Learn your songs
Learn your pitches, rhythms, and words carefully.
DePauw requires one song in English and a second song in either Italian, French, or German. Work on proper pronunciation of this foreign language song. There are pronunciation tracks with native speakers available on YouTube to help with this.
If you need help preparing your foreign language song, or are struggling to sing with an accompaniment track (more on this below), the vocal coaches at DePauw would be happy to help you. In addition to the sample lesson you will have with one of our voice faculty, the vocal coaches are offering free coaching to all auditionees via Zoom to help make sure students feel as comfortable as possible when recording their audition. Be sure to check the box on your audition registration indicating you would like a coaching.
Did You Know?
The voice students at DePauw are assigned to both a voice teacher and a vocal coach/accompanist. Voice teachers and coaches work together to help our students sing as beautifully and expressively as possible. Teachers do this with focusing on technique and style, while coaches work primarily with pronunciation of languages and musicianship. Each week our students see their teacher and their coach for private one-on-one sessions, which is extraordinary in an undergraduate setting. In addition to this, they receive a weekly accompanied lesson with both instructors.
Find an accompaniment track
There are various options for using an accompaniment track.
1.) Contact the DePauw vocal coaches
Let us know what songs you would like to sing for your audition, and a vocal coach will make you custom audio recordings free of charge. We understand these are difficult times, and we want to make this new process as easy as possible for you. If you already have a pianist that you work with at your school, choir, or in voice lessons, you can use tracks that they have made for you as well. If you would like to request tracks, indicate this on your audition registration form. We recommend that you request a track at least 3 weeks prior to your audition.
For additional information, contact George Palton, Associate Director of Music Admission, at email@example.com.
2.) YouTube Accompaniments
There are a few different YouTubers who have recorded piano accompaniments for singers. PocketPianist, OperaKaraoke, and Free Pianist are all great resources. Simply go to Youtube and search for the name of your song followed by “accompaniment” and you should find some good options.
Appcompanist is an app available on both the Apple Store and Google Play (Apple and Android). It has thousands of pre-recorded piano accompaniments that you can alter in both pitch and tempo to suit your needs. Appcompanist is $9.99/month and has a free 30 day trial for new users.
General Advice! Singing with a track is tricky! Make sure that you practice many times with your chosen track, so that the timing begins to feel natural and you can be as expressive as possible.
Set up your recording
You don’t need fancy equipment to record your audition. Most cell phones have excellent audio and video recording capabilities. Follow these simple steps and you will be on your way to a great audition recording!
✔ Camera placement
Find a space where you can set up your phone to capture your singing, and make sure you can be seen from at least the waist up (not just your face). Prop it up on a desk close to head height or use furniture (or even stacks of books!) to situate your phone to get this angle.
Utilize natural light. Window lighting can help create a more flattering look than overhead lighting. Ideally, use the window as a side light. (see below example for lighting example)
Shoot on your phone with the selfie camera on front and with your phone laid on its side for a widescreen shot in 1080p quality. Record by either iPhone or Android. Click the links for more instructions!
Consider how the shot looks before pressing record. Does it look like a tree or wall hanging is growing out of your head? Maybe rotate the camera slightly to avoid that.
Center yourself in the frame and try to speak and look to the camera as much as possible to acknowledge the audience since you are supposed to be directly addressing them.
Check out our best practices for more information.
✔ Speaker placement
Find the proper place to put the speaker that is playing your accompaniment track. This needs to be somewhere you can hear it while you are singing, but also close enough to your recording device that it is audible on your recording. One way to do this is to play the recording through TV speakers, computer speakers, or by using a portable bluetooth speaker. Make sure you do a few test runs to check the balance.
Good audio is important, so shut off any fans in the room, close the door to the room you are filming, and make sure there’s no background noise.
Check out our best practices for more information.
✔ Press play, record, and go!
It is easy to clip beginnings and ends of video clips, so you can record on your own. Just make sure you delete the parts where you are setting up the camera or walking into place so all we see is your awesome performance!
Be sure to backup your file so you don’t lose all your hard work.
Most importantly: Have fun and enjoy making music!