Want To Play in the NYC Subway? Sign Up to Audition.

A stop on the New York City subway.(Photo: Spencer T. (Flickr))
A stop on the New York City subway.(Photo: Spencer T. (Flickr))

To paraphrase an old joke, how do you get a New York solo debut? Practice. And you could also audition for the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Music Under New York performance series.

According to the New York Post, it’s audition season once again for Music Under New York, the series that since 1985 has given artists performing in many genres opportunities to play at high-traffic locations in New York City’s fabled subway.

And like all other auditions, those for the Music Under New York series are no joke. The audition venue is no less than Grand Central Terminal, and musicians have five minutes to impress a diverse panel of judges – that is, if the musicians’ audition packets earn them invitations to audition in the first place.

The current roster of Music Under New York musicians runs the gamut from opera singers, a classical oboe trio and a classical punk cellist to a country-western singer and a Finnish a cappella choir. Other types of performers, including break dancers and mimes, also appear on the roster and on the platforms.

If you prefer to do your act casually, you can still take your axe down into the subway on the spur of the moment and, as long as you follow the MTA’s guidelines,  play to your heart’s content. But if you want to be scheduled for a prime time slot at a high-traffic subway location, you’ve gotta prove your cred.

Read more: Musicians Vie for Subway Performer Spots (NYP)