Once you have mastered the language

in Rossini’s La Danza, which is a huge accomplishment in itself, there are many ways you can make yourself stand out and sing like a rockstar in your audition.

I am impressed most by individual singers in All State auditions when they assign dynamics that are not in the score. Remember, this audition is about musicality, not about accuracy. That is…. unless you’re inaccurate, in which case, see you next year.

Being brave with your dynamics, with specific reasoning in mind, really makes your musicality stand out from the rest of your section. Judges want to hear your entire vocal range from pianissimo to fortissimo, so you should never spend an entire cut on only one end of your dynamic range.

Dynamic suggestions for contrast and musicality

  • Assign an opening dynamic of mezzo-forte, creating contrast compared to the forte in measure 43. Give yourself space to grow.
  • Start a little less than mezzo-forte in measure 53 to crescendo to the high note in 55
  • Start measure 57 as an energized mezzo-piano to help show your contrast to the judges with the forte in 59
  • In the ranting section (our loving nickname for it) beginning measure 59, make sure you have a general dynamic of mp with gradual crescendo to the accented syllable in the middle of the phrase, then decrescendo away. Keeping the dynamic from getting too big will also help loosen up your voice in the midst of all those words.

Bring your language to the next level

Find ways to bring out the most meaningful words to YOU by knowing your literal translation. A literal translation is a word-for-word translation which does not necessarily take into account the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

*The translation given with the score is a poetic translation that does its best to make sense of the Italian as a whole but it waters down the translation to something easy for English speakers to understand. Some of the Italian words have different and more vibrant meanings, so look them up individually.

Here’s how to do a literal or word-for-word translation

  • Look up each individual word in an Italian dictionary and write the definitions under your Italian text.
  • You *may* use google translate but ONLY if you plug in one word at a time. If you plug in a sentence or phrase, the computer will spit back a jumbled version, rearranged into English sentence structure so you don’t know what each word means.
  • Circle the English words corresponding to the literal Italian translation that has meaning to you.
  • Underline the stressed syllables of the Italian words that you circled in English with a colored pencil so they are easily visible.
  • Sing the stressed syllables of those meaningful words with a louder dynamic and the syllables around those words with a slightly softer dynamic.

After doing this diligent work with your translation, I guarantee you will sound more authentically Italian and have a deeper connection to your text! I hope you enjoy adding these new layers to your music making. The more specific decisions you make musically, the better chance you have of making the choir!

-Austin