Awesome tips and tricks to empower you to perform, sing. audition and live with confidence

The Five Essential Audition Skills

To really nail auditions, young performers need to master THE FIVE ESSENTIAL AUDITION SKILLS. These skills include:

  1. Being Seen
  2. Being Heard
  3. Being Understood
  4. Listening
  5. Following Directions

Mastering these five skills is 90% of what an actor and auditioner needs to be successful!  

These are skills NOT rules.  They may seem obvious at first glance, but mastering them takes consistent training and practice.  Let's dig a little deeper.


In order for a director or producer to properly assess a performer's audition, they need to fully see what the actors are doing.  

Many actors are unaware that they are obscuring their faces, eyes and bodies, while they are singing, cold reading, or dancing at auditions.  This makes it practically impossible for the auditors to really see what the actor can do!  

You may be doing a brilliant job, but if the auditor can't see your face, eyes or body, it's not going to do you ANY good.

There are many things actors need to do train themselves to make sure they are fully being seen at an audition.  Some examples are:

  • Making and MAINTAINING eye contact with auditors when entering the audition space. 
  • Cheating out  while you are reading or performing a scene with another actor.
  • Knowing when you are being upstaged and how to adjust or counter to make sure you are seen.
  • Using the scan and grab technique to make sure your eyes are up and you are interacting with your scene partner(s) during a cold reading. This can be a tough one for some people to master - takes practice!  Stay tuned for some tips on scanning and grabbing in an upcoming post!


Actors work for years honing both their speaking and singing voices, for good reason!

 If the elderly patron at the back of the theatre can't hear every word of a performance, they are not getting their money's worth, let alone enjoy and relate to the show.  

Auditors listen to see if actors have the training to properly project with or WITHOUT a microphone.  

A common mistake many performers make in auditions is not projecting their voices fully when they are introducing themselves or performance materials.  If you wait until you are performing your audition materials to show your projection skills, that is wayyyy too late.  


No matter how emotionally connected and believable an actor is, if the auditors or audience cannot understand them, all the hard work the actor has put is on going to go to waste.

 Excellent diction, whether speaking or singing, is an absolute necessity!

Many people naturally drop many consonants when they are speaking in normal life. This becomes a habit that often transfers into their audition material, such as their monologues, songs and scenes.

In the English Language, consonant sounds are everything. 

Can you understand me without the consonant sounds?

See what I mean!   Believe or not what I said was "My name is Melissa Boher Jacobson. How are you today?"

Stay tuned for a later blog post where I'll share some tricks and tips to improve diction and make sure you are always understood when performing audition materials!


It probably comes as no surprise to parents that listening is a skill that needs to be developed!  

In order to be a skilled performer and auditioner, a young performer needs to work on their ACTIVE listening skills.  

ACTIVE listening is actually a set of skills that are actually pretty complex. Unlike hearing, which is an involuntary process, that requires very little extra processing in the brain, active listening requires focused attention and several processing steps.  

There are several ways young performers will need to use their active listening skills at auditions:

Listening to the instructions of the monitors (the people in charge of the logistics of the auditions)

Listening to the auditors if they are asked to do a scene or song in a different way (this is called an adjustment)

Listening to the other actors when cold reading a scene 

Listening to the music director, choreographer or director when they are teaching material at an audition

I'll be discussing how to help young performers be better listeners in more detail in an upcoming blog post, so stay tuned for that!


Following directions, like listening, may seem like something we can do innately, but it too, like active listening, is actually a learned skill.  

Most students are used to following directions that they  read on a worksheet, but listening to and following verbal directions accurately and quickly is a different skill altogether.  

Mastering these skills and utliizing them in auditions and in any kind of performance including film, television, commercials, theatre, debate, public speaking and more is 90% of being great at what you do!