Finding my Audition Mindset

Today I went to audition for Opera AACC (Anne Arundel Community College). They are doing two shows for which I would be perfect – Carmen (as the title character or as Mercedes – except they weren’t casting that role) and Amahl & the Night Visitors (as Mother).

It went okay. I sang “Seguidilla” from Carmen. I would’ve liked to have sung “All that gold” from Amahl, but I just got my music books delivered on Thursday, didn’t find the music till my nephew Nick unpacked it for me on Sunday, and I just didn’t feel like it was perfect. “Seguidilla” wasn’t perfect – my first run was a little sloppy, for some reason. And I tripped over some French.

But I sang well, and I sang expressively, I think.

The hardest thing for me is getting into the same level of intensity and engagement in my auditioning that I have in my teaching and in my performing. And part of it is armor that I’ve put on over the past few years. It’s the “Well, you’re not going to hire me anyway, so why should I put myself out there for you?” armor that I’ve developed after numerous auditions for Milwaukee companies over the last ten years. Which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m not giving it my all and therefore, I’m not getting hired. And then I wound up not even auditioning because I didn’t want to give a mediocre audition and not get hired, and I didn’t want to give a terrific audition – and still not get hired.

What I have to remember is that I have no control over getting hired. I only can control the quality of my audition.

In this blog article, the author identifies two specific kinds of mindsets:

1. The worry-induced mindset, which “creates a condition in which the auditioners will actually begin to worry about them.”


2. The self-possessed mindset: “The self-possessed mindset is a fiercely independent spirit that creates the metaphorical space for an actor to do their audition the way they want to do it, without needing anything from the auditioner.”

I don’t know if my negative mindset exactly met the definition of #1. I think it was more of a “I don’t care if you like me or not and in fact I know you’re not going to, so I’m not going to do anything to change your mind.” I know I’ve sat through worry-induced mindsets as an adjudicator, and I know I’ve given some worry-inducing auditions when I was a very young singer.

But I need to find the self-possessed mindset and I need to do it now. There is no reason why I cannot give that audition. I am a fiercely independent spirit. I don’t need anything from the auditioner. I don’t need permission. 

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