Ok, first off lets get some technical stuff out of the way. This post is directed toward musical theatre performers who want to know how to compile a repertoire book for auditions. This is a binder that has a variety of songs – that you can sing the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of any time, any day – that showcase your skills for a variety of audition settings. It is a binder you can pull musical cuts from no matter what audition you are going for.
DISCLAIMER 1: If you are not an aspiring musical theatre performer, this post is probably not for you… Sorry. I will have more posts for all audiences up soon! Pinkie Promise!
DISCLAIMER 2: The information that I will be providing is compiled from what I have learned from various teachers, masterclasses, performers, and books. I do not claim to have come up with this on my own.
DISCLAIMER 3: This is what I have found to be the best way to compile a repertoire book. These are my preferences. You do not need to follow these perfectly in order to be successful. This is just what works for me. There are many other ways to do this. Be creative!
Now that the business-y side of things is taken care of, it is time to start making your rep. book! WOO-HOO!
First thing’s first, you will need a binder. Not a huge binder, mind you; you don’t want to drop a brick on the piano or carry around the entire musical theatre anthology. Just get a normal sized 1”-1 ½” binder – I prefer black. Next, you will need sticky tabs and a sharpie.
I prefer to use sticky tabs to label my music. This makes it easy for an accompanist to locate and flip to your song. Make sure your handwriting is clean and easy to read. Some people like to use page protectors for their music but I have found that sometimes lighting can cause glares on the page. You don’t want to start singing your cut only to realize that the accompanist can’t see the music! Instead, just make sure your music is double-sided and not wrinkly.
If you have a song that is 4 pages or less, tape the pages together to fold out accordion style. The less page-turns the accompanist has to make, the better. Remember: make this process as easy as possible for your accompanist! It is very common for him/her to be seeing this music for the first time. Be nice and eliminate as many unnecessary complications as possible!
To further make things simple for the accompanist, highlight all the important information in your song. I always write bright brackets with a highlighter and the word “START” or “END” to frame my cut – You don’t want the accompanist to accidentally start in the wrong spot or to keep playing after you have made your strong finish. Use a different color to highlight important musical markers – tempo, dynamics, fermatas, breaks. If you are adding a rallentando, break, or tempo change – write it in a different color and circle it.
99% of the time, the mistakes that happen in an audition are NOT the fault of the accompanist but, instead, the fault of the performer.
It is not the accompanist’s fault that you were nervous and gave him/her too fast of a tempo when you showed him the music. It’s not his/her fault that your cut wasn’t clearly marked. It’s not his/her fault that you didn’t mention you changed the dynamic from forte to piano. Do I need to list more?
You can’t control the outcome of an audition – that is up to the casting directors. Take charge of what you can control – make your music clear.
Now that you know how to format your repertoire book, what goes in it????
CLICK HERE to get access to my FREE Musical Theatre Repertoire Book Content Guide – a clean, concise guide to what songs belong in the perfect musical theatre repertoire book! Who doesn’t love a pretty, straight-forward guide?!
I hope this post provided you with some helpful new tips! Comment below with any other Musical Theatre tips you would like to see featured on the blog!
Now, get your book together, get out there, and AUDITION! Break Legs!