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"Playbill" featured Pace University's School of Performing Arts Amy Rogers Schwartzreich and Nedra McClyde in "13 Tips to Nail Your College Audition"

09/12/2018

"Playbill" featured Pace University's School of Performing Arts Amy Rogers Schwartzreich and Nedra McClyde in "13 Tips to Nail Your College Audition"

As illustrated by Playbill’s Schools of the Stars column and the annual Big 10, undergraduate programs at colleges and conservatories offering degrees in the performing arts have hit a boom—and with good reason. Just as it behooves a future accountant to be an accounting major, it makes sense for artists to study their craft, its history, practical techniques, and more before entering the world of professionals.

Performing arts programs include an addendum to that common app: the audition. Here Playbill consults six educators and coaches, who sit on the other side of the table during college auditions, offer their best advice for conquering the process to nail your call and find the right fit.
But all agree that this process is about showing who you are and revealing your potential, rather than your perfection.

Types of songs that work well and don't work well
"Songs that are immediately actable; songs that you connect to personally; songs that are in the 'sweet spot' of your voice; songs that make you feel powerful and grounded; songs that are written for people your age; songs that are open or exude joy; songs that can teach us about you in some way; songs that are about change or embarking on something new; songs that have an epiphany in them; songs about helping other people in some way.

"Songs that have repetitive lyrics and notes do not work well; songs about an experience that you cannot relate to or empathize with; songs that are a pity party; songs that are out of your range or vocal style; songs that don’t have a dramatic narrative; songs that require 'high comedy'; songs that have non words in them; an aria or songs from operetta (unless requested ); the newest song that no one has heard; songs that have a lisp or accent; songs that identify you as crazy; songs that tell me you are a star."
Amy Rogers Schwartzreich, director and founder of the B.F.A. Musical Theater Program at Pace University in New York City and author of forthcoming book The Ultimate Musical Theater College Audition Guide: Advice from the People Who Make the Decision (out February 1, 2019).

"Choose more material than you need. By the time auditions come around you should have at least four monologues and six songs. Keep in mind that you’re going to be traveling around the country to audition so make sure you have songs that you can sing even if you’re sick or have allergies. We call those pocket songs. You should be able to pull these out no matter how you’re feeling.

"Read the plays that you choose pieces from. Know the shows you’re choosing music from. Be prepared to discuss the composers, shows, or playwrights if asked. There’s nothing more revealing than asking a potential student about a show that they’re singing a piece from and they don’t know the show."
—Michael McElroy, associate chair/head of vocal performance undergraduate drama NYU Tisch School of the Arts, founder/musical director/arranger for Broadway Inspirational Voices, and Broadway performer.

"If you are not 100 percent certain you’ll hit that note, choose a different song. We love a wide range, but we also love when you hit the right notes. And choose material that is extremely personal that you can have a real connection to. Then find a teacher or a coach or a friend that can run through that material with you over and over to ensure that you’re being completely honest and open."
Nedra McClyde, full-time faculty member at Pace University's School of Performing Arts and former instructor at The New School of Drama and NYU's Playwrights Horizons Theater School, Broadway and television performer. 

Read the full article.