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Acting in Plays, Singing/Audition for Sound Of Music


Hello Sean! I am going to be auditioning for Sound Of Music in early December for an 8-18yr theater group. They are very paticular about who they cast. They, like most directors, will cast the kids who they have known for a long time and they know what they are capable of. I have been with this group for 2 years now and they are starting to consider me for larger roles. I am almost 18 and soon will no longer be able to audition, so I am hoping to be cast as a significant role before I graduate. I am looking for a song to audition with that will land me either Liesl, Maria, another significant role. I am not positive what singing range I am, I would say an alto. (My head voice is very weak until it gets to higher notes and i have a little trouble bridging the gap.) I have been practicing On My Own from Les Miserable, but I am not comfortable with it yet and my audition in the first week of December. I need to find a song that I can sing and become comfortable with, but that will also show off my voice and have them consider me for one of the lead roles. Thank you so very much! -Kayla

Hello, Kayla –

Thank you for a great question.

Professional audition notices describe "Liesl" as a mezzo and "Maria" as a soprano. Even though there are  similarities in the actual notes each of them sings, there are enough range and dramatic differences to absolutely separate them into two vocal categories.

Maria is an almost-nun. Richard Rodgers wants that kind of person to be on the soprano side. In this case, one who is really flexible and secure in her upper register.

Liesl is a young woman. Technically, she's old enough to get married. Liesl is suddenly enraptured by a handsome young soldier who's about to go off to war. Liesl is two years older than Shakespeare's "Juliet". Maria, the almost-nun, smells trouble in the air. Liesl is one of many such provocative young women in the mezzo repertoire.

Alto / Mezzo. It all depends on what you're talking about and the opportunity at hand.

No matter the distinct differences between youth theatre companies and a bonafide Equity show, it's always a good idea to choose another song by the same composer for your audition. With Richard Rodgers as the composer, you have a ton of material to choose from. You can sing anything you want from his long list of compositions. Much of it is available on-line, on web sites where you can transpose the song you want into the key you need.

Since "Liesl" seems to be the most likely role for you – or perhaps one of the nuns in the combo who complain about Maria's many infractions against the Holy Rule (a really-choice number) – then consider any of the following material by Richard Rodgers.

It Might As Well Be Spring – STATE FAIR
I Enjoy Being A Girl – FLOWER DRUM SONG
A Wonderful Guy – SOUTH PACIFIC
A Lovely Night – CINDERELLA

Look at "It Might As Well Be Spring" on the URL below. Notice the transposition options. While you're on the site check out the other titles and more.

It Might As Well Be Spring – STATE FAIR

THE SOUND OF MUSIC opened on Broadway in 1959 on November 16th. Everyone knows the show and the score. Here in San Francisco, the Castro Theatre has regular screenings of the 1965 film – and, specifically, the "sing-along" version.

Whatever you sing, your job at this audition is to not only prove your musicianship to the judges on the panel, but to have them perceive you as representing – to the community supporting them financially and buying tickets to their shows – as being the shining End Result of their influence and training.

I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm also an entertainment critic for –
and Classical music reviewer for – When you're ready to come to San Francisco for vocal coaching, contact me at:

Check out my recent interview with popular TV host, David Perry, on "Ten Percent":

Below are links to my articles and youtubes on San Francisco's entertainment and cultural scene:

Film director Luis Valdez on Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

'Moby-Dick' opens at San Francisco Opera: A Conversation with Composer Jake Heggie

Pianist András Schiff on the 'Bach Project in North America'

Vasily Petrenko, BRIT Male Artist of the Year, Conducts SF Symphony, 10/5–6

Marco Vratogna Is Sensational as Rigoletto at San Francisco Opera

A conversation with Joshua Bell, featured guest artist at opening of SF Symphony, 9/19

Jazz vocalist Nicole Henry makes San Francisco debut

Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford duke it out at The Castro Theatre's 90th Anniversary

San Francisco, starring Jeanette MacDonald, to be featured at the Castro Theatre's 90th Anniversary

The Wizard of Oz Meets the San Francisco Symphony

Diane Kruger Shines as Marie Antoinette in Benoit Jacquot's 'Farewell, My Queen'

The "It" Girl, Clara Bow, A Featured Star at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, July 12–15

'The Scottsboro Boys' – Placing the Minstrel Show on Trial

Jun Kaneko's 'Magic Flute' Is Stunningly Visual

Samuel Ramey is Leo the Great in San Francisco Opera's 'Attila'

'Victor Herbert, Collected Songs' – A Great CD

Tom Judson Is Making It Big In San Francisco

A Chat with Dominique Labelle, featured this week in PBO's 'Alexander's Feast'

A Look at Gennadi Nedvigin, Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet

Organist Christopher Houlihan Makes A Powerful Debut at Davies Symphony Hall

Prokofiev's 'Romeo and Juliet' – A Sumptuous Revival at San Francisco Ballet

RICHARD WINSOR – An Interview With the Star of 'Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in 3D'

An Interview with Grammy Award winning organist Paul Jacobs

'Unfaithfully Yours' – Classic Overtures at Noir City X

EDDIE MULLER – On the Slow Death of 35mm – An Interview with the "Czar of Noir"

DEANNA DURBIN – The Leading Lady of NOIR CITY, Wednesday at The Castro Theatre

THOMAS JANE – An interview with the star of HBO's "Hung" and 3D Thriller "Dark Country"

KRISTIN CLAYTON– A Conversation with "The Diva" of Teatro ZinZanni

DIANE BAKER – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK

CAMERON CARPENTER – An Interview with Seán Martinfield

AT LAST! – ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY – An Interview with Seán Martinfield

MARNIE BRECKENRIDGE – An Interview with “La Princesse” of Philip Glass’ Orphée

A Conversation with Elza van den Heever

CUBAN BALLET – An Interview with Octavio Roca

A Look At "Giselle" with Ballerina Lorena Feijóo


ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

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Sean Martinfield


I am a professional vocal coach in San Francisco. I have published over 3300 responses related to vocal training - particularly as it relates to Musical Theatre, Pop/Standard, and Opera. I have 30 years of experience as a personal trainer to working singers and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. I sang professionally for 20 years and know what it means to live the life of a musician. I can determine your voice category, i.e., Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Alto Belter, etc., and how to broaden and strengthen your range. Need an audition song for a Broadway Musical? I can assist you with your song selections and help you build an audition portfolio that demonstrates your vocal category and meets the requirements specified in the audition notice. I have created a vocal methodology, "The Belter`s Method". It will enable those in Cabaret and Musical Theatre to practice more efficiently because it focuses on the vocal demands of professional performers and will keep you performance-ready. If what you want is a better voice and more control over your career moves and choices, contact me at: I am also a music and cultural critic for and I interview internationally recognized musicians, singers, dancers, and recording artists -- particularly those who are now appearing or scheduled to perform in San Francisco.


As a vocal coach, I work primarily with singers and actors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. My students range from absolute beginners to working professionals, from kids to senior citizens. The vast majority of my clients come to me through recommendation. I know how to identify any singer's vocal category, i.e., soprano, tenor, alto, baritone, etc. I know how to muscle-up every singer's vocal range and to expand it beyond conventional definitions. I have developed a vocal methodology for those who want to know how to belt, THE BELTER'S METHOD. There are a number of major components to my work as a vocal coach. The first is to identify the client's vocal category and to strengthen and maximize the vocal range accordingly. Then it's about teaching a reliable vocal workout that will enable the client to gain better control of their musicianship. That includes scale work to expand the vocal range and to improve placement, breath control, and diction. Then we work on material for the audition portfolio, the immediate job or assignment, a recording session, etc. My task to is to better equip singers and actors who are hoping to or relying upon their performance skills and vocal endurance to maintain a career in the Performing Arts. My clients regularly appear in cabarets and musical productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Some have worked in New York and gone on National Tours. For more information, Contact me at:


San Francisco State University – BA in Theatre Arts; graduate work in Theatre, Philosophy, and Comparative Reiligion. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley – Graduate work in Ethics

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