AUDITIONING 101 (a new 5-part series)

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Learn how to improve your Auditioning Technique

Are you approaching your first audition?  It can be kinda nerve-wracking if you don’t know what to expect. Or maybe you’re a veteran Journey performer, but you’ve always wondered what-in-the-world the artistic team is thinking and writing about while you sing?  Whether new or seasoned, we want to take the guess work out of auditioning and help you build confidence!  So, we’re launching a new blog series called AUDITIONING 101.  From now until January 9, 2014 we will post periodic blogs to help get you prepared for “the big day”.

PART 1 – What To Expect At A Journey Audition

PART 2 – Getting Smart About Your Song Choice

PART 3 – The Callback List is Posted…Now What?

PART 4 – Taking the Guess Work Out Of The Callback

PART 5 – And The Cast List Please…

Part 1: What To Expect At A Journey Audition

At Journey Theater, we think every experience we offer is worthwhile for learning, confidence building and growth.  Classes are the primary way for building a foundation in theater arts and are great for personalized instruction.  Beyond classes though, being in a main-stage production provides students with an extended opportunity to practice those newly acquired skills within a practical application.  Participation in a show starts with an AUDITION. Is it gonna be like “American Idol” where the judges pick you apart and the audience giggles under their breath?  Or how about the movie auditions where a spotlight shines in your face and out of the pitch black of the balcony a voice comes down to intimidate you?  Nope!  Journey Auditions are nothing like that!

There are generally two parts to the Journey audition process.  First, there is a General Audition where a student performs individually, a song of their choice, for one minute.  The next day, there is a Callback Audition which consists of a dance audition, cold readings from the script, and singing from the score.

The General Audition

On Friday night, students arrive and sign up for an audition number.  There’s additional paperwork that is filled out (or can be downloaded and brought with you) including the Audition Form, Parent Committee Form, Costume Form, and optional Crew Form. Students must be signed in before the designated end time in order to audition.

Students audition with a group of 9 other students.  They sit together and approach the stage one-at-a-time when their number is called.  When it’s their turn, the student comes to the stage, gives their accompaniment/karaoke cd to the TREK student running the boom box, introduces themselves and their song, then performs their 1-minute piece.

Things that really “WOW” the judges…

  • A big smile
  • Using a loud, clear voice and continuing with good projection all the way thru
  • Dressing nice – not in costume, but like you would for a school presentation.  A clean and professional look goes a long way in making a good impression.
  • Performance energy – they’re looking for performers for the stage.  Songs shouldn’t be choreographed, but they DO love to see body energy, facial expressions, and gestures that help tell the story

The General Auditions are “open” which means students perform to an audience of family and friends that are there to support and encourage you.  It’s a great experience and everyone is helpful and friendly…especially if it’s your first time on stage.

Who are the “Judges”?

Just in front of the performance area is a panel of “judges”.  They are the Artistic Team for the show.  Usually, the Director, Music Director and Choreographer are at the table.  They all love theater, love working with students, and love the show they’re doing.  Often they’re performers too and have stood in your exact spot and had to deal with nerves too.

The Artistic Team is looking for PERFORMERS.  Are YOU what they're looking for?
The Annie Get Your Gun artistic team leading by example.  (L-R: Starleen Benke, Jeff McHenry, Marla Riley)


While they’re sitting at the table, they have adjudication forms that they’re completing for each student.  Some things they’re evaluating:

  • Stage Presence – how a student presents themselves physically, how nervous do they appear (you may BE nervous, but you can learn to hide it and use it to your benefit – our Core Classes help with that)
  • Diction & Projection – how clearly the student speaks and how strong of a performance they give (DR100 helps with this)
  • Pitch & Range – how well a student sings in tune and demonstrates their voice. (V100 will prepare you for this)

They also have a place to write general comments about the performance and start making some decision about who they would like to see at the Callback Audition.  MOST IMPORTANTLY they are your CHEERLEADERS!!  They smile at you, help you get back on if you forget the words and generally support your whole process.


Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to start practicing your song!  “I have to pick out a song?  How do I know which one to sing?”  Stay tuned for the next post:  PART 2 – Getting Smart About Your Song Choice

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