onto a stage, introduce myself, sing for a judge, and then call it a day… but sometimes, you gotta record your audition from your apartment. I like to think I’ve got my virtual audition method down to a science, and I would love to share it with you!
When I get ready for a self-tape, I treat every moment as if I were going to be there in-person, right in front of a judging panel. I fix my hair, do a whole face of makeup (winged eyeliner and all!), and wear a recital gown. As a singer, I often use a voice steamer the morning of recording or I’ll gently warm up my voice in a hot shower, which is very beneficial as the steam from the shower helps to hydrate your vocal folds. I take time to comfortably warm up. I get into a performance headspace, envisioning my little apartment living room as a recital hall. After some vocalises and a couple of runs through my pieces, I’m ready to get started.
I try my best to turn my living room into a studio. I pull the Harry Styles posters off my wall, turn on a microphone, use a nice camera, and set up a ring light… Or a couple of lamps when a ring light isn’t available. I HIGHLY recommend using UIUC’s undergraduate library for technology and tools you may not have. They have a wonderful selection of microphones, tripods, and even professional cameras you can rent out for all of your audition needs! Once I’ve tested out the lighting, angles, and audio, I get started on recording. I make an effort to let my personality shine the same way it would in an in-person audition. I relax my movements and sing through my pieces with a sense of confidence. Most importantly, I DO NOT let myself feel discouraged when I trip up on a phrase or flub a word. Isn’t that what an audition is all about?
The beauty of a self-tape is to redo a recording if needed, so perform your heart out, don’t break out of your character, and when your audio cuts or your voice cracks, smile through it and give that song another try. After I’m done, I comb through my takes, pick the best ones, and upload them as soon as possible. I like to upload any virtual auditions at LEAST three days before the deadline, as technical difficulties can occur! Then, after everything is uploaded, I take off that dress, I wipe off that eyeliner, and if I can leave you with any snippet of advice, it’s this: go out and treat yourself after that audition. Go get yourself a frappe with extra caramel, or perhaps a big strawberry milkshake. You deserve it!