5 Minutes of Fame

Auditioning. It’s every singers Jeckle and Hyde. Only by auditioning can singers obtain jobs when they are first getting into the field; but, there is nothing more nerve-wracking than these cattle calls. You have 5 minutes to prove to the audition panel that you are exactly what they are looking for, not those other 50 singers out in the hall. They judge you on your appearance, height, weight, clothing choices, your hairstyle, your acting skills, and above all, your voice. Every minute detail, from diction, to timbre, to breath control is observed and assessed. Then, on top of that, the panel is always looking for that extra something. That “IT” quality. That extra joie de vivre. That charisma which draws audience members, and their money, in.

That’s a lot of pressure on only 5 minutes of your life.

We singers lead a strange life. We spend hours, days, and months in the solitary confinement of a practice room, rehearsing, learning, and practicing one single phrase of one single song in search of the illusive perfection. All of this preparation is somewhat wasted if you wake up with a cold, or allergies, or a kink in your neck, or just have difficulties with the audition’s accompanist and you do not perform up to your usual standards during those 5 minutes.

In many ways, we performers resemble Olympic athletes.  We have strict diets and exercise regimens; we thrive on adrenaline; and we are public figures. Most importantly, we train our whole lives for a performance which can last as little as 30 seconds. These daunting careers are not for the faint of heart, but those who stick with it learn to look fear, regret, anxiety, and life dead in the eye and not even blink. We call challenges adventures and we consider each failure a success because we learn from it….

…..at least that’s what I always try to tell myself before an audition. Truth be told, auditions still give me the heebie jeebies. I know it’s a necessary evil, but how can they know me in 5 minutes? How do I prove my worth? How do I prove my vocal abilities, my professionalism, my in-depth study of the character, and my humility in only 300 seconds?! These panic-stricken thoughts used to tie me into complete and utter knots in my eagerness to prove myself. It’s been a life-long struggle to teach myself that I have nothing to prove, in life as well as in the audition room. All we can do is our best. They may like you; they may not. Becoming frazzled and stressed isn’t going to change that; it’s just going to make your blood pressure higher.

All that we can do is try. All that we can do is our best given the current circumstances. All that we can do is enjoy our 5 minutes in the spotlight. After all, how bad could it be? It’s only 5 minutes.

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