Audition Book Recommendation

audition michael shurtleff

Audition by Michael Shurtleff

“Audition” by Michael Shurtleff

I had a director recommend this book to me.  He said that even though it’s about auditions, it was a great book on acting too.  He was right.  This is a must read for anyone interested in being on stage.  To wet your appetite, here is an excerpt about singing in auditions.

Singing the Song: “The most important element in singing at auditions is not the forming of sound but the creation of a relationship…

Most singers don’t which is why they are dull and lifeless, concerned as they are with making notes and pear-shaped vowel sounds.  Audiences are concerned far less with the quality of voices than with the emotional life that is being created.  The great singers of popular music are not those with the greatest voices but those who know how to communicate feeling….

“Most audition singing is out front, into the theatre, toward the audience.  Since most of us are inexperienced with relating to groups, the singing actor needs to make a relationship that is highly personal and real to him.  In his imagination he needs to place out there in the audience a person in the balcony and another in the orchestra section.  He needs to create relationships of strong need to these two people, so that his singing is asking for their response.  He should pick highly sympathetic people (like his sweetheart or his music teacher), who are on his side, rooting for him, anxious to approve, and offering emotional response when he sings well to them.

Place these life people in the theatre and sing to them.  Not to the auditors, not to an audience, but to real people who mean something to you.  Occasionally, you may indeed include the real auditors who are actually there: include them when you feel you’re doing well, so that they get you at your most secure.  However, do not sing the whole song directly to the auditors (unless they specifically ask you to).  I’ve been listening to actors sing for many years, and I know there is nothing more wearing on the auditor than being sung to! It means I have to be the other half of your love duet if you do that to me; I have to smile encouragingly and send back feelings, when what I want as an auditor is to watch you objectively and judge you, not be the other half of your intensely personal relationship.  Include me only occasionally.  Your chief drive should be to create a relationship with your chosen partner that is warm, loving, needful. That’s it.  (Audition;  Michael Shurtleff, Bantam Books, 1980, pp.205-206)

If you have a great book on auditions, please share.  I’ve love to read it.

About Chuck R. Gilmore

My personal singing journey from failure to success gives me a unique perspective and special insight into the problems you face as an aspiring singer. Everything from not being able to sing high notes to lack of confidence singing in front of others. Because I've solved them in my own voice, I know how to help you.

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