A Few More Audition Tips

All, as we begin the screaming descent into audition season, here are a few more takeaways from recent auditing experiences for your consideration. Happy Singing!

Audition Outfits

  • All you gorgeous ladies, consider avoiding miniskirts when auditioning for panels who don't know you well, no matter how fabulous your legs are. You're beautiful! But miniskirts veer an outfit pretty firmly into party clothes territory. So I highly recommend keeping it knee-length until you're established. Then do whatever the hell you want. See The Blazer Test in my previous posts.
  • A reminder: bare skin draws the eye, so where do you want people staring? I'd be surprised if a singer ever responded "my upper arms" or "my shins".  The correct answer is always "my face!"  Be conscious with the skin-showing choices.
  • A reminder: wear well-fitting clothes! A comment I've been hearing for years is how aaaawkward it is for auditors when singers are wearing clothes several sizes too small, so small that everything is on display. Again, you're beautiful! But seriously, they hate that. See my previous post on "discomfort".


  • In the Experience section of your resume, don't mix up offstage and onstage credits. Also don't present a resume for another line of work entirely. Offstage experience of any kind can be touched upon in your Special Skills section or detailed on your website, where people go when they want to learn more about you. For an audition, list relevant singing experience only. And this is because you need to:
  • Make your resume easy to scan. No center justifying, tricky photo placement, double spacing to fill the page, etc. A panel should be able to glance down and immediately find what they're looking for: what you performed, when you performed it, who you performed it with, where you were trained, who you trained with, etc. Here's what goes through the mind of an auditor: "Who is this? What have they done? Who did they train with? Have they done _______(piece relevant to what the auditor is casting)?" They glance down to assess this information. How long it takes them to find it determines how long it will be before they look back up at you. Remember, you likely have precisely four or five minutes of their time. Possibly two. Don't you want the majority of that time to be spent watching you and not staring at your resume trying to understand how you broke down the information and/or jumping around superfluous information? Superfluous: see offstage experience above and master classes below.
  • The Special Skills section is only for things that might be relevant in convincing an auditor to cast you, because those things might add something significant to their production. So this might be juggling! Or playing the violin! Or being a professional ballerina! Or having significant stage combat experience! Or, if you're auditioning for a summer program or small company that needs its participants to wear many hats, the fact that you have some significant technical experience, like costuming, stage managing, or set design. Anything that's part of the basic singer skill set doesn't qualify as a special skill. Basic Italian? Basic Piano? One year of ballet? EVERYONE has those skills. So only list things that aren't part of basic grad school training, like Pro Ballroom Dancer/Fluent in Italian/Concert Pianist/Astronaut/etc. Special Skills are what experts would find special. Anything else in this section is regarded as filler, superfluous, or, dare I say it, giggle-causingly silly. If you don't have genuine Special Skills, then just leave that section out. No one will notice or care.
  • A Master Classes section should only be present if you're auditioning for school or a young artist program. I don't think they have any value on a pro resume, unless it was a recent, major public performance, in which case why isn't it listed under your Additional Experience section? "Master Class with Renee Fleming, Carnegie Hall, 2014". Someone please educate me: what's the value of listing these? What do you think they say about a singer?


  • When selecting rep, always consider who you're singing for and choose accordingly, but don't go out of your wheelhouse to match the room. If you're not really that great on oratorio but you're scheduled to sing for the BSR Annual Auditions, don't feel you haaaaave to bust out an oratorio piece that might potentially be underwhelming. If you're a musical theatre singer with musical theatre technique and a musical theatre resume, it's not going to do you any good to present an underprepared opera aria to a room full of opera experts. ALWAYS sing what you sing best. If your best rep doesn't match what the panel would be interested in hearing, then it's possible the audition isn't the right venue for you yet. But a panel full of opera experts would rather hear you sing Les Mis really well than hear you sing Verdi badly, you know what I mean?


  • Be considerate when you cancel an audition. Related point: watch what you post on social media when you cancel an audition. No one wants you to sing when you're impaired for any reason, but no one wants to be blown off, either, so just be mindful of managing those impressions.

Have a great season!


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Angela Jajko, mezzo-soprano, has been praised in such publications as the Boston Globe and the Herald for her "peaches and cream" voice and dramatic delivery.  Upcoming performances include engagements with Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra and Greater Worcester Opera, and recent performances have included Prinz Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with the North End Music and Performing Arts Center Opera Project in Faneuil Hall, Miss Hannigan in Annie with Crescendo Theatre Company, The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot at Theatre at the Mount, selections from Carmen in The Greater Worcester Opera Gala in Mechanics Hall, Tessa in The Gondoliers with The Sudbury Savoyards, Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with New England Light Opera, Carmen with Greater Worcester Opera, Offenbach’s Island of Tulipatan with New England Light Opera, the roles of Ruth, Buttercup, Phoebe, Katisha, and The Fairy Queen in concert with the New England Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and as a featured soloist in concerts with Opera on Tap, Masstheatrica, FIRSTMusic, Ocean Park Festival Chorus, Parish Center for the Arts and New Hampshire Opera Theatre. Her performances have also included the roles of Carmen, Theodorine, Augusta, Marcellina, Hermia, Savitri, Pirate Jenny, and La Zia Principessa. She has also performed with Odyssey Opera, PORTopera, Granite State Opera, Longwood Opera, BASOTI, Harvard University, and the International Lyric Academy in Viterbo, Italy.  She has been honored by the American Prize competition and holds degrees in Vocal Performance from The New England Conservatory of Music and the University of California at Los Angeles.  She is currently the Associate Executive Director of NELO, an artist coordinator for Opera on Tap Boston, a Board Member of the New England Gilbert & Sullivan Society and a Board Member of L’Académie, a critically acclaimed orchestra specializing in performances of French Baroque music in health institutions. She has served as Costumer for a number of productions with companies including Guerilla Opera, Company One, NELO, BASOTI and Longwood Opera. She has also served as a Director for NELO’s Rising Stars program and in other productions as Assistant Director, Stage Manager, and Props Master. She has extensive experience in administration, office management, and event management in a variety of industries. Visit her at http://angelajajko.com/.