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College Audition Songs

frankly_scarlettfrankly_scarlett Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
edited March 2009 in Musical Theater Major
What are some good auditions songs for high mezzos, both up-tempo and ballad? I am so nervous about my college auditions and I want to find the best songs possible. I'll also need at least 2 monologues (contrasting themes). Suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Post edited by frankly_scarlett on

Replies to: College Audition Songs

  • wishaponastarwishaponastar Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    well...you could look into "the life of the party" from the wild party. its def a belter piece. idena menzel sings it and takes it an octave up because she's psychotic, but you dont have to. it isnt done too often, and its a great uptempo. if you're looking for golden age stuff you might want to look into hello, dolly or kiss me kate.
  • soozievtsoozievt Registered User, ! Posts: 31,288 Senior Member
    Just a comment about Life of the Party. It is a great song but is IS done a lot and is overdone for college auditions.

    Scarlett, it is too hard for people on a message board to suggest songs when we know nothing about you or your skill set or attributes or strengths or type. You need to find songs that showcase who YOU are which may be different than the next "high mezzo" girl. You need to familiarize yourself with the MT repertoire for mezzos, both the older traditional material and the contemporary repertoire. If you are working with a voice teacher, they should be able to guide you as well. Listen to CDs of singers you like who have a similar voice. Find material you relate to where you can tell a story. There are so many things to think about with selecting audition material and I am not going to outline that all here now but I don't think we can do the work of finding your songs for you. When you say you want the best songs possible, they must be the best songs for YOU and we don't know you. Perhaps if you provided a song or two that has worked well for you in the past for auditions and if you are looking for something similar, that is a start. Right now, your question is so general that you need to be far more specific. Look at anthologies for mezzo singers as a starting place. Research musicals for repertoire. There are zillions of songs out there and I couldn't suggest one to you now with such a general question as you have posed.
  • DramaLady415DramaLady415 Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    Till There was You, Christmas Lullaby, Some Things Are Meant To Be, I Know Things Now, I Got The Sun in the Morning....there are a couple to try...
  • danimal88danimal88 Registered User Posts: 119 Junior Member
    Also, I know there are a million tenor solos out there but I was wondering if anyone had a good place to start? I've got a bunch of books and such but its just so much music; if I knew a show or a composer to look out for, that would be immensely helpful.
  • DramaLady415DramaLady415 Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    I'd Rather Be Sailing! I love it when guys sing that.
  • danimal88danimal88 Registered User Posts: 119 Junior Member
    I love A NEW BRAIN! Thanks for the suggestion. Also, does anyone know any good, famous MT tenors who I could look up on iTunes to listen to some of the stuff they've sang? The only male MT star I can think of is Brian Stokes Mitchell but he's more of a baritone. Any ideas?
  • thebakerswifethebakerswife Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Anyone who is looking for audition pieces should definitely buy "Auditioning for the Musical Theatre" by Fred Silver. Not only does it list a BUNCH of audition songs (over a hundred), it also has great information about pretty much every aspect of auditioning.

    The audition songs that he lists are not well-known and many are by composers like Gershwin, Kander and Ebb, and Cole Porter. There are a bunch of categories such as: songs for teenagers, romantic leads, character actors/actresses, belt songs, songs for dancers, and comedy songs. I was able to find several uptempo/comedic SOPRANO songs in the list (any sopranos out there know exactly how difficult that is!). It's a wonderful resource for both college and regular auditions.

    Also, ASK YOUR VOICE TEACHER - he/she probably has millions of songbooks that you can go through, as well as a knowledge of which songs would suit your voice.

    I got several of my monologues off of a monologue database online. I know, I know, not the way they tell you to do it, but I did read the plays after finding the monologues... which I personally think is fine, as long as I have a thorough knowledge of the play when I go in to audition. Do a google search and you should come up with something. Monologue books are also a good resource (again, not what you're supposed to do, but again, as long as you read the play I don't think it matters).

    I hope that helps. Good luck everyone!
  • DramaLady415DramaLady415 Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    Matthew Morrison,Gavin Creel,Mario Lanza maybe? ooo Cole Porter would be great...what about "I Happen To Like New York" I'm in LOVE with that song...He's written so many songs, you're bound to find one that works.
  • Lulu'sMommaLulu'sMomma Registered User Posts: 222 Junior Member

    Do you have copies of the "Anthologies" for Mezzo/Belters? If not, you can get them quite cheaply via Amazon.com. Also, are you working with a GOOD voice teacher? She/He should be helping you build a "portfolio" of audition pieces. Unless you are an absolutely magnificent belter, don't attempt numbers like "Life of the Party"(YES, it IS overdone lately), and, at the most, only use one "belt" number and only if the school that you are auditoning for suggests it (some schools specify that a woman may use a "belt" piece and a man a "patter" piece for one of their numbers, IF they really show off the performer in her/his best light.
    This is a very important time in your life and you really should be going into it hand-in-hand with your teacher. Good Luck and have a great time doing it!
  • CoachCCoachC Registered User Posts: 806 Member
    Most schools actually discourage the use of patter songs for boys or girls (if only unofficially), because they:

    1. usually don’t show vocal range

    2. are notoriously difficult to coordinate with an accompanist (the same reason many schools discourage or ban use of operetta rep such as “Poor Wand’ring One”)

    3. tend to be gimmicky and not to show a wide acting range (although there are exceptions, such as “Not Getting Married” from Company)

    Lulu’sMomma, could you tell us which are the schools that REQUEST patter – cause I need to be prepared when a student comes and tells me he needs such a song for college auditions – lol! ;) If this list is longer than I previously knew, I've gotta start paying more attention to patter songs for guys - otherwise all of my male students will be stuck doing the Major General's song from PIRATES! :) :) :)

    Many great vocal technique teachers have few or incorrect ideas about the needs for college audition song rep. A really complete “book” (a technical note but one that carries through to professional MT: “portfolio” is used to refer to the collected work samples of tech and design people, whereas MT singers refer to their "books") for college auditions contains:

    1. & 2. a contrasting pair of songs – the ideal pair contrasts in all 4 of the following areas:
    - era of composition (many schools require at least one pre-1960 or pre-1965 song)
    - vocal range and style presented (this is where belt/mix and legit pairings come into play for women)
    - musical style (ballad vs. uptempo – and further, jazzy, traditional, rock, pop, etc.)
    - acting range shown (comedic versus dramatic, etc.)

    3. a standard – whatever type of standard best fits an individual performer’s voice – especially if you don’t have a standard in your “go-to pair” - could be a ballad or an up, and does not necessarily have to be from the “Golden Age” of MT (1940-1960)!!! Many standards were written pre-1940, such those by Berlin, Kern, Gershwin, Porter, Johnny Mercer, Arlen, etc. (but many of those composers ALSO were writing from before 1940 until past 1960!! – so check the date of the specific song if you are looking for your pre-1960 song)

    4. A pop-contemporary MT song (esp. if your go-to pair doesn’t contain one of these) – here’s where you can throw in overdone songs such as those from Last Five Years, Songs for A New World, Wild Party, maybe even Millie – because these are in your book to be chosen by the auditors, not for you to choose to present - keep reading for an explanation :)

    5. Anything else you do uniquely well – which is of course very specific to the performer!!! - that doesn’t fit any of the above categories

    6. Anything that is in your book to swap into your go-to pair on a bad vocal day (when you’re sick, etc.) or to act as a 3rd go-to piece (Baldwin-Wallace requires 3 16's)

    6. POSSIBLY a classical piece/art song - required if you are auditioning for OCU and a few other programs, but your legit song should take care of what this shows about your voice and vocal technique for most schools

    The reason to have more than your go-to pair, aside from having “sick audition day” alternatives, is that at some schools, the auditors may page through your book and see what else you have that they are interested in hearing you sing. This does NOT mean you bring everything you have ever sung – it means your carefully chose the 5-6 pieces you will have rehearsed the heck out of and are excited about showing off to a school! The request for additional song material doesn't happen often, but it definitely does happen. However, DON'T freak out and think "aaahhhhhhhhh - now I need MORE than 2 good songs?!?!?!" ;) It's the go-to pair that you should focus on finding - the rest is your "show off" stuff that doesn't fit into a go-to pair (in which you also strut your best stuff, of course!)

    Professional audition books are set up somewhat differently than the above, since professionals need go-to 16-bar cuts for every conceivable style of music that could be requested: standard/legit, pop belt, traditional belt, true rock song, jazz song, novelty-comedy song – but don’t worry about that yet!!!

    Happy searching! It's like an MT treasure hunt!

    P.S. Keep in mind that "everyone" has the MT Anthologies, so use them as a good place to start, introducing you to shows you may not know. That doesn't mean not to do a song from them if you really "own" it - but don't let buying an anthology do your rep search work! ; )

    P.P.S. Wanna know about more B-way shows than you ever knew existed??? Go to ibdb.com (Internet Broadway Database) - there are song lists there!!!! : )
  • MTgeekMTgeek - Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Hey guys-- want to know a great way to familiarize yourself with some new material, especially old standards? Go to the largest public library in your area, search a composer (Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Bernstein, etc) and grab as many of their CDs whether you have heard of them or not. Grab yourself some headphones, kick back and skim through the songs. Listen to the first few seconds of each one; no need to listen to the whole score. Find ones that catch your ear and write them down. Once you've got your list, search through the sheet music section to see if they have vocal scores for the songs you like. Even if they dont, at least you have a few songs you can learn and get the sheet music from another source.

    This is what I did to find songs for my rep. book. I took out a whole bunch of Gershwin shows on CD (all shows I had never heard of), skipped through the CD and if it turned out to be a male solo song, I listened to the whole thing. I ended up with a list of about 3 or 4 great Gershwin songs that the library also had sheet music for. Now one of the songs that I found that day is my uptempo for auditions. Believe me-- take advantage of your public library. You may find that its an MT gold mine.

    PS: Attention fellow male auditioners-- check out shows like Can-Can, Oh Kay, Fifty Million Frenchmen and Lady Be Good. They have some wonderful material for guys :-)
  • Lulu'sMommaLulu'sMomma Registered User Posts: 222 Junior Member
    I'll run through my materials and get back to you in a few days!I know that it is a recent change and I was surprised too, but the feelings were that these tyes of songs can truly showcase certain performers in their best light.
  • CoachCCoachC Registered User Posts: 806 Member
    Thanks, Lulu'sMomma! :)
  • Lulu'sMommaLulu'sMomma Registered User Posts: 222 Junior Member
    Here you go- fresh from the CCU Web Site! I KNEW I'd seen it somewhere recently!

    The Vocal Audition

    The vocal audition requires the preparation of two selections chosen from the standard musical theatre repertoire. One selection should have a sustained legato line; the second should be "up-tempo" and provide a contrast in rhythm, mood, characterization, style and approach. It may show special skills such as comic timing, dramatic flair, ability with patter, or, for women, the "belt" voice. By selecting songs that are similar in every way, inexperienced auditionees often miss the opportunity to show a range of abilities.
  • CoachCCoachC Registered User Posts: 806 Member
    Thanks Lulu'sMomma!!! I think you mean CCM's website (CCU is Colorado Christian U) - and I forgot the patter mention was there! :)

    But potential patterers, I'd still proceed with extreme caution, for the reasons I listed above... ;)
This discussion has been closed.