We are thrilled that you are considering singing with Nashville Singers. We know some folks may find an audition to be stressful, so we have prepared this primer to help you better understand what to expect and make you feel more at ease with the process.
While Nashville Singers is an amateur chorus, we make every attempt to strive for a polished musical product. Therefore, while we don’t have the expectation that our singers be of “professional” caliber, we do require singers to demonstrate certain musical and vocal proficiencies so that they will be able to keep pace with our rehearsals and make a positive contribution to our artistic goals. All members should be so skilled as to be able to memorize all their notes and words within 30 days of being introduced to a piece of music. Part-predominant learning tracks are usually provided to assist with this process.
Upon arrival at one of our rehearsals, guests interested in membership will be given a very brief vocal evaluation to determine their vocal range. This will allow us to find the best fit for each singer within the four voice parts.
Every prospective member interested in joining the chorus is required to audition. This audition is usually not conducted by the Director of Music.
Here are the basic components of the audition process:
Range: Those auditioning will be asked to start singing a scale from the lowest note in their range on a "La" vowel all the way to the very top of their range.
Vocal Quality: The singer performs a song of their choice a cappella.
Intervals: The person conducting the audition plays on a piano or sings twelve different sets of 3-5 note intervals. The singer is asked to mimic these notes and intervals correctly.
Ability to Harmonize: The person conducting the audition will play the melody line of a familiar song like "You Are My Sunshine" on the piano. The singer will be asked to woodshed or improvise a harmony part "above" the melody line from start to finish. He will then be asked to improvise a harmony part "below" the melody line from start to finish. Having all singers able to harmonize is critical as the repertoire and arrangements of the chorus often pass the melody line to the other parts.
Rhythm: The person conducting the audition sings or plays on the piano a series of different rhythms. The singer is asked to (sing) mimic each of these rhythms.
Sing a Song in a Quartet: The candidate sings a song of his choice (with or without sheet music) from the existing chorus repertoire with three others singers.
Future Element Under Consideration
Visual Audition: Some competitive groups also evaluate the visual presentation of a new candidate, whether it is singing the line of a particular song and evaluating the facial expressions of the individual or giving him a few basic moves of choreography and asking the candidate to execute them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the first thing I should do?
A: The first thing to do to prepare for the audition is to do your research about the group. Find out everything you can about the way the chorus operates: especially the time commitment, expenses, expectations of the membership, etc. This will help you know exactly what you are getting into. Talk to one or more current singers to find out what Nashville Singers means to them. Attend a performance if you have not already done so. Next, send an email to email@example.com to introduce yourself and make plans to attend one of our rehearsals. We usually encourage prospective members to attend one of our meetings before scheduling an audition. If you have questions that are not answered here, we will be happy to answer them for you.
Q: What do I need to prepare for the audition - What does the audition consist of?
A: You do NOT need to prepare anything. All you need to do is show up at your appointed time. You will meet individually with a member of the music team. He will have you run through some scales and vocal exercise to evaluate your vocal range and ability. You will be asked to sing a familiar song and to execute a few other vocal exercises.
Q: Should I be nervous?
A: No. The audition is private and is non-competitive. It is designed to evaluate your voice, not whether you can out-sing anyone. There are many skill levels represented in each chorus. However, you will need basic musical ability to be a singing member. At a minimum, you will need to be able to match a pitch that is played on the piano as well as be able to repeat a basic rhythmic pattern. The person conducting the audition will make that determination when meeting with you individually. We know auditions are never actually "fun," but we promise to be welcoming and encouraging because we know it is always uncomfortable. We want you to do your best and will make it as painless as humanly possible.
Q:How will I know if I've been accepted as a singing member?
A: The auditioner usually makes their decision at the conclusion of the audition. If you are not yet ready to be a singing member, you may be asked to join our staff or become an associate member. We include the staff in all activities except singing.
Q: What will happen after the audition?
A: Once your dues are paid, you will be given access to the "members only" section of this website where you are are encouraged to download and print out a copy of the Chorus Member Manual, which contains lots of detailed information. One of the most important documents is the "Expectations of Membership" which must be read, signed and returned with your completed application. New members will be assigned a "Chorus Buddy" who will help answer your questions during your first quarter. This “Buddy” is a more seasoned performer who will provide you with preliminary information about schedules, rehearsal formats, and an overview of how the chorus operates.
Click HERE to hear a 2011 interview with Executive Director Todd Wilson broadcast on WAY-FM throughout Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.