Smash Your 16 Bars is a workshop presented by Vocal Alchemy with a goal to make performers audition ready.

Presented by David Wisken, the course will allow performers to be guided by a professional musical director and vocal coach on how to perform their audition material.

whiskenDavid Wisken’s musical background begins when he was four and began playing piano. No one could stop him then, and by the sounds of how busy he is now, they never have. Over the past ten years in the industry, he had an eight-year residency as Music Director at Patrick Studios Australia, has worked in many music departments on shows and has coached the likes of Euan Doidge (Les Miserables, Legally Blonde) and Sam Dodemaide (Violet, Rob Guest Endowment Award 2013).

These impressive accolades just touch the surface of his work, with his drive coming from an immense passion for learning. Wisken has just wrapped on getting Melbourne’s Matildas ready for their season and is looking forward to running Smash Your 16 Bars. Since he officially affiliated with Vocal Alchemy, his creative mind has been running wild.

“I get just as much out of it as my students do. It’s totally exciting and there are always new things to learn. The great thing about my job as a teacher or musical director is that every single person is completely different.” Wisken said.

“I love teaching so being a musical director, supervisor and vocal coach on a professional stage is a whole different level of challenging to the residency. There are always new challenges with this calibre of performer and with my knowledge of the voice, vocal anatomy, and of auditions and rehearsals, every day is different.”

The class-based course will explore specific questions applicable to the professional musical theatre audition process. Wisken is excited to help performers develop the right process to approach all auditions with.

“I’ve watched heaps of performers walk out of auditions with misconceptions and confusion about where they went wrong. Having played thousands of auditions myself, I think I have the answers to their questions but have never gotten to tell them. Up until now I’ve haven’t had the right avenue to do so,” he said.

“A lot of the stress and anxiety that comes from preparing for an audition comes from working out if you’ve got the right song.”

But Wisken said it’s more than the song a performer chooses. It’s about learning to deal with the fact that performers are business people.

“It sounds a bit cheesy, but it’s called show business, not show show. Not a lot of people are comfortable dealing with the business side of things,” Wisken said.

“The course is geared towards understanding how to market yourself as a business by playing up your assets, playing down your flaws, and proving yourself as a business person. Nowhere in the position description of a performer or entertainer does it say to get distracted by the competition.”

The six three-hour sessions promise to help you choose the right songs, in the right key and correct bad habits. You’ll finish the workshops with newfound confidence knowing you are as prepared as you can be when you enter your next audition. So who should look at participating?

“The syllabus has been tailored to cater for anybody who wants to know how to be successful in an audition. Whether they have done a thousand and haven’t gotten through, or have never auditioned, or just want to consolidate their repertoire – even if they’re really successful and just want to make the process easier and better for themselves – it’s about learning who am I, what am I good at, and how do I best market that,” Wisken said.

“They’ll leave with tailored mp3 recordings, sheet music and the confidence that comes from focused, one-on-one sessions with a musical director.”

Smash Your 16 Bars is an opportunity to have your songs edited by a professional musical director and understand those musical terms audition pianists use on a regular basis. No longer will you be able to blame the pianist, nor will you need to. There’s only eight spots in the course, so book now to perfect your audition process.

“The small group is mainly so everyone gets hands on time with me and the focused sessions they’re paying for. I could teach a large group of people for this, but this way everyone get way more out of it with lots of hands on content and getting up to do things and sing. We all know you learn more from doing, so that’s what we’ll do.”

You’ll walk away with:

  • Individual musical direction on two selected songs (six song choices must be provided)
  • Professionally edited sheet music for two audition ready songs showcasing your best 16 bars
  • Two MP3 piano rehearsal tracks of the 16 bars of your selected material
  • A one-month Elite Subscription to Vocal Alchemy Online Series valued at $49.95 – including the first six lessons for online vocal support during the course
  • Improved audition technique, including – coping with mistakes/surprises, engaging your audience and combating nerves

If you’re looking to find out what Wisken’s teaching style is like, he said this video shows it perfectly.

“All That Jazz isn’t the song for an audition, but I’ll work with students to work out what is. There are songs that dancers can and should sing that nobody knows about, but I do. Singers who dance, dancers who act, actors who sing – I’ll cover everybody and talk about what the audition panels actually want.”

The workshops begin on Wednesday April 6 and run until May 11, 7pm – 10pm.

The full cost is $650, located at Vocal Alchemy Studios Melbourne.

To book, visit: