So I may have gone on a month hiatus from writing on my blog. To my followers, I'll just say it was a blogger's vacation. Life got very busy, especially because 2012 has turned out to be an amazing year so far and it's only February. This is my year of good change.
I wanted to talk today about the mental prep for auditions. I have my U of T Opera school audition on Saturday and I am in prep mode. What usually happens: about 2 days before the audition I begin to think of nothing else. You will find me withdrawing from conversations because my mind has wandered to a certain section in my aria. I will be found hiding in a corner at work (I work at my grandparents clothing store) trying to sing quietly through my aria. Sometimes, you'll even find me staring in one of the mirrors there while I speak through the text in my aria. Basically, there is a lot of humming or singing quietly in corners or what looks like me talking to myself in plain view of the public. I basically look a little crazy. Haha.
BUT this is all in the name of my art and to have a successful audition.
I find that the most important work I do before my audition barely involves singing. It is taking the time to truly sit with the text and know it inside and out. This is what informs the singing. I have always known that I don't sing well unless I am fully in the moment. My emotion drives me dramatically and vocally.
I'll share my day before audition prep.
1. Sit down with the score and read every word as well as your translation. Be confident that you know it's meaning and remind yourself of some words that you sometimes forget the meaning of.
2. Speak the text as a monologue (in the original language). How would you say these words if this were you? Yes you are portraying a character, but this audition also needs to show who you are as an artist.
3. Repeated text. This is it's own category because it is something we all struggle with. This is the part I find most challenging when trying to keep an aria fresh. Make sure that you are finding different ways to say each line of repeated text. When in doubt, look at how it is set musically. Composers like Mozart, Strauss, and Verdi knew how to write for the voice and how to really set text. The answers will always be in the music if you seek them!
4. Put on a recording of the aria and lip sync your way through it to solidify musical entrances and such, but to also have a dramatic run through of how you would perform it.
5. When all that is said and done, sing through trouble spots. If these arias have been in your top 5 for a while, singing them 800 times is not going to make a better audition. The singing is there. That's why we study technique.
What will set you apart as an artist is how you communicate your story to the panel. Always keep at your technique and singing, and TRUST that it will be there for you when you call on it! There are a lot of pretty voices but too few competent communicators.
I hope this helps some of you with an alternative for audition prep. These are things that seem to work for me! Try some if them out if you'd like. Now I am off to practice what I preach!