All applicants must submit a video audition.
We are looking for stage presence as well as musicality. This doesn’t need to be a “polished” recording – usually cellphone video will suffice, as long as we can hear your instrument clearly. Be intentional with your video, but don’t obsess too much over it to the point that you never send it in!
Upload your video to youtube and send us the link. (You may also mail your video on a DVD or USB key, etc. if you prefer – our address is at the bottom of the page.)
- State your name and the position you’re applying for at the beginning of each section of your recording.
- Some of your content can be copied from recent videos of your performances.
- Make sure we can hear your part very clearly through the music. This is important: many auditions have had to be redone because the applicant was not distinguishable on the recording.
Specific to Guitarists
Most CTI teams have more than one guitarist. We ask some guitarists to play more of the rhythmic chord strumming, and others to focus more on melodic lines and texture work. We typically assign these roles during training based on the strengths of each guitarist. This means that, while our guitarists need to be versatile, they don’t need to be complete experts in every skill and technique. Use part of your audition video to showcase your best guitar playing (the style you feel most comfortable with), but also try and show us a variety of skills and techniques, even if those skills are new to you (keep reading for a list of “additional techniques” we’d like to see). This information helps us place guitar applicants on teams with other guitarists who have complementary strengths.
Regardless of your preferred style, we need to see three main things from every guitar applicant. Each of these sections should be 1-3 minutes in length in order to give us a good idea of your talent and ability in each area:
- Play a signature guitar riff: Demonstrate your ability to mimic a melodic guitar riff that you hear in a recorded song. If this is a new skill for you, don’t fret! You don’t need to play anything complicated, just choose a simple line—and let us know that you’re trying something new. If this is a skill you’re very comfortable with, feel free to showcase your skills! (see suggested songs below).
- Play from a chord chart: Demonstrate your ability to play a song that you’re familiar with but don’t have completely memorized by reading off a chord chart. Show us a quick shot of the chart you’re playing from in your video. This section should demonstrate how you mimic the feel of the song you’re playing and how you build energy between different sections (for instance, from a verse into a chorus). It also gives us a sense of how naturally you read and play progressions that you haven’t memorized.
- Play with other musicians: Your ability to play with a band is crucial. Show us some soloing and texture work, or show us your rhythm chops, depending on the style of guitar playing you’re more comfortable with. Play a well-known song in the pop/rock genre and fill the appropriate role in the ensemble (see list below for suggested lead and rhythm songs). Play with a full band (like your worship team) if at all possible–but if you can’t arrange for a full band, it’s okay to play along with just one or two other instruments.
Additional Techniques: There are some additional skills we would like you to demonstrate in your audition, if possible. Remember, you don’t need to execute everything flawlessly, we just want to see what you can do. If you can’t perform these skills, it’s okay, just let us know when you send in your audition. You can submit material beyond what we ask for above if needed, but it’s often easier to just include these skills at some point in the three sections we described above:
- Play both acoustic and electric: The techniques for playing acoustic and electric vary due to the strengths and limitations of each kind of guitar. We want to see you play both so we can get a sense of your style and proficiency on each.
- Play in a variety of styles: Acoustic guitars are often used to play rhythmic chording while electrics are used more often to play solo lines, but both “rhythm” and “lead” styles can be played on both kinds of guitar. Show us a variety of skills on both acoustic and electric, if possible.
- Play barre (or bar) chords: We need to see more than just open position, so make sure that at some point during your audition you show us barre chords or alternate chord voicings (we’d like to see you switch between open and barre voicings, as opposed to just moving a single chord shape up and down the neck). If you’ve never played barres before, try to learn one, and let us know that this is new for you!
- Demonstrate your understanding of electric guitar tone and effects: Electric guitars can achieve a wide range of sounds through the use of effects pedals and the tone settings on your guitar itself. If you already feel comfortable on the electric guitar, try and mimic the sound of the guitar in the original recording of the song you’re playing. If this is completely new to you, don’t worry about it—let us know that this isn’t a skill you’ve practiced and don’t let it stop you from submitting an audition!
Here is a list of suggested songs for the different parts of your guitar audition. You aren’t required to use any of the songs listed here – they are simply suggestions.
Signature Guitar Riff: