Ready for your time to shine? Get ready for your upcoming choir audition with these tips from Ann Arbor, MI voice teacher Elaina R…
Choir songs are all about group mentality. Singing as part of an ensemble, working on blend and teamwork, is very rewarding. But there are also opportunities to get in the spotlight once in a while, and those can be rewarding too.
Choir songs with solos provide singers with a chance to sing alone – a very different experience than singing as part of an ensemble. If you are thinking about auditioning for a solo in choir, here are a few steps you can take to prepare.
1. Determine if it’s a Good Fit
When solos in choir songs come up, it’s natural to jump at the opportunity. But the truth of the matter is that not all solos will fit your voice.
The first indicator is your voice part in choir; a tenor solo probably isn’t fit for a bass, for example. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule, since plenty of people can sing higher or lower than they are called on to do in choir.
Do you think you may be a good choice for a solo? Try singing through it, using a keyboard or piano to help you hit the right notes. If the solo feels too high or too low for you, you have your answer. If it feels comfortable, it’s time to go on to Step 2.
2. Learn the Words
Once you’ve decided to audition, take a break from singing and look at the words. Are they in English? If so, read through them and make sure you understand them. If not, look up a translation. You can also read up on the background of choir songs, as well as the context of the piece as a whole, to help you get a better idea of how to sing the solo.
3. Learn the Music
Next, learn the music itself. To make the process easier, learn the rhythm first. Pay attention to the time signature, and try clapping through it. If there are tricky parts, jot down reminders for yourself. When I encounter difficult rhythms in choir songs (or anywhere else), I write the beats in above the staff.
When you’ve mastered the rhythm, play through your part on the keyboard (it’s OK if you aren’t comfortable with the piano as long as you can find your notes). Be sure to note the key signature and play sharps and flats when present.
4. Bring it to a Voice Teacher
A voice teacher can help you sing the solo well by coaching you on phrasing, breaths, and other technical details. Many voice teachers are also well-versed in languages and may offer coaching with pronunciation. To really master solos in choir songs, enlisting professional help is a must.
5. Have a Mock Audition
Do you get nervous about auditions? Join the club! To help assuage your nerves, ask your voice teacher to conduct a mock audition. Practice walking into the room and singing the piece as if you were in an audition. Your teacher will give you feedback to help you look relaxed and sing well, even under pressure.
If you have the opportunity to audition for a choir solo, remember these five steps. See if the solo fits your voice, then learn the words and music. Take the solo to a voice teacher – and conduct a mock audition – for maximum preparedness. This process fully prepares you for the audition so that you can do your best and, with a little luck, enjoy singing your well-earned solo.
Need some specific song ideas? Check out our list of 400+ songs to sing here!
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as through online lessons. She is currently working on a Master of Music at the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!
Photo by A&M-Commerce