You Never Really Enjoy It; You Just Get Better at It

I was watching TV the other night and saw an ad for an upcoming fall series. One of the characters was talking about coming to terms with something distasteful. (How’s that for specificity? I can’t remember the show or the subject material…) Anyway, she said, “You never really enjoy it; you just get better at it.” That, my friends, is coming to terms with auditioning.

I’m not sure that I ever met anyone who truly enjoyed it. For if you’ve slain these demons, it probably means that you really know who you are as an artist and as a person. That you no longer live in fear of what the person at the other end of the room thinks. And if that’s the case, you’re probably beyond the audition-heavy phase of your career.

A quote from the late Richard Pearlman, who ran one of the great year-round young artist training programs in the country: “Every would-be opera singer, no matter how talented… soon discovers that it’s a long, often painful road from having a beautiful instrument in your throat to being able to compete in one of the world’s most demanding and difficult professions.” Auditioning is just one of the forks in that road.

Here’s an outline of these next 6 weeks on the blog; your mini-course in auditioning for young artist programs this fall. Content depends partly on you, and I’ll answer your questions posted below or sent to

WEEK 1 -The Mind Game

  • Making Sense of It: Where to apply? How to keep track? And what about those fees?
  • The Way We See It: The view from the other side of the table
  • Mental Preparation: Playing the game.
  • For Sopranos Only

WEEK 2 – The Aria List

  • Depth vs. breadth. Standards vs. fresh fare.
  • Fach: Zwischenfach? Pushing boundaries. Transitioning. Reaching.
  • Aria Order: Leading with your strengths
  • Cuts

WEEK 3 – The Preparation of Things

  • Recommendations & forms
  • Résumé
  • Headshot
  • Aria Notebook
  • Clothes

WEEK 4 – The Strategy

  • The Second Aria
  • Musical Preparation: Technique. Coloratura. Intonation. Language. Articulation.
  • Blocking?
  • The Forest and the Trees

WEEK 5 – The Main Event

  • Protocol: Small talk. Introductions. To shake or not to shake.
  • Logistics: Where to stand. What to say. Where to look. How to move. Props?
  • Acoustics
  • The people: The panel. The pianist. The monitor. Your colleagues.

WEEK 6 – The Big Picture

  • How to Get Good at It
  • Feedback
  • Looking Back

Tomorrow, some basic book and website recommendations, and a little more food for thought. Week 1 starts on September 14. Welcome back!

One Comment


Howdy from LA!

I'm following your "making a commitment" lead, and plan to become a regular reader of a blog for the first time ever. Usually I look at the WTOC blog when I get homesick for the summer, but your outline alone has my rapt attention. Of course, as always, I'll be stealing your great ideas wholesale when I pass them on to my clients here – but at least I'm really good at attributing where I get my goods!

Hope you're doing well, and can't wait to see you when you're here in LA!

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