Your mindset for making great recording.
Hi friends! Tis the season...audition season that is.
I don't know about you, but making recordings has to be my least favorite part of auditioning. I get more nervous for recordings than I do in the room! Video recordings just feel so....final. Now that we are entering an online audition season, recordings are now more important than ever. I have a few tips to help your day go smoothly.
Plan! Plan! Plan!
Plan for anything and EVERYTHING for your recording day. Things happen! If you plan well, you can adapt accordingly. No sweat. :) Control what you can control and let the rest go.
Schedule when you are going to record each aria. Plan far enough ahead of time so that you have time to reschedule, if needed. I can tell you from personal experience that if you wait until a day before it's due, then that is the night that your wifi will shut down. [ Side note: You don't have to record your arias in the months of July and August. Just saying. :) ]
Schedule out your entire day so you know you have enough time to get you and your equipment ready. Don't let traffic make you late! You deserve better!
Check in with your venue and pianist 1-2 days before your scheduled date. Check your equipment while you're at it. Does it need a good charging? New batteries? A clean lense? Are all of your electronic cords working?
Layout out your outfit and make a list of things to bring the night before. You don't want to arrive at your session and realize you forgot your left shoe. (That's totally never happened to me.) Don't forget to bring an extra copy of music for your pianist! They're juggling a lot of things as well.
Make a test recording in your chosen space. Play around with different set ups and see what works for your voice. This way, you don't need to waste time on the day of. Extra points if you can incorporate your pianist!
Be a stalker.
Not sure which equipment to buy? Find some videos of singers within your fach and age range. If you like how their video looks and sounds, send them a message!
Go in with a plan.
Did I mention it's good to plan? Know in advance what you want to convey. (I'm assuming you've already done your character research.) For each aria, I personally like to think of three words to get my mind ready to perform. For example, my words and phrases for Sein wir wieder gut are: Discovery, Reverence, Life Purpose. I try to think of these three words anytime I am about to perform that aria, whether it is a live audition or a video recording.
I tend to want to make a million recordings of an aria before I'm happy with it. A few years ago, I was making a recording of Non più mesta with Ed Bak and he said something that has forever changed my mindset on recordings. We finished a take and he said, "That was a good take. I think that was very representative of what you can do with this piece right now." What a wise thought. We have to realize that we are constantly growing and improving. Know thyself. Sing the aria like you would sing it in the room. Make a note of how you can improve and record it again in a few weeks or months.
Enjoy the collaboration!
Your pianist is in it to win it with you. Have fun making some music! If you're lucky enough to work with a pianist in person, make the most of it! If you are recording with a track, have a dance party beforehand. I promise you'll be in a good mood to record after a dance party.
This is the best piece of audition advice I ever received. I give myself a reward for every recording and audition I finish. Could be sweets. Could be a glass of wine with a friend. You do you. You'll always have something else to look forward to that day.
With pianist Esme Wong, Feb 2020 - Sein wir wieder gut from Ariadne auf Naxos