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Cruise ship audition advice?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ELITE55, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. ELITE55


    Oct 22, 2011
    So I've done some searching on other audition advise related topics but I want to be a little more specific. I do know sight reading is a large component of the process and over the last few months I've been dedicating most of my time to just that. I have The Real Book 6th edition bass clef book and that's been my main practice tool. My question is how do I know when I'm ready? I can get through 3/4 of the songs in the book semi comfortable the first go around but I'm not sure if I should be able to read everything the first go around when auditioning or not? If anyone has any songs that I should definitely be able to play through the first time then that would be helpful. Also, if i were to be given a piece and could not read it, would it be acceptable to play over the chord chart instead of reading it note by note?

    Besides sight reading, what else should I work on when preparing for the audition and are their any books or tools out there that I could use to prepare me further? Thanks!
  2. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    The gig is pure sight reading. You don't really need to be good at anything else, as most cruise ship players are quite bad at everything else. For the audition, you get two tries at probably 2-3 pieces. And the real book is a pretty specific kind of reading. Get your hands on some Jamerson or a Broadway book or two. The reading is very Broadway-ish.

    Other things to work on? Make sure your liver is ready to take the punishment of drinking out of despair.
  3. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    when i had a cruise ship gig i didnt have to audition, i got it through referral and they just called me for the gig, so thats one avenue for you to try, meet some cruise ship musicians and tell them you're interested, you just might get a call. having said that, the gig was all reading, and more reading. charts with written out bass lines. the only time i improvised was for 2 one hour sets per week (tue and thurs) where we just blew through the real book outside the casino around dinner time before the night's big shows. id say improvising should be the last thing you worry about. reading melodies out of the real book might not be so great either. you need to read bass parts. big band, latin and funk. bass lines with alot of syncopations and rests, in weird keys that singers will sing in. real book melodies might not be the best training tool to recognize those typical big band hits and funk lines. get one of the carol kaye books or jamerson books and sight read the lines. dont memorize them because that wont help you. snag as many big band charts as you can get your hands on and just read through them without stopping or going back.

    id say that you definately have to be able to nail most of it on the first shot. when i got there the band had been together for months if not years. i asked the band director if we were going to rehearse and he just laughed at me. he said if i couldnt handle it i wouldnt have gotten the call (little did he know that no one heard me play before). so the first time i saw the music was on the shows. i know he listens to the new guys and decides whether or not to keep them after the first week. i got to stay, but a trombone player who started the same day as me got let go after one week because he wasnt cutting the reading
  4. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    Depends on the ensemble. When I played in the "house band" on the MS Crystal Harmony we not only supported all the guest artists and played for all the theater productions -- which, as Snarf points out, are 100% sight-reading -- but we also provided music for all the cocktail hour dancing

    ...which were 100% not sight-reading. It was all You'd Better Know This Tune 'Cuz We're Playing It Now standards and GB warhorses. Polkas, waltzes, cha-chas, big-band swing numbers, ballroom stuff that was old when your grandparents danced to it on the Titanic, any requests that the passengers asked for... Bandleader would call out a song title and the key and maybe give you a count-off before launching into it.

    So, in addition to good sight-reading skills, you needed either an encyclopedic vocabulary of popular music from the past 100 years, or an incredibly good ear (plus the ability to learn forms really quickly).
  5. ELITE55


    Oct 22, 2011
    Thank you guys a lot for the advise. I didn't really think about getting my hands on big band type sheet music but that does make a lot of sense. I know the real book focuses a lot on jazz/blues standards. I'll check out the carol Kaye and Jameson books. So basically I need to focus on big band, Latin, funk, and broadway type of music? Is there any other styles/books you all recommend? O and I will be auditioning for a show band act.
  6. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Crystal is hard core compared to all the other companies, as far as I've been told. For the rest of the companies, everything is in the books, or at least the band leader for the jazz stuff has his own charts.
  7. You might want to also check out http://www.musicianwages.com/. A couple of theatre musicians in NYC started it a few years ago, and there's some good articles/blogs on the subject of cruise ship gigs scattered around the site. I don't recall if there is specific audition/repertoire information, but you might find it helpful all the same.
  8. Is anyone knows where I can get an exemple of those audition scores ?
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    White shorts. Flowery shirt. Black socks. Sandals. You're in. End of story.
  10. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    If they're checking out your reading the chart probably won't have chord changes on it. If it does have changes play it your best and keep your mouth shut...just like you would on the gig.
    Boat gigs are show biz so look the part. Close shave, nice haircut, slacks, collared shirt, casual dress shoes. This is just as important as how you play.
  11. Dont forget your life vest!

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