Well, first, DON’T PANIC.
Many parents reach out to us with students as young as first or second grade wanting audition prep. While it is necessary to start young with some of the other art areas such as dance or music, we typically do not start working with students until third grade so that their reading and writing skills are sufficiently developed.
Even then, however, we do not begin official audition prep until the fall of fifth grade so you’re not behind. While third and fourth graders partake in fun classes that develop and build their passion for communication arts, fifth graders are solely focused on preparing for the guidelines of the audition. Not only do the guidelines change slightly from year to year, but the audition process is not an accurate reflection of the activities the students will be doing once they are accepted into the school. We don’t want to burn them out early on, but rather build their love of the art so they are willing to dedicate themselves to the audition preparation.
So where to begin?
Find the coach that’s right for your student.
Sometimes kids click better with one teacher over another. We might not be the best fit for everyone, and that’s ok. Your loyalty shouldn’t be to the coach; it’s to your student and what will help them achieve their goals. Find that person your child “clicks” with and stick with it. While it’s ok to change coaches if it isn’t a good match, we highly discourage prepping for the same audition with different coaches. It can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration for the student, the coach, and yourself.
Enroll in audition prep classes early because they fill up quickly.
Our audition prep classes begin the week after Labor Day and through the beginning of January when auditions begin. We take students through the entire process of preparing including learning to write a story within a set timeframe, brainstorm, write, and deliver a one minute speech, and respond to a film. For our students auditioning for high school, we also teach them about storyboarding and improving their interviewing skills. All students complete a mock audition at the end of the courses.
Attend the Showcase of Schools for 2023-2024
This annual event will be held at the South Florida Fairgrounds in October 2022 and allows families to meet and speak with representatives from different schools across the county. This is a great opportunity to check out available programs that might interest your student.
Keep an eye out for audition guidelines
The 2023-24 audition guidelines will be posted in October. Guidelines may change a bit, but the basic skills we cover with the students can be adjusted to fit any changes.
Register to audition starting November 1 until December 9, 2022.
Register for the 23-24 school year with the School District of Palm Beach County Department of Choice and Career Options . Parents will be given the option of a first or second choice (more on second choices at a later time). Make sure to consult with your coaches before making this choice.
Encourage your student.
Make sure they are staying on top of deadlines- especially finalizing and memorizing their speeches.
Build up their confidence- our job is to give them critiques, your job is to tell them they are wonderful and loved. If you want them to feel comfortable “performing” in front of you, be their cheerleader, not their coach. Examples of responses to not-so-perfect work: “Thanks for sharing that with me!” “It looks like you’ve been working hard- keep it up!” “I can’t wait to see your final result.” “I’m so excited to watch you grow from these classes!” “Tell me more about this.”
Avoid negative talk- We become what we are told. If a child is constantly fed that they are shy or scared or quiet, then that’s exactly who they will continue to be. And please, please, PLEASE, do NOT tell them that YOU would be terrified to do any of this. Feed them positivity: “You can do hard things!” “I know it feels uncomfortable to push out of your comfort zone, but that’s where all the growing happens.” “You’ve got this!” “You don’t have to be perfect, just brave enough to try.”
Buy them a special outfit- check out our Pinterest board with suggestions on how to dress for success. Nothing builds excitement like a brand new outfit for the special day!
Receive your audition date(s).
Usually around mid December, parents will begin to receive an email from the school with the audition date(s). If auditioning for more than one area, you will receive two emails with different dates. Some auditions are on Saturdays, while others are after school. If you have any conflicts with your assigned date (ie school trip, dance competition, etc), reach out to the contact on the email immediately and you will be assigned a new date.
Take your child to the AUDITION!!!!!!
Auditions will be held from mid-January to the beginning of February 2023 on the school campus. Parents typically wait in the cafeteria for their students to complete their auditions. Usually, there are snacks and drinks available since the process takes a few hours.
Relax and wait
Once auditions are over, put it out of your mind. Results are usually released the last Friday of March or the first Friday of April. Log in to School District of Palm Beach County Department of Choice and Career Options or check your email for the results.
Celebrate (no matter the outcome)
Your student worked hard for this moment so it can be very emotional. Our suggestion to parents is to prepare ahead of time. No matter how much you promise to wait to check together (think of it as a little white lie like the Tooth Fairy), do yourself the favor of reviewing the results beforehand. You should act surprised either way, but this way you can get your emotions out of the way to make room for theirs. Plan with them to celebrate either way- cook their favorite meal, go to a nice restaurant, have a movie night, or plan a weekend getaway. Make it about them. Remind them how much they are loved and appreciated.
At the end of the day, we all end up where we are meant to be. Whether it’s to develop our talents, meet our future best friend, or to be inspired to follow a different path. There will be talented students that don’t get accepted because they don’t get picked from the lottery. There will be kids who struggled to prepare, but gave a good enough audition to make it into the lottery.
Again, EVERYONE ENDS UP WHERE THEY ARE MEANT TO BE even if we don’t understand why just yet.