Jeremy's flying solo this week as Gillyanne's recovering from heart surgery. He's sharing thoughts on Successful Singing Auditions, how to cut a song, and how to win at the 16-bar audition.
We're including footage of Jeremy's and Gillyanne's analysis of the song "I'm Alive" from Next To Normal, feedback from the Successful Singing Auditions Q&A webinar, and behind the scenes writing Gillyanne's second book.
And the Inspiration of the Week is linked to Daytime Television.
Go to the Vocal Process Learning Lounge for all the Successful Singing Auditions webinar videos (75 minutes-worth) plus 600 more videos and resources here
Book a coaching session to repurpose your song repertoire for different auditions here
Or sign up for the Vocal Process newsletter to read Jeremy's articles here https://vocalprocess.co.uk/build-your-own-tilting-larynx/
This is a voice. Podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher. Hello, and welcome to Golden Nuggets for the week of March the 14th, 2022. I'm flying solo today. Uh, Gillyanne is recovering from her heart surgery. She's hoping to be back on the Golden Nuggets in a couple of weeks. But she did remind me that when she was invited to write her second book by her publishers, I put my foot down and said, you can't write that on your own. I knew I had insider knowledge that she didn't. So what are we talking about? The focus for the week of March the 14th is [closeup of a singer about to go before the judges hoping against hope that we'll be sharing some useful tips], singing auditions. We wrote the book Successful Singing Auditions as it's always auditioned time in the singer universe. Every performance you do, every recording you make, every job you apply for is an audition. And as the saying goes, you're only as good as your last performance. Actually, that's not true. You build up a working profile, a portfolio of songs that fits you, a resume of jobs, done and dusted, and you rely on that to show people your standard and the sort of things you like doing and get booked for. BUT you still have to audition for your supper. So what advice do we have? Tweet 1 it's audition time again! Singers constantly audition so it pays to know how to do it well. The knowledge in the Successful Singing Auditions book is still valid today. And this Q&A webinar includes the updates we incorporated into our own practice, check it out. There are many parts to preparing for a singing audition that go way beyond just choosing a song. In this webinar, we're going to talk about the decisions you need to make to make the song fit to you, and the job you're auditioning for. We show you how to analyze the song for dramatic style, musical style and story. Then we show you how to analyze the audition and match the two together. When we were putting this Golden Nuggets together, we hadn't watched this webinar for some time. And we're honestly really excited to share it with you because we were so blown away by the depth and wealth of information and techniques in it. Even, we were surprised! Here's a quick video about what's in the Successful Singing Auditions webinar. Hi, this is Jeremy Fisher Vocal Process, and this is Successful Singing Auditions Q&A. Gillyanne and I wrote the book back in 2002, and The Singer Magazine called it "an excellent guide to the whole horrible process". In this 75 minute long performance coaching Q&A, we update you on the new developments in auditioning techniques and the exact process we take our singing clients through before they're Successful Singing Auditions. We show you how to analyze four songs from musical theater repertoire for vocal technique and performance issues. For the men Anthem from Chess and I'm Alive from Next To Normal. And for the women Breathe from In The Heights and of course, Defying Gravity from Wicked. You'll discover how each song's plot, lyrics, and character subtext can help you find your best performance. And you'll learn the process to deal with the potential pitfalls in each song. Get these wrong and your audition will fail. We analyze nine shows for their dramatic type and show you how to choose songs for dramatic and musical style. We're including 16 examples of songs from Little Mermaid to Bare. You'll learn about cuts, how to cut your song for different auditions and the rules for marking up your music. And timelines, step-by-step. This powerful technique helps you get inside the skin of the song and the character. And we answer your most pressing questions on audition technique, including what do I do if I hear someone else singing my song? How do I memorize? How much can I move? And the most frequently asked question, where do I look? If you want to discover exactly how you can have a successful singing audition, click on the link in the description box below to access the webinar. We'll see you there. Tweet 2. You've analyzed your song and the audition. What next? Let's talk cuts. What's a good cut? Do you need more than one cut version? Hint? Yes. Have you mark up the score and what does the pianist actually need to see? Successful Singing Auditions webinar. There is so much we can share about cuts. Including the disasters. I remember listening to one 16 bar cut of a song that stopped literally just before the money note, because the singer believed a 16 bar cut should only be 16 bars.. And that certainly have the panel twitching. We don't even call it a 16 bar cut now. We think of it as a performable unit. If the performable unit has potentially more than 16 bars, it may not matter if the whole excerpt is less than a minute long. So time your cuts, you could end up singing a lot more than 16 bars and still win. Here's a quick excerpt from the Successful Singing Auditions Q&A on cutting the song. Cuts. Big question. We get asked this all the time. What's a good cut. What's a good cut for a short version. So you've got the full song. You've got the short version and then you've got the 16 viral. And once you've done those what about marking up the score? What are the rules for marking up the score? We will say, because again, with the songs, we're going to talk about the short versions on the 16 bar versions. And I'm going to give you some examples of what I think works. We will say that a good cart is a performable unit and it's a unit that makes sense. We were doing a Successful Singing Auditions masterclass last week. And two people. We had 27 people in class, two people said they did their there's, their 16 bar audition cut. And they just stopped after 16 bars. And it was like a truck into a brick wall. It was quite extraordinary. It just didn't work.Gillyanne:
This is where the actors really got to think about the text. If they don't read music, then they need to go to someone who's going to help them to make sure it works musically.Jeremy:
In terms of the 16 bar audition you got a bit of leeway. It doesn't have to be exactly 16 bars. And again, we'll go into more detail later on when we talk about one of the songs in particular about 16 bar audition. Tweet three "informative, inspiring, needed, fabulous, and very descriptive with easy to understand language" that was Sam Chambers. "Just do it, Jeremy and Gillyanne, not just clever and so full of knowledge, but really entertaining." Thank you, Angela Wasley. And that's Successful Singing Auditions Q&A, which is on the Learning Lounge at the moment. We love getting feedback. Sometimes you just put something out there in the world with no idea whether people are going to like it or. Both Gillyanne and I have a similar mindset when it comes to publishing books, articles, webinars, training programs, or apps, we feel there's a need for more clarity on singing, performing, and vocal technique. So to get feedback like that means someone out there "gets" what we're doing. Thank you for letting us know. It means a lot. Tweet 4. Same song, different audition. You know you can repurpose your songs for different auditions? Watch us go in-depth into changing the feel and the aim of the song I'm Alive from Next To Normal. It's part of the Successful Singing Auditions Q&A webinar. Here's an excerpt. The next song is this one, and this is a song called I'm Alive. And the ghost is there for a reason. This is from Next To Normal. Problems with this song on text and subtext. You can do different versions of the song, which is quite fascinating. You can do the upbeat poppy version. You can do the aggressive and the threatening rock version. And in fact, there's another one as well that we'll talk about later. So let's just go to the mind Different subtexts. Can I just do the setting of this song? If you don't know this at the beginning of the show, Diana, the mother is waiting up for Gabe, her teenage son. That's short for Gabriel, her teenage son who is out at all hours and they come in, they have conversation. What we don't discover until about 15 minutes into the show is that actually Gabe died as a baby. Now the family know this, but Diana has never accepted it. So we don't quite know whether Gabe is actually a ghost or whether he's a figment of Diana's imagination. And Diana, this is the show that's about psychiatry. And so Diana is bipolar, with hallucinations, they say, uh, and this is the treatment that she goes through. And Gabe, at this point, she is in a psychiatric treatment meeting. The psychiatrist is saying, you must let go of your baby son. You must say that he doesn't exist. And Gabe stands behind her and sings I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm so alive. And basically he's saying, don't forget me because I'm alive. I'm here. I'm real. It's the people around you that aren't real. So it's a very, and it's a really chirpy upbeat rock song.Gillyanne:
It's extraordinary. And let's have a look at these different subtexts that we came up with. And I might point towards a few of the lyrics. This is interesting because it is although it's marked as aggressive rock, it could easily be done as say a second song, a fairly chirpy upbeat number, with all these, the sort of I'm alive, I'm aliveJeremy:
well, it's a celebration, it's a celebration of being alive and I have seen it done like that. The second one is a really interesting one, which is a taunting one. And that's just to surprise and threaten Diana.Gillyanne:
Absolutely. He says things like, I'm your worst fear uh, and then come closer. Yeah. It's actually quite sinister. Isn't it?Jeremy:
Yeah. And again, I've seen it done like that. That's more, that's closer to the way that it's done in the show sort of alternates between the two. And then there's the third version that we came up with, which is hypnotizing. Uh, One of the things that happened slightly later in the show is that Gabe says, come with me and you'll be alive with me. And she sort of does. So she ends up, it's almost in a catatonic state. She sort of leaves a real life. And goes off mentally with Gabe. In fact, she recovers at the end, but one of the things that we we're working with on this song a couple of weeks ago is actually putting several of these things in or alternating between them so that you get more detail in the song and you can use the subtext in the riffs. Now cut versions. Here is a shorter version.Gillyanne:
This is a whole scene. Isn't it? Jeremy part of the conceit of the song is that it's actually several visits to the same psychiatrist. So time changes.Jeremy:
Between the verses you have dialogue. So there's dialogue that runs all the way through the song. Dr. Madden and Diana are actually in their session. So Gabe is intercutting.Gillyanne:
So we're going to show you first, how to make a solo performance.Jeremy:
Then there is a solo performance. Okay. This song is available as a solo performance, which doesn't have any of the dialogue in this that we're going to show you is a shorter version of it. So from the score beginning, from the beginning to after it's a sore surprise, I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive. And then on the third, I'm alive, go up a tone and you jump to the top of page eight, which is the I'm right behind you section because the pianist has to change key for this. And then you And in fact, there's another slightly shorter version where you don't actually sing to the end, you cut from the last yeah yeah section and jump straight to the last held chord. Now that puts the song as a minute and 40 seconds, which is short enough for most auditions.Gillyanne:
If you're doing a 16 bar version, you know, cause uh, just to show that you've got all those top Gs. and you can sing with energy.Jeremy:
I will do the disclaimer. Now it's 19 bars and an upbeat. And the reason that I think you're allowed 19 bars is that it's an uptempo number and it goes pretty fast. This is about 20 seconds. So start at "when I appear", sing through to "so alive" and then tack on the final "I'm alive" from the very end of the piece to give you the sustained high G. 19 bars and an upbeat.Gillyanne:
Now our advice in these situations, certainly in the UK is that if you've been asked to do 16 bars, but in fact, you can't make a performable unit without the 19, be up front about it, go in save what you've done and time the song so that you can say actually it's 19 bars because otherwise it doesn't work and it takes 45 seconds. Normally they will be perfectly happy. The important thing is not to go in and blag it through 32 bars.Jeremy:
Yeah, as in fact it happened because it used to happen when I was playing auditions a lot. And in the end I'd just say this is more than 16 bars because we have a lot of people to get throughGillyanne:
yeah. And that's really a black mark on your audition card, isn't it? Yeah. Now, and let's just briefly say the sorts of things, when we're thinking about matching the song to the audience you could do either the chirpy OR the threatening version for We Will Rock You.Jeremy:
My feeling is that you'd want to go for the slightly heavier weight version for We Will Rock You and the chirpier version for Rent and particularly for Bare.Gillyanne:
That's pop, yeah, okJeremy:
Over the years we've had so many actors panic. When auditions come up at short notice, they feel they don't have the right song. Often, they don't realize that with a small twist in the subtext, they can repurpose their song for different audition. Because the truth is there is no perfect song for an audition, only a perfect song for you. If you want to increase the reach of your song list book a 35 minute session with me on this link.https:
//DrGillyanneKayesJeremyFisherInspirationSession.as.me/JeremyCoaching. We'll put the link in the show notes. Tweet 5. We break down the song Breathe from In The Heights - dealing with the landscape, cutting the song and how many characters you have to play. And of course not getting vocally tired. Check out the full video on the Vocal Process Learning Lounge here, vocal-process-hub.teachable.com/p/the-vocal-technique-learning-lounge. We'll put the link in the show notes. Navigating your way through a dramatic song can be tricky. It involves understanding the peaks and troughs of the dramatic and the musical writing to help you and the audience through the powerful story. And being in the moment with the other characters in the storyline. It's less about your voice and that belt note and more about the why of the song, why that story, why that pitch and therefore why that quality. And remember, you can choose when your peak moment arrives. The highest note isn't always the most important. Okay. It's Inspiration of the Week time. And obviously I'm by myself this week but the inspiration comes from something that we did ages ago for the British Voice Association. And we had one complaint leveled at us. And that is that Gillyanne and I together are too Daytime Television. Now, honestly, I looked at that and I went, what on earth do you mean? Now I've been looking at Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on their old daytime television program years ago and watching what they do. And as far as I'm concerned, the daytime television presenters have three qualities. The first is they are incredibly professional at what they do. The second is that they can pull really separate disparate things together and make them work as a programme. And the third is they have so much fun together. And I like to think that if you're going to come to a Vocal Process event or you're going to see something, or you're going to go to the Learning Lounge and watch a webinar. You'll see that we have fun in what we do, because I think people learn better when they actually enjoy what they're doing. And also that joy, that laugh is infectious. I mean, laughing and happiness and joy are actually infectious. And so I'm going okay, Daytime Television, I'll take it! This is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.