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Don’t be Doug

Don't be Doug

Meet Debbie and Doug (names have been changed to protect those involved). Energetic, excited singers at a July caroling audition.

Debbie was an unknown, unfamiliar to any of us running the auditions. She arrived with her headshot and resume in good order and dressed well for the audition. She had looked over the music pages we sent out in advance and was ready to show us what she could do.

Doug had a reputation for being a bit full of himself, but we were auditioning him at the recommendation of a colleague. He showed up in extremely casual clothes, did not have his headshot or resume, and he had not even looked at the music we sent out.

This is Doug. Don't be him.

This is Doug. Don’t be him.

Long story short, Debbie dazzled and we invited her to sing with us, where she caroled a great season. Doug, however, bombed the audition… and yet he still had the audacity to ask when he was going to start rehearsals. For some reason he had it in his head that he was hot stuff and that we couldn’t say no.

We said no.

Here is the fact: you can’t control most of what happens to you. But the things you can control you MUST control. For a singer that means preparation.

You do the work first.

No one wants to pay you to get ready. No one will pay you based on potential. You have to do the work before anyone will pay attention to you.

Practice. Learn. Build. Grow. Put in the time. If you really want it, you will do it.

You prepare for your audition because the auditioners cannot guess how good you are. You have to show them. Doug had it in his head that he was good enough, or important enough, that he did not need to prepare.

Preparation does not end after the audition. When you get a role you continue to prepare, for rehearsals, for performances, and for unexpected events.

Singers like Doug insist on showing up to rehearsals unprepared. You have one job: KNOW YOUR MUSIC. These same singers end up stumbling over words at gigs. Everyone else in the group knows what they are doing, how is it that you don’t know your part?

It takes the same amount of time for everyone to get ready. There is no magic that makes learning music easier for the other singers. Everyone has to spend the time.

The moral of the story: don’t be Doug.

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

G.J. G.J. – “Power Trip” (Cover)

Good, and bold singing straight a cappella. You’ve got to be sure you’re nailing everything when you’re so exposed. The energy is great, make sure there’s a purpose for everything: 0:53 why do you pause? I assume because the original track does, but this is now your performance. Make the pause count for something or get rid of it. The same goes for repeats of lines: if they don’t add to the performance, find a different approach.

Chantelle Chantelle – “My Immortal Evanescence” (Cover)

Amy Lee of Evanescence is a phenomenal singer, able to blast or hum or meditate, to emote and wail. It’s a good song that benefits from some subtlety and care. 1:16 don’t lose the energy of the second note… it’s important, too, show it some love. All the pitches are important, in the verses you’re not hitting all the notes. Choruses sound good, very strong voice.

Greginald Spencer Greginald Spencer – “I Took To You” (Cover)

Great instrument, control, and expression. You obviously know what you’re doing. Wow, power and nuance. Full commitment in front of an audience that is not guaranteed to love you (and in fact many of them talked all the way through your performance): that’s discipline. Love it. Challenge yourself to increase your vocubulary: your soul and riffs will be even more impressive if you can also do straight and direct. Use the flash to season, not overpower, the music. Very nice!

Mister Tim is a published composer, award-winning recording artist,and in-demand performer, teacher & performance coach. In addition to an active performing and touring schedule with his his solo vocal live-looping/beatbox shows, Mister Tim sings with Boulder, CO-based Celtic Rock band Delilah’s Revenge, manages the… Read More

  • I4CB4U

    Don’t be Doug sounds like a good name for a band also :-) Cheers