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The “Dos” and “Don’ts” of Auditioning for the ICCA/ICHSA

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

In 2018, Michigan State University's oldest competitive co-ed a cappella group Capital Green was getting ready to participate in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. We had competed in ICCA countless times and were excited to go back for another year. However, all hope was lost when Varsity Vocals released the lineup and our name wasn’t on the list. It was awful, but lessons were learned that year regarding how a group should prepare for ICCAs.

So, your a cappella group decided to audition for ICCA or ICHSA! Yippee! There is no better way to improve as singers and strengthen that bond as performers and friends than to compete against other outstanding groups of vocalists. Before you take the stage and begin your ICCA/ICHSA journey, you must first tackle the audition process. Regardless if you’ve competed before, you’re going to want to make sure you are fully prepared for your audition, as well. With the help of some other ICCA competitors, we are going to cover some “dos” and “don’ts” of auditioning.

DO Take it seriously. Even if you think you have it “in the bag,” there is no guarantee that you will be admitted to compete. To optimize your chances of being selected, focus on maximizing your sound quality. Choose songs that are properly challenging for your group. When possible, select contrasting pieces that will show your singers’ range of abilities. For example, don’t do two songs that are both similarly upbeat. Try to do some that are different and will show them what you got!

DO NOT put it off. Begin preparations early. Make a designated recording date with your group as soon as possible and choose your audition pieces. Read over Varsity Vocals’ website to make sure you are also noting important due dates. Gather all of your material in advance, like your members’ conflicts, and write out your group’s introduction so you can be as prepared as possible.

DO strategize your outfits. Though it isn’t mandatory, it’s never a bad idea to coordinate your style as an ensemble. Selecting a uniform color scheme or general theme can give you a professional edge that immediately sends a message to the audition committee that your group is taking it seriously.

DO NOT stress about being perfect. Though you want to put your best foot forward, recording too many takes may result in vocal fry or restlessness. Set the expectation with your group to record your songs a few times, and then move on.

DO prioritize a high-quality audition tape. It’s important to make sure you sound as good as you feel. It may be worth looking into your campus’ services to see if you’re able to rent recording equipment. For example, for our audition video, we rented out a camera, tripod, and attachable microphone. In the end, this greatly enhanced our sound and overall submission video quality. Regardless of how you choose to record, just make sure the full length of your video is recorded clearly.

Most of all, DO have fun. This is your chance to show the admission committee who you are as a group. If there are a few funky moments or unexpected notes here and there, embrace them. Make your mistakes proudly and enjoy the early stages of your ICCA/ICHSA adventure.

Go to Michigan State University and want to join us on our ICCA journey? We're currently holding rolling auditions for a beatboxer! Click here to get started.

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