"Why did you pick this song?": Choose audition material for your best YOU

Published August 29th, 2013

Chelsea Cipolla is the co-founder of My College Audition. She’s a graduate from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts where she received a BA in Acting and Theatre Education. After graduating, Chelsea returned to Emerson College to help teach their Summer Arts Academy for three years before moving to New York City. In this post, she talks about how to choose audition material for the real you for your college audition.

As I am sure you’ve heard, it’s important for your college audition that you choose audition material that's a reflection of you. Reviewers want to hear how you interpret and perform a song – not your best friend, not the girl in your high school who nailed this song in the musical last year, not a prominent Broadway performer– but you. They want to see what you can bring to the table as a human, not just an actor. Remember: Interesting humans make interesting actors.

Is it intimidating to choose audition material for your dream schools and for your dream professors? Sure. Is it impossible to choose audition material that showcases your strengths and excites you each time you perform it? Absolutely not! It’s imperative to not only find material that emphasizes your capabilities as a performer but also material that reveals something about you as a human being. They want to know what type of person you are and who they will have in class for the next four years.

Before you even begin to choose audition material, there are a few questions to consider in determining what exactly makes you tick:

1. What are my best qualities?

As a performer, my best qualities are…

(For example, a big vocal range, breath control, empathizing with characters, etc.)

As a human, my best qualities are…

(For example, being compassionate, very receptive to new ideas and feedback, excellent team leader, self-motivated, strong memorization skills, great work ethic, organized, etc.)

2. What do I want the school to know about me that can be revealed through my material?

As a performer, I want them to know that…

(For example, I am skilled at comedy, I am trained classically, I am a skilled mover/dancer, etc.)

As a human, I want them to know that…

(For example, I am giving, I have a great sense of humor, I’m not scared to be pushed out of my comfort zone, etc.)

Using these answers, you can figure out what type of material to look for. Combining what you want the school to know you’re capable of performance-wise, with what you want them to know about you personally, should help you begin the search for material.Fill in the blanks as you read.

My best qualities as a performer are _____ and my best qualities as a human are _____.

When looking at material alongside these answers, ask yourself: Does this song or monologue truly represent me as a human being and showcase my strengths as a performer? Am I revealing a bit of myself through this material?

If the answer is yes, then you will have not only picked material that represents you – you will also be able to articulate to your reviewers your reason for choosing the material and answer the age-old question: Why did you pick this song/monologue?

For more information about college auditions, visit My College Audition.

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