How to Audition for an A Cappella Singing Group

Yes, we’ve all seen the movies about the crazy audition processes of being in a collegiate a cappella group, but what really goes down during auditions? I can tell you it’s definitely not as unorthodox as the movies, but the pressure is definitely on. In my experience, around 200 people auditioned for each a cappella group, and each group only took two to three people! If your heart is set on being in a singing group, whether it be an a cappella group or a choir, here are some tips that will make you more prepared.

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1. Know your voice part

Your voice part should have a range that you’re completely comfortable with. Make sure to research the ranges expected from each part! I quickly discovered that a Soprano 1 in high school is very different than a Soprano 1 in college. The groups will probably ask you what part you prefer, and if you get a callback, it’s the part they’re going to assign you to when learning one of their songs. If you’re not completely comfortable in your range, it will be harder for you to excel in callbacks.

2. Prepare 2-3 songs that you’re comfortable with

The current group members want you to show off your voice, so make sure to pick songs that you’re comfortable with! I prepared two songs; the first one was a hard, belty number that showed off my range, and the second one was just a song I loved. The day of auditions, I heard everyone talking about what song they were singing and it turns out, it was the same as my first song! I made a quick decision to switch to my second, less prepared song, and ended up getting a callback for every group I auditioned for. The second song was way more natural, and though I didn’t prepare it as much, I was comfortable with it because it was my favorite song and I had been singing it for weeks anyway.

3. Make sure your callback song is better than your first song

Hopefully, you’ll get called back after that first audition. If this happens, the group will probably teach you one of their songs to see how fast you learn music. After this, you’ll sing another solo song. This song should be more impressive than your first song. It should show off your range, your style and how well you perform. You want to leave a lasting impression when you leave, so in a way, your callback song is more important than your first audition!

4. Be prepared to stay a while

Callbacks are a long process. Not only are you learning one to two songs and then performing them one by one, but each person also has to sing their solos. In my callbacks, there were 30 people who were taught a song, and then six people were asked to stay and sing their second song. My latest callback lasted until 2 a.m., and each averaged about five hours. With that in mind, make sure to bring water and snacks! Only one of the groups I auditioned for provided dinner, so I suggest you eat before arriving.

5. If you don’t make it, audition again!

There is absolutely no shame in not making a group the first time you audition. They only have a select number of spots available, so if you don’t make it in, that doesn’t mean you’re bad. Some of the groups just didn’t need my certain voice part, and some of the groups preferred a certain style over mine. I had a chance to talk to some of the current members of the groups, and they assured me that they had to audition two to three times before finally making a group. The fact that you auditioned already gives you an advantage for next time, and when you finally make it, it’ll be worth your while.