Sunday, February 15, 2009

Open Comment Thread: What To Tell the Pianist in Musical Theater Auditions

I recently found an interesting ExpertVillage video by Athena Reich on how to talk to an accompanist at a musical theater audition. Here it is:

A question for both pianists and singers--How does Athena's tutorial stack up against what you have experienced and recommend as best practices in auditions? Bear in mind that this video is about the musical theater audition process and not opera, which can be quite different. I'll keep mum about my opinions for the moment and write them in the comments once the discussion has started.


  1. Anonymous12:20 AM

    i find that she does a pretty accurate take on how to give instructions. she takes time to talk to us and acknowledge our work with her. the worst is when the singer tries to sing the accompaniment-- and they have no idea how the rhythm goes, or they are singing it in the wrong meter. at least she indicates that it is best to sing the vocal part as opposed to our part! pointing out ritards, repeats, 2nd endings-- whatever-- is always appreciated, especially at hour eight of the audition process when the mts have the music half photocopied with the left hand cut off of one page and no vocal part or chord symbols on the opposite. once, i had a singer say: oh, you look at all that stuff?!? (of course, they don't look to see if the accompaniment is complete.) i think her biggest thing is that she needs to learn how to pronounce us: ac-com-pan-ist.

  2. Vashti Fairbairn2:02 AM

    Great but please take your music out of those page protectors! They're a nice thought, but don't turn normally and can be extremely reflective making it hard to see the music.

    Yes, tempo changes that are not in the singers control [eg. an accel under a long note, or the piano setting a new section] I would like hummed out. Rits and such that are in the singers control and clearly marked, no need to mention.

    To add to the 'no snapping' - please don't quote a metronome marking if I ask about the tempo.

  3. Not much unlike others that I have seen but an accurate take on the piece.

    All in all - a great video.

  4. [a kom pan ist]

    seriously needs to learn how to say the word before she talks to one...i assume she has marked clearly where she wants to stop and start?

  5. Robert Graham10:37 PM

    She is pretty much spot on in my book. In regards to the "snapping" issue it does not really bother me when people snap. For a song like "Shy" it might be handy to indicate the beats somehow as the note she sings on the word "Shy" is quite long. Maybe sing something like "Shy 2341"
    I find singers often give a tempo and then sing in a totally different tempo once they start the song proper. Maybe it is nerves. Sometimes I ask them to sing a part of the song where there are words on every beat - (not necessarily the beginning) to nudge them into an accurate tempo.
    Good video!