Here are some tips I learned tonight from auditioning youth.
Use their audition sheets as a way to start a conversation.
Ask them about their interests, if they play the trumpet or they’ve done stage combat before. They are more than happy to tell you why they love these extracurricular activities. Even if you’ve never met them before, you can ease them in with a conversation about themselves.
If they are shy, congratulate them on being brave. Also, high fives help.
Some students are terrified at the idea of being assessed. Being brave is often a massive step forward, and you should be celebrating it.
Create a welcoming environment, they shouldn't be scared of their directors.
It's a regular part of a career in performance arts, might as well make their first experience a positive one. They won't be so scared walking into the next one.
Associate emotions with things in their daily lives.
Children have just as much stress and sadness and frustration as adults. Ask them what makes them feel the emotion you are looking for. Don't try to explain grandiose ideas of hypocrisy, ask them what makes them frustrated. Sometimes it is as simple as a parent doing what they told the student they're not allowed too.
Always leave laughing.
Ask them if they have any fun things they can do, like lick their elbow or spin plates on sticks. Some of them will have fun answers and others will laugh at the silly question. Either way, they left smiling.