Dormouse's claim to have a 33% success rate at auditions doesn't ring true, unless he/she has only done around 3 auditions. An actual success rate, even for professionals with active careers, is more like 10% at most. However, here's something you won't often read in any book on auditioning:
Much as I hate to end an article on a downer, there are few jobs where you are weighed in the balance and found wanting in such a way on a daily basis. I have had my physical attributes and shortcomings in relation to a role discussed in front of me as though I wasn't even there. And I'm far from unique in that. You will be rejected several times a month in some small way by your chosen profession. Make sure you have a solid support network - whether that's friends and family, or musical mentors who believe in you. You need it, or you'll suffer.
Which gets to a few things I've noticed from playing nearly thirteen years of professional auditions.
It's not about always about how well you sing. Directors' reasons for not hiring a singer can span every color of the rainbow--too big a voice, too small, too fat, too thin, too bright a voice, too dark, too young, too old, too North American, too European, too this, too that...the list goes on. I've known singers with major careers that have never got work from auditions. I've also played for singers that showed up late, dressed inappropriately, flubbed their high notes, forgot words, and still got the job because they either managed to pull off the aria or just seemed appropriate for the role. One of the most frustrating things I've had to tell singers is that it's not about the best singer "winning" the audition, but about the most appropriate singer being hired for a specific engagement.
The best way to get hired as a musician, period, is to be known as a respected and worthwhile colleague both in rehearsal and performance and then to proceed to get hired, whether via audition or not, by more people and organizations through your professional network. But then again, getting your foot in the door in the first place is the problem.
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