Ace Your A Cappella Audition With These Handy Tips

TakeLessons explores tips for students hoping to earn a spot in an a cappella group.

Online PR News – 19-October-2011 – – The Sing Off is in full swing now, with eight talented a cappella groups remaining in the competition after this week’s episode. The show, which is in its third season, features a cappella groups from around the U.S., performing each week in hopes of continuing on to get the grand prize of a Sony Music recording contract and $200,000.

While Glee helped make choir groups “cool” again, The Sing Off has brought a cappella singing to the spotlight. This is truly a battle of the voices, as performers don’t have back-up bands to rely on as a safety net.

Collegiate a cappella groups are especially popular, with Oxford University’s Out of the Blue and The Whiffenpoofs of Yale University are just two of the most notable groups.

For those interested in getting into the a cappella craze, eHow contributor Tina Molly Lang gives us some tips for how to succeed at an a cappella audition:

(1) Understand that succeeding at an a cappella audition involves balancing a solo voice with the ability to blend. While classical training helps, a cappella groups are not necessarily looking for an operatically trained voice. While it is important to hold your own during a solo, a cappella groups like singers who will blend with the sound and harmony of the group. In a cappella groups, it is more important to be a team player than it is to be the best singer. If the group is going flat or sharp, you have to adjust to them, even when they are wrong. A cappella groups also like to have a pure sound. They like straight tone, as opposed to vibrato.

(2) Know that ear training is important. At the audition, the group might play a progression of notes that you will have to sing back. Alternately, they may play a succession of chords and have you find and sing the middle note. Preparing for the ear-training part of the audition will require longer-term effort. While voice lessons will help your vocal technique, they may not necessarily help in ear training or musicianship. There are many ways to develop a good ear: Listen to different kinds of music, practice chords at the piano and take music-theory classes. Instrumentalists tend to have an advantage in the ear-training section of the audition. Instrumentalists are used to reading more complicated music and hearing different tonalities.

(3) Recognize that a cappella groups also look for a personality fit. At the audition, they will ask you to prepare a joke. They want to see if you blend with the social dynamic of the group. A cappella groups like fun, outgoing people. Performing a cappella involves not only singing, but also stage presence, humor and the ability to perform off the cuff. That’s why so many a cappella singers also have theatrical training.

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TakeLessons ( is excited to see this music style hit mainstream audiences, and can't wait to see what's next. Stop by the TakeLessons blog, where you can also find some crazy music-related Guinness World Records, and join in on the discussion on Facebook (

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