This One Tip Will Save You TONS of Headaches In Vocal Team Auditions
Let me set the scenario for you: you hold a vocal audition and your auditionee shows up prepared to sing – the music begins…and…it happens. The lack of pitch control makes you want to crumble for both you and your prospective team member. Note after note…cringe.
We’ve likely all been there. How do you handle it? We’ve got some tips on how to do so in other articles…but what if you could have avoided it altogether? I’ve got a step I use for vocalists in my audition process that will help you avoid this “pitch pitfall” that you may want to implement today.
I use a website called ToneDeafTest.com . Its been around for a few years. There’s even an iOS app available that I use one-on-one with some vocalists.
It presents tone in three main ways:
In this mode, a listener will need only to determine if two tones are the same or not. You’d be surprised how many people cannot distinguish whether or not two notes are, indeed, the same or not. They may be able to carry a simple tune…but they may not recognize notes. This may become a factor later on in being able to hear harmonies or simple lines.
Ascending vs Descending
This portion will test whether a listener can hear whether or note notes are sliding up a scale or down. Without a clear break between the notes, it is harder to distinguish for some and can easily identify some who may have pitch issues later on from tone deaf issues.
Lower or Higher
This test identifies whether or not the listener can tell if note A is higher or lower than note B. Again, this will help flush out any potential pitfalls.
How I Use The Test / Caveats
I include the test as part of the first part of the application process for potential vocalists. This helps me identify potential issues. I want to zone in on the key word “potential”. The results of this test is neither a clear indication of a great singer nor is it a clear indication of horrible singer. I have simply found that this test has been fairly accurate on finding those who may have issues not finding pitch as easily up front.
Does this mean that someone who doesn’t get a high score should not typically make it to your audition? No. I give EVERYone a fair chance. The test will give the user a score that breaks down like the image below:
As you can see, the results break down the three “Stages” as they relate to the three areas I discussed earlier and give you a “? out of 12” grade. The ensuing grade is based on a “? out of 36” final score. There are very high probabilities that those who score very low in percentages will have an eye-opening experience for the first time ever…and may not even pursue the application process until God prompts them further. This is okay. For many who are tone deaf, every person in their life has remained silent about the issue and never been honest with them. In fact, I’ve seen (and heard) of many aspiring singers who have had loved ones who, in a state of protectiveness, have said “oh no…you sing beautifully!” and further complicate truth. Again, if someone is put off by their own score, let God prompt them to proceed.
I ask applicants to include a screenshot of their results page with their application. If the score is less than 75%, I merely modify the audition process to do an informal in-person audition with myself and the vocal team director. This saves the auditionee the time and the worry from crashing with an entire team and a whole audience if the audition were to go south. Since the entire auction process isn’t posted for the world to see, this part doesn’t seem strange to the auditionee…and feels like “part of the process.” We allow the auditionee to sing with us and ascertain if they might be a good fit for further audition with the team in a stage setting (our next phase).
If the answer is “no”, we help them with next steps. The answer may be that we can assist with some coaching. Not every issue of pitch is a lost cause. Ive heard great singers come from pitchy auditions with some solid coaching.
On that note. WeLeadWorship.com believes in the work that “The Worship Vocalist” does. If you or your entire team needs coaching. Please feel free to visit their site. We give this endorsement freely based upon our experience with the services provided and their passion in equipping the worship community.
Ready to give the Tone Deaf Test a shot yourself? Its absolutely free! Click here to start utilizing it today!