Are you thinking of joining a choir? Nervous about the audition process? Here, we demystify chamber choir auditions and explain how to maximise your chances of success.
Do your research
Choirs are very different: in size, in repertoire, in setting and in style. Do you want to sing intimate classical pieces, or belt out big gospel performances? Not to mention, choirs rehearse on different days – you want to be sure to go for one which fits your schedule. Check out choir websites and get in touch to find out more, to make sure you find the right choir for you.
Try it out
Most choirs will let you come along and try a few sessions before auditioning. That way, you’ll get a sense of what the choir’s all about before deciding to commit. Talk to other singers and find out their views on what helped them pass the audition.
Practise your skills
Choirs often ask for a few technical tests, including a bit of sight reading, rhythm clapping, and/or singing in harmony. Different choirs may prioritise different skills – for some, sight singing may be less important. Once you know what the choir’s after, spend some time going over these techniques. Don’t worry if you’re not perfect – very few people are! But it’s important to show some familiarity and understanding around these abilities.
Prepare your performance
You’ll almost certainly have the chance to show off your skills with a chosen piece. Try to pick one which matches the choir’s style, but also shows off your talents. It’s always best to pick a piece you genuinely like – that way, practice can be something you look forward to!
Think about how you present yourself
Choirs expect very different levels of formality. Make sure to wear something which matches this, but which also feels comfortable for you. If you’re not sure about what to wear, there’s never any harm in asking. If a choir tells you it doesn’t matter, then they mean it! Aside from this, triple-check your scheduled audition time and ensure you give yourself plenty of time to travel – turning up late doesn’t give a brilliant impression. If something unavoidable delays you unexpectedly, try to let the choir know as soon as possible.
Warm up your voice
On the day, it’s beneficial to do some vocal exercises before the audition to make sure your voice is ready. Some people advise certain dietary considerations, like avoiding dairy, or sticking to drinking room-temperature water. Remember, you’ve sung before, and you know what works for you and your voice – stick to choices which work best for you.
So much of choral singing is about perseverance. If you mess up, remember – everybody messes up! Choirs don’t insist on perfection in an audition. It’s much more important to prove a mistake doesn’t cause you to give up. If you make one, simply keep on going. Show you can maintain your performance, no matter what.
Remember why you’re here: you love to sing. That should never waver, even during an audition process. It’s normal to be nervous, and every choir understands that – but always remind yourself that every member of the choir is united by their love of singing, and that’s a love you share. Genuinely enjoying music will go a long way to showing you’re in the right place.
Never stop singing
With these tips, you’ll hopefully pass an audition for your first-choice choir. But sometimes, an audition may not go your way. That’s normal, and it’s okay. If you don’t pass, be sure to ask for feedback, and keep in mind: the right choir for you is still out there. Keep searching, keep singing, and before long you’ll find your choral home.
Post written by Swéta Rana.