On Finding New Music…

So you’re unhappy with your book? You want a new pop rock song but don’t know where to start? You’re sick of singing the same old Golden Age tune. It happens. Here’s what you can do: put in the work.

Go online and spiral into a youtube.com rabbit hole and find the songs you’ve been searching for. Go on Spotify (you should have Spotify, it’s almost 2018).

Find songs that bring you joooooyyyyy. You should probably NOT audition with the song you stared out the window and cried to for hours, that seems like NOT setting yourself up for success.

Start with the artists you love, and artists that are similar. Listen to their music. Start small, set yourself a time frame, 30 mins a day searching for music. If that seems like a lot to you then think about it this way: you’re investing 30 minutes of time into the business of you, and into finding the perfect fitting new audition song for your career.

Don’t stress too hard about finding a rare hidden song that’s unknown, or worrying that the song you connect with MOST is overdone. As I’ve said before, most songs are overdone to a casting director, they’ve heard them all a million times. The person who’s going to book the job is the person who acts the song the best. Unless it’s a singing job… then obviously be the best singer.

I play enough classes where I hear: “I’m just like soooyyy bad at finding music… like … I don’t know how to do it… or like… what’s good.”

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You KNOW how to get online and listen to music,  don’t play…    You are just being lazy and not putting in the work.

What’s your favorite musical? Who wrote it? Go online and see what else they have done and the songs of theirs people are singing. Who’s your favorite pop rock artist? Spotify who is similar. Don’t listen to pop? Ask a friend, go to Billboard and see what’s big and what people are listening to. Sometimes it takes trial and error, trying things out and them not working. Ask a friend or a coach to go thru the song with you and see if it works, if it shows you off enough, if there’s a cut in the song for auditions, IF IT WORKS ON A PIANO, ya know, just a few things.

Put in the work. Don’t be lazy.

On Page Protectors… or Not…

It’s a constant conversation that singers, pianists, teachers, coaches, and casting directors all have. Should your music be in a page protector or not?!? ERRMEGRDDD WHO KNOWS?!?!?!?

It ain’t that deep. It really is YOUR preference. If your music is neat and organized and the holes are intact and the pages are easy to turn then you don’t need a page protector for them. If your music is a little crinkled and the holes are torn, or if it’s freshly printed and the pages are static and sticking together, then throw them in a sheet protector.

That should be obvious, but you’d be surprised. It goes along with my previous post about the condition of your music

When it comes to page protectors, I’d really recommend getting decent ones that are non-glare. (Although to be honest, the glare will always happen if the piano is at the wrong angle…lights reflect off plastic, it’s science) You can get nice ones that will hold up at Staples or you can go to your nearest office supply store and find sturdy ones there.

It’s really just using common sense. If you hate them because they’re bulky, then don’t use them. But you better have some solution for when your music rips or the holes tear. Either have a page of hole reinforcements or a few spare page protectors in the back.

If your music is in good shape and you want to leave it unprotected, then make sure it’s DOUBLE SIDED FRONT AND BACK. Single sided pages make for more page turns and that’s annoying. Staple or tape the music so it’s front and back or make sure it’s a double sided print job.

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

On Binders…

As Musical Theater performers your rep book is a form of identity. A friend should be able to pick up your lost book (don’t lose your book) and identify who’s it is by the song list.

Your rep book, most of the time, is housed in a binder. It should be obvious that that binder should be in good condition, no: great condition.

Things your binder SHOULD NOT have:

  • broken rings
  • rings that don’t close
  • rings that overlap
  • covers that fall off
  • a width that is greater that 2 inches, preferably 1.5”
  • a cover that closes / doesn’t stay open by itself.

 

These should all be obvious, but you would be surprised at how many of these things happen on the regular. Invest in a good binder, it’s the sign of a good professional. Music falling out in the audition because the rings aren’t closing makes for a sloppy audition. And again as I’ve said before, you should SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS in the room.

Go to staples.com and order a couple. Keep them and switch them out when you need to. Good binders make for a good audition.

Examples of sadness:

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Sloppy….

Don’t use these…. they’re cheap and don’t stay open 🙁

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Girl….align yourself…
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A Note On iPads in Auditions…

With the advent of the iPad, people are saving tons of printing time, paper, and money. I’ve noticed a few more people each month bringing their “books” into auditions in their iPad, and I think it’s great.

But here’s the thing: you have to be careful. Some pianists hate playing from them, or are unfamiliar with them. (That will disappear in time)

I shouldn’t have to tell you this…but:

YOU WANT THE PIANIST TO BE COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR MUSIC. 

And if you are using an iPad, please use software that has page turn capabilities. No one wants to continually scroll up while playing… we use both hands to play… most of the time.

Use ForScore, or even the Musicnotes app (although I have a note about musicnotes music, more later). And the screen should not be broken or shattered. – useyerbrain

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The page turn should be a tap or a swipe like turning a page… like tinder.

Again, you should gauge the room and the pianist. I’m not trying to age anyone out, but I once sat in auditions with an older gentleman playing, and when he went to turn the page, he swiped the iPad so hard that it flew off the shelf as tho it was paper… He didn’t flinch, and the iPad shattered.

This medium is more familiar to the pianistic community now, so that problem is less common. But beware.

Checklist:

-Brightness up.

-Easy Page turns (use an app like ForScore)

-Cuts MARKED