How to Wow the Faculty in a Singing Audition as a Vocal Performance Major


Stepping into the spotlight to sing for a panel of experienced faculty can be a nerve-wracking experience. The stakes are high and the pressure is on, but with some expert advice and plenty of preparation, you can exude confidence and ace your vocal performance audition. 

If you are interested in becoming a vocal performance major and dedicating your career to singing, auditions will play an integral role in your future. After helping dozens of students, including aspiring vocal performers, find and enroll in top music schools, I am confident that practice, dedication, and the willingness to put yourself out in front of the world can lead to amazing things. 

A woman holds out her hand while singing.

The Importance of Excelling at a Singing Audition as a Vocal Performance Major

Auditions are an essential part of your career, whether you are studying vocal performance at a top music college or aspiring to be on stage performing your own songs. Regardless of the path you choose, virtually every single singing role requires auditioning, so the more comfortable you get with vocal auditions early on, the more at ease you will feel in the future. 

Excelling in auditions is vital for impressing faculty and proving that you have what it takes to fill the spot. These auditions give you the opportunity to show off your range as well as demonstrate your musical talents and ability to follow directions. Most importantly, they allow you to make a lasting impact on everyone listening. And in the professional music industry, that first impression matters. 

Factors that Influence Your Singing Audition Results

There are several things to think about prior to any singing audition – not just your first one. Each factor can make or break your performance, so whether it is your first-ever audition or your hundredth, be sure to cover your bases during audition preparation and consider these factors well in advance. 


The people assessing a vocal performance audition ultimately decide who passes the audition and who doesn’t. Performers who take the time to find out who will be on the panel well in advance often fare better than those who go into a vocal audition without this knowledge. When possible, look up the names of the panelists and see what you can find about their likes and dislikes. It may give you a competitive edge. 

Venue and Equipment

Logistics matter when it comes to singing tryouts. Small rooms have completely different acoustics than large rooms, and microphones can make your voice sound tinny or flatten sharp, high notes. Certain auditions require you to sing a capella, some may provide an accompanist or band, and still others may ask you to bring your own backing track. 


The context of the vocal audition is incredibly important. A college vocal audition granting access to a limited number of spaces in the program may play out much differently than a record company audition. If you are auditioning for a spot in a band or musical, you may be judged not just on your individual sound but also on how well your vocals blend with the other members.


Every singing audition has requirements you must follow, and failing to understand these can lead to immediate disqualification. Knowing how many pieces you should perform, how long each one should be, and if you need to choose your repertoire from a predetermined list is vital to your success. 

Repertoire List or Audition Repertoire

A repertoire list is a full list of repertoire you’ve studied or performed, whereas an audition repertoire is the collection of songs you’ve chosen for your audition. Some schools may ask for a complete repertoire list, while others may only ask for the audition repertoire. The right songs for singing auditions are those that show off your range and keep you within your comfort zone. Remember that nerves can lead to lapses in your memory, so be sure to choose songs that you know extremely well and that fit your unique range – not just songs you think the judges want to hear. 

Musicality & Memorability

While keeping with the context of the singing audition, choose songs that personally resonate with you. The technical aspects of your voice performance absolutely matter, but even if you hit every note and perfect your vibrato, a flat, emotionless performance will always lack the “wow” factor. Singing with musicality tugs at the judges’ heartstrings and shows them that you are a force to be reckoned with. 

Preparation and Skill

Finally, preparation and skill are crucial to making an impact at a vocal audition. Rehearse your chosen song or songs over and over again, practicing your technical skills and paying special attention to the emotionally charged segments. When you feel confident, recruit an audience of friends, family, and peers, and perform in front of them. 

Tips to Impress Faculty During Your Vocal Performance Audition

You’ll likely hear hundreds of tidbits of information about how to ace your audition. In an interview I conducted with the International Acoustic Music Awards, I was given several helpful audition tips to pass along to the students and families I coach. Some stand-out tips include the following:

  • Know what is expected of you. Stepping into a singing audition without knowing exactly what you are supposed to do can be detrimental to your performance and success. Research audition requirements on school websites well in advance – even if you aren’t 100% sure you will be auditioning.
  • Participate in a mock audition. Ask others about their experiences with vocal auditions or reach out to a music college consulting group to learn more about it. Then, put together a mock audition with experienced individuals as the judges.
  • Find an audition teacher or coach. These individuals can help you learn the ins and outs of auditions, including how to introduce yourself, make song choices, enhance the emotional impact, and hold the audience’s (or judges’) attention. 
  • Don’t slack off.  For a make-or-break singing audition – one that determines whether you get into your chosen music college or positions you as the lead singer in a band – keep practicing, keep learning, and keep giving it your all. Make sure your outside interests are well balanced between you and the education or career of your dreams. 

Singing auditions can be intimidating to aspiring vocalists, especially in the beginning when you are working to gain entry into an incredible music school. If you or someone you know needs expert guidance for a vocal audition, contact Inside Music Schools today to learn more about our audition coaching services

Get an Expert Consultation for Your Singing Audition

During my 40 years as the head of admissions and a faculty member at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I had the pleasure of enrolling students who became some of the biggest names in music, including Melissa Etheridge, Joe Satriani, and Howard Shore. I founded Inside Music Schools to combine my experience with others to better serve music students and aspiring professionals. Our collective expertise as professional musicians, educators, and consultants has helped hundreds of aspiring students, musicians, and performers reach their educational and career goals. 

Founder & President at Inside Music Schools |

Head of admissions and faculty member at Berklee College of Music for 40 years, Steve Lipman and our team at Inside Music Schools speak music as their primary language. We approach each client contact with open eyes, ears, and minds. As the country’s premier music school consultant, he has advised students from the United States, Canada, the U.K., India, Singapore, Dubai, China, Australia, Turkey, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Israel, Italy, Russia and elsewhere.