Audition Skills Lesson

        Audition coaching based on over 28 years of audition experience

Many attendees of this lesson are now working opera singers, five Fest contracts in Germany & Switzerland and others have been offered places at the National Opera Studio, Royal Northern College of Music, Wales International Academy of Voice, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, ENO Operaworks, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 

I’ve prepared a large number of singers for operatic auditions as well as applicants to music colleges and young artist programmes.  The audition experience can and should be fun, exciting and something you will really look forward to, not an experience to dread.  Learn how to take charge of your audition experience with skills and craft, present yourself and your arias in the best possible way and to sing at your best on the day setting yourself on a path of consistent improvement.   


  • Are you a wonderful singer who just cannot get on top of the audition process?  
  • Once and for all learn professional Audition Skills
  • Achieve the results you really want

You will learn:

  • What makes you special!
  • How to prepare for your audition ahead of time
  • How to position yourself psychologically for your optimum performance outcome
  • How to be and feel empowered at your audition
  • Exercises to build and develop confidence when you are auditioning
  • Addressing your particular audition issues and concerns
  • What to do (and not to do) while waiting to sing
  • How to treat the auditors
  • What to wear 
  • How to present yourself and look professional 
  • What you should focus on during your aria 
  • How should you answer questions from the auditors?  
  • Understanding the psychology around the process to build confidence
  • How to deal with colds and sore throats
  • How to market yourself during your audition
  • The Art of Taking Your Leave

This is a one-off private lesson of about 2 hours (or can be longer depending on particular audition issues) and is tailored to your needs delivered in my home in Wandsworth**.  The fee for this lesson is £75.00

I particularly enjoy helping working singers move ahead professionally.  A number of fine singers have come to me when their careers had stalled and they were unable to move up the operatic ladder.  I find with time, careful work on acting and presentation as well as a professional understanding of what actually happens in an audition, I can and have made a difference and helped a number of singers restart their careers.  Watching this happen has been hugely rewarding part of my work. 


What my students say about this lesson:

“Norman is a coach who cares about and invests in the people he works with, both as performers and as individuals. He cares deeply about an authentic and personal approach to opera and I value his full preparation before every coaching, so that he can bring a lot to the table with you. When working on an aria or a role, he has helped me broaden my understanding of the text, libretto, historical context, plot and character, as well as clarify any areas of uncertainty. It is a holistic approach, but with an emphasis on the practical elements of performing, in order to deliver a final product tailored for the stage, audition, or competition. I would thoroughly recommend working with him!”

– Alex Banfield – Tenor

“Working with Norman was an amazing experience.  He has prepared me very well for my audition so I got my Fest contract at the Bielefeld Opera House. 🙂  I’m so grateful to Norman for giving me so many important tools that I am still using”. 

– Dusica Bijelic – Soprano – former ROH Jette Parker Young Artist

“I got to know Norman three years ago in London, and since then I have been interacting with him over and over again to experience my roles more profoundly and to communicate to the audience what Norman is doing to help this visualisation-driven sensation.  His knowledge and preparation are unprecedented and I am always happy to go through the process of finding the character and core of the aria and role with him, I recommend to everyone his “Acting for Opera Course” and his book as an introduction and I look forward to our next project “. 

– Roger Krebs – Bass

“I’d like to share my experience of taking Norman’s one-to-one audition prep session. I can honestly say it’s the best 2 hours I’ve ever spent. I had been having major problems with auditions, falling apart in front of the panel every time and singing really badly, when I know I could have done better. I didn’t know if Norman would be able to help, but since I wasn’t going to get very far if I couldn’t handle an audition, I felt that it was worthwhile seeing if he could offer any suggestions.  During our session together it was soon obvious that Norman has a real in-depth knowledge of the psychology of auditions, and a wide range of tactics for coping with them, as well as immensely helpful advice on how to behave, dress, remain calm, and how to focus on the task in hand without being distracted by nerves or anything else. He’s also a really nice, kind and encouraging person! I came away feeling that I was far, far better equipped to tackle an audition than I had ever expected to be and my first audition after seeing him was successful. What pleased me even more than the success itself was feeling that Norman has now given me a range of tools to help me perform well in future auditions and to cope with whatever might happen in the audition room. I can whole-heartedly recommend a session with him if you are a singer who will ever have to audition – it will be well worth your while. It certainly was for me”. – Ruth Mackie – Mezzo Soprano

“Norman Cooley gave me a lot of helpful suggestions with his programme Acting for Opera since I worked with him in Cardiff, 2017.  He has a lot of experience and knowledge about all the crucial things connected with auditioning process, experiencing the pieces you sing and emotionally getting through your role.  I recommend working with him before going to auditions, to prepare yourself mentally for all what is expected of you.”

– Nela Šarić – Soprano, Belvedere Finalist, 1st prizes Riccardo Zandonai International Competition and 2017 Stuart Burrows International Voice Award, among others.

“I just thought I’d email to let you know that my undergraduate auditions were successful this year and I got accepted to (two top music colleges in England)!!  Thank you for your fantastic workshops! Each of them benefited me massively in different ways so thank you so much!!!”  – Rebecca Milford – Mezzo Soprano

“Yesterday I had my first audition since my lesson with Norman, and the difference between this and previous auditions was absolutely phenomenal. In the past, I was always a nervous wreck before auditions, full of self-doubt and panic. Yesterday I stayed completely calm and collected throughout and felt I sang to the absolute best of my ability. Using Norman’s techniques, I felt thoroughly prepared and quietly confident as I made my way to the audition, and even the waiting room, where we could hear the auditions taking place, didn’t feel daunted. I was able to focus and concentrate and put myself in the best possible place to sing. I came away buzzing and feeling really happy with how it had gone.”  Lottie Greenhow – Soprano

“I had my first audition since seeing Norman recently and the difference was amazing. Using the toolkit he had given me left me feeling completely prepared, I knew I’d done all the things I needed to which eliminated so much extra stress leaving me free to perform. The session was so useful in identifying ways I could improve my audition technique without any extra effort, in fact by getting rid of lots of useless effort I was already making. I think the session is useful for all singers, not just those with particular audition problems, this is a huge part of our job and making sure I do it properly has made me feel like a more professional, employable singer and musician.” Louise Wayman – Soprano

“I just had an audition and feel compelled to email you and tell you that it was brilliant. 

I followed all of your instructions to the tee and am even just about to meet friends – so am following the plan through! For the first time in a long time I felt I had control over what was happening – and I know I sang brilliantly because I totally lost myself in the character and didn’t even have a chance to think about the usual troubles.  I thought you’d be pleased to know that our meeting has already had such a positive effect. I’m genuinely looking forward to my next audition.”  Erika Madi Jones – Soprano

“I really feel that my most recent success owes a lot to Norman. Not only did he pick up on strengths I didn’t even know I had, in just one session he showed me exactly how I could demonstrate them to a panel in a very limited time slot. I went into the audition feeling sure of myself.  What is so lovely about Norman is that it wasn’t just ‘have a session and be done with it’. We communicated via phone and email both before and after the session- everything was tailored to my personal style and requirements. It felt like he supported me every step of the way.”  Hannah Dobra – Soprano


For more information contact:

Norman Cooley

07880 493989

020 8812 4703


              **Please note there are two new additions here at Acting for Opera.  I have two cats now.  Walda and Genevieve.