Monday, March 6, 2023

Summer Singing and Summer Musical Theater Programs: Why are they beneficial and what is an option?

 Summer Singing Programs and Musical Theater Programs

Why is summer the time to do an intensive Singing or Musical Theater program?  We often have unstructured time to fill in our summers.  Do something constructive that takes focus and concentration while having a fun time!  Sing, dance, and act and fine tune those skills to enhance your experiences throughout the year and increase your chances of getting cast in bigger roles, being given a solo, whatever your dream may be.

There are so many different options to choose from, how do you decide?  Take some time to analyze what you (or your child) need and want to get out of a program.  NOW is the time to address those things that need to be worked on or what you want to fine tune.

Do you need direction in what is the best repertoire for you to sing either in the musical theater genre or in general?  Do you need Vocal technique only?   Dance training?  Acting coaching? Vocal technique in combination with acting and dancing or work on all 3 simultaneously?  Confidence building?  Do you need a small setting for individual attention or a large setting where individual work is minimal?  Do you want a combination of all of the above?  Maybe you do 2 programs of different structures.  One can give you the individual attention you know you will thrive under and the other a larger stage experience.  If taken simultaneously or back to back you maximize your potential!  What is right for you or your child?

Here is an option to consider:

Summer Musical Theater Series:  

What is it?  Longer individual voice lessons over a span of a few weeks (5 lessons of 1 hour each over a 6 week period), an Acting a Song Masterclass and Dance Workshop.  This enables repertoire selected for each individual,  focus on learning 2 songs quickly, address vocal technique, text analysis, acting a song, and delivering musical theater repertoire in a performance.

Will this work with other summer programs?  This program is designed to work on all of these skill sets and enhance your skills in any other program you may be doing.  Commitment is 5 1 hour blocks of time over 5 1/2 weeks of Tuesday and Thursday teaching times.  You identify when you are available during teaching hours presented and which of 2 Workshops work for your schedule.  Focus on the INDIVIDUAL voice and how to add it to other performance aspirations.

When is it?  Tuesday/Thursday June 8- July 20, July 12 or 17 Masterclass and July 26 Performance

NEW:  Lesson Package Options for those who want to explore lessons but have limited time.  (3-5 lesson package options)

How do I find out more?  Visit Susan Anders Brizick Website and Registration  Full Program Information and Registration page is found here.  You may also comment on this blog requesting information.   Happy Singing!!

Monday, February 13, 2023

Take care of your body and mind to prepare for practicing singing AND performing!

Taking care of yourself is the first step in preparation to practice singing AND to perform.  

Everyone says they are going to do a better job at taking care of themselves in the New Year.  It's now mid-February and how are you doing with it?  February is the NEW January in 2023, so lets get to it.  Many high school and middle school singers are in the midst of their musical theater production rehearsal schedules and others are preparing for choir festivals.  Its a time you are around so many other people, have more stress, and LESS sleep. 

What are the most important things that YOU can do to take care of yourself and your singing voice?  These tips take care of your BODY and well as your MIND to stay healthy.

1. Make a schedule that will help you to accomplish all that you need to get done. Make a list of what you need to do.  Prioritize what need to be done today and daily vs. what can possibly wait.  An example might be:

**Practice the song you are going to be working on in your lesson or rehearsal tomorrow.

**Study for your math test that is in 2 days for 30 minutes today and 30 minutes tomorrow.

** Look at lines for OFF Book rehearsal for 10 minutes each day so ready for Saturday

** Workout or do a few minutes of yoga to focus your mind.

2.  Eat a healthy diet. 

3. Stay well hydrated. Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. 

4. Wash your hands and avoid close contact with those who are under the weather when possible.

5. Workout or do Yoga daily.  It releases feel good endorphins and creates natural energy.

6. Make a good nights rest a priority.

7. Find time to relax and do something for you, even if only for 10 minutes

8. Prioritize your practice time.  Remove your phone from your practice space (or silence it if you are using it to practice).  Staying well practiced help you to maintain healthy technique when in rehearsal.

9. Meditate or stretch, breathe relaxing belly breaths,  take a few minutes to connect with what YOUR inner voice is saying.  Do you need to take a break to eat, walk around the room, chat with a friend?

10. Pay attention to your body and its signals.  Starting to feel a scratchy throat or run down? Gargle with salt water or take vocal rest.  

Taking a few extra minutes to PLAN your days will remind you to take things one step at a time and keep your stress levels under control.  Taking care of your needs will keep you healthy.  A healthy body and a health mind equal a healthy voice!!

Thursday, March 17, 2022

What are 3 big principles we should think about in the the singing practice room?


In the Singing Practice Room and Lessons: 3 Main Principles of singing we should think about.

Now that you have identified a good place to practice and practice disciplines, let's tap into our brains!!   By setting our space we have gotten the brain ready to think about singing.   Here is where a few yoga or short meditation may help as well to set the brain and body in the right space.

The actions one performs while singing begin in the brain.  The brain sends certain instructions to the nerves and muscles used to produce singing and often needs extra time to learn new messages and retrain the old thoughts. You must be intentional is asking the brain to send new instructions with regular practice.  'Old habits die hard' and thinking differently is a true key to getting the muscles to respond differently and improve or change singing.  

There are 3 main principles we should all think about in the practice room AND lessons

1. Breath management

2. Getting rid of tensions

3. Vowel formation

Breath management: One of the best ways to tap into managing your breath for singing is through yoga, meditation, pilates.  A short practice leading into singing practice is great to tap into the low relaxed breathing we need to sing.  Learning to take a full breath in a relaxed way, learning which muscle groups to engage when expelling the breath, and doing so reliable takes time and practice. So too does learning tto release the tension in the muscles at the end of an exhale in order to prepare for a  full inhale involves much muscle coordination.  We can work on managing our breath with these extra body practices as well as breath exercises specifically for singing.  Self monitoring and teacher monitoring are crucial.

-Outside disciplines: Yoga, Pilates, Meditation

-Singing exercises: Full inhale and exhale on a hiss like a leaky tire for certain number of counts

                                Lip buzzes or motorboats both general and on particular pitches

                                Sustaining sung phrases while monitoring breath management

Eliminating Tension:   We identify tension in our bodies as we work on breath management and work towards releasing that tension as we produce singing.  We often first feel where the throat is tight, but not be are that the tightness begins in another area such as the back of t eh neck, the jaw, the tongue.  Taking time to identify the tension is the first step in relieving the tension. 

For example: Identify:  Is your tongue tight?  Ribs collapsing or tight?

                                        Then: Do you have enough breath for the phrase? 

                                                  Do you have enough space in your jaw or is your jaw tense and cutting                                                    down on the fluidity of breath?

*What are the areas of tension and can you release that tension to get better breath management.

Vowel Formation:  Warm up exercises should begin with a series of pure vowels in a comfortable middle range.  We most often use Italian vowels of  (/a/ //e/ /i/ /o/ /u/) in mid-range voice on warmup exercises, we work towards extending the range.  This helps our sound be carried by the breath in a flowing manner.  We then add consonants to eventually form words.  Time spent on vowels only is very beneficial to identifying breath management and eliminating tension before we introduce true words.  Consonants do aid in this process both in nonsense words and true words that are not a part of a song. 

These concepts are all interconnected but can be focused on individually in warmups or vocalise before moving on to repertoire.  As you work on your repertoire, reiterate the concepts both individually and combined.  Write down what you notice changes between warmups into repertoire and apply the next day.  Remember one thing at a time and due diligence with regular practice pays off.  Your brain and your body will thank you!


Thursday, March 10, 2022


Why is the concentrated format of a summer program such as the Summer Musical Theater Series so beneficial?

-More intense time focused on singing is a lot of fun!

-The concentration of longer lessons for just a few weeks makes everyone work harder and see progress faster!!

- Much practice must happen in between lessons to master technique (breathing, phrases, and pitches) and to advance to the next phase of the song.

- Focus on the lyrics really enhanced the understanding that we are communicating when we sing.

- Masterclass work on acting emphasizes expression &how we must feel the emotion of the song.

- Dance workshop made everyone more comfortable moving in general.  Get to know basic musical theater dance steps and sequences. 

- Masterclass work helps make all more comfortable with one another and get to know others who like to do what you like to do.  AND the more often you perform, the better you become!!

- Shorter span of time between first starting a song and performing it really creates a spark to practice and make it the best it can be.

- Keeps the singing voice working over the summer.  Remember what its like to stop a sport for 3 months and then start again?  Avoid the backslide and keep singing!!

- Focused time can be spent working on singing without extra pressures of the regular school year.

Give it some serious thought and sign up today! Full Program and NEW Partial Program with a la Carte workshops!  

Outside of the area?  Sign up to do programming ONLINE.  Find out more about summer music programs, especially those that focus on developing your individual talents. Happy Singing!

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Summer Music Programs and Working on Your Singing, Acting, and Dancing Skills: Why its a good idea!

Can you believe it is time to starting the think about SUMMER? What is your child going to do during the summer months? How about sing, dance and act!  Why is summer a good time to do a concentrated program?

It is a great time to work on your singing or any of the trio of talents!  Sign up to take voice lessons or a Musical Theater Singing Series, audition for a summer production, pick up dance or acting lessons. There are so many benefits to more concentrated summer programs.

What in General?

- You or your child have a little more free time (school is out or you have summer hours).

- There is more time to schedule something that might not fit into your school year.

- There is more time to practice.  And More concentrated practice yields better results.

- It can give structure to an otherwise unstructured time and focus on a goal.

-It will keep you motivated to work on your goals.

- It will increase your chances of attaining those goals during the school year (get into a select choir, get a lead in the play, get a music scholarship for college)

- Many summer opportunities combine singing, acting, and dancing with an emphasis on one of the three.

- You can pick up something new or something that you know you need to work on.  (ie you are a dancer who know she needs to sing better in order to get the lead in the next musical).

- Summer programs are often an intensive concentration on a subject.

- It builds your confidence as a performer and a person.

-It is fun!

- A more concentrated time on a skill set has very beneficial results!

Contact me for more information on Summer Musical Theater Series programming and HOW to get involved.  Registration opens March 15.  If you are not local, research summer programs in YOUR area or consider taking lessons ONLINE.  Very beneficial to do AND works well for the working parent and driving kids to activities (or not) in the summer months. 

Tune in next week for what are the benefits of a concentrated format of summer program such as the Summer Musical Theater Series (Full program option and Partial program option)

Thursday, February 24, 2022

How Do I Know I am Making The Most Of My Practice Time? What Is The Best Way To Practice?


How Do I Know I Am Making the Most of  My Practice Time?  

There are so many ways to practice, what is the best way to make sure you are prepared for your lessons and progressing at a good pace?  Here are the top 6 things you can do to maximize your practice time.

1. Practice in a clearly defined practice space.

*   Set up a place to practice and do not leave it.  Once you have started practicing, do not answer your phone, text, talk to anyone.  It is your private singing and practice time; stay on task.

2. Practice what your teacher gives you.

* Voice teachers craft warm-ups (vocalise) for a reason. Start practice with the warm-ups from your previous lessons as well as a few favorites you know warm up your voice well.  THEN move on to your repertoire.

3. Practice songs focusing on what your teacher recommended in your lesson in addition to learning new pitches.

* In your lesson, pinpoint 2 or 3 things you should work on during the week in practice.  Put it into your own words.  i.e. Breath Control (use your laughing muscles) and Breathe only where you have breath marks!  You can do this with your teacher in every lesson.

4. Pay active attention to your voice in the moment. 

* Make a note of it in both your warm-ups and repertoire.  Write down questions for your teacher to take to your next lesson.

5. Ask yourself WHY if things are not going the way you want them to in practice. 

* Target the tough areas.  (See details for this process next week!)

6. Sing a "Cool Down" for your voice.

* Sing a song that is well set in your voice.  This way you 'warm-down' and know if your practice of the day follows good technique for your vocal development.  It is always fun to end your practice time by just singing something you love!

Remember:  The more active your brain is when practicing, the more you will get out of your practice time and the quicker you will obtain your singing goals!  

Tune in next week for how to have a more successful practice session and target trouble spots in practicing using the "Why" Technique.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

What is the Triple Threat in Musical Theater? What do I need to do to be competitive in Musical Theater?


What is the Triple Threat in Musical Theater?  It's all the things you need to be good at to be a Musical Theater star!  You must be a good singer, a good actor, and a good dancer; all rolled into ONE!  It can be done, but most people need to take extra time (and Lessons) in all three!

Singing, acting and dancing are all very important in musical theater.  We all have one area in which we excel, one or two that are decent or needs a little more work at varying times in our lives.  Some things are genetic, we have a natural affinity to them.  Some we were exposed to early on in our lives through dance class or being taken to see plays at a early age.  And some are just skills that we haven't had the time to work on improving OR just need additional time to work on!

What can you do to get there?  Take a moment and think about your skill set.  What comes easily to you?  What challenges you in rehearsals the most?  What did the director say would be beneficial for you to work on for future auditions?  (That's a tough question to ask, but always a good one to know what skills others think you can improve upon!)

Let's look at the scenario of a person or two:  


Madison is a great dancer.  She has been taking dance lessons since she was 5.  She takes ballet, hip-hop, modern.  She dances up a storm.  Acting comes naturally to her.  She is always pretending to be in a play with her friends and is really good at imitating accents or repeating lines from movies or shows in perfect character.  It comes naturally.  She tries to sing in choir because she knows she should.  It will help her in that next audition for the school musical.  She struggles though. She lacks confidence and it's hard for her to hear herself in choir because she sings softly so she doesn't embarrass herself by singing a wrong note.  

What should Madison do to be a better Triple Threat?  You guessed it, take VOICE LESSONS!  Here she can work on her skill set and her confidence.  In a one on one situation she and her teacher can really figure out what she is already capable of doing vocally in a comfortable environment.  They can work on good singing technique to advance her skill set even more.  They can explore different categories of musical theater singing to see where she is most comfortable and begin work on more challenging songs together.  They build her confidence and skill set.  She also can add acting lessons OR find a summer singing program that also works with Acting a Song (My Summer Musical Theater Series would be an example)

WHEN can she do this?  Always a hard thing to make the time, but summer is often an excellent time to begin working on that added skill. Since so many schools do a spring musical, late spring, summer or fall are wonderful times to begin voice lessons! ANY time of the year when she may have one less activity in her schedule OR a number of months before an audition.


Paula loves to sing.  She has been singing ever since she can remember.  She sings in choir at school, the audition only Chamber Choir, at church, in musicals, has had solos in all, she sings whenever she can!  Paula also loves to dance and has taken dance classes off and on for years.  She dances with her friends and it comes pretty naturally to her.  Paula really struggles with her acting.  She find it hard to fall into being a character outside of her self. She is an open book with her emotions in her regular life so it is hard to pretend to be someone else by acting.

What should Paula do to be a better Triple Threat? Take ACTING LESSONS or get involved with a theater program.  By working with an acting coach in either an individual lesson or acting class, she can work on techniques to help her build her acting skills.  Alter her identity of always wearing her heart on her sleeve and learn how to act the part of a different human for a small period of time.  She can learn its fun to do that and have a good time with others in a group setting OR work on monologues and channel her inner actor.  There are many individual acting coaches and local theater programs which have small group acting class.  

WHEN?? Summer is always a good time, but so is ANY time of the year where maybe there is one less activity on the regular plan.  And similar to Madison, a number of months before and audition.  There are summer programs which help a singer learn to ACT a song or have acting games and segments interspersed with working on a show or scene.  


Allison loves to act.  She has been involved in straight theater since she was little as her parents always called her the little actress.  She is a natural at impersonations.  She also comes from a musical family and sings all the time. She does notice however that her voice is not as strong as she would like it to be to try out for the musical.  She doesn't sing in choir because of her class schedule.  Her other reason to pause- her 2 left feet.  She struggles with dancing and doesn't really like to dance along with friends at a party or dance.  She feels awkward.  

What should Allison do to be a better Triple Threat?  DANCE CLASSES first and VOICE LESSONS or SMALL GROUP VOICE CLASS/join CHOIR.  Taking dance classes will help Allison get more comfortable with moving her body and familiar with basic dance steps.  There are many Musical Theater Dance classes offered through all times of the year.  If after a class or two, there is not time for both dance class and voice lessons, she can find programs that work on both skill sets.  I offer both a Dance workshop in which we work on basic dance steps and sequences commonly used in Musical theater productions and a masterclass that helps with acting a song.  

WHEN?  Same answer- when you can carve out the time.

WHY and WHATS IMPORTANT?  Working on your skill sets in the areas which you are strong is just as important as the skill sets in which you need a little help.  Becoming more comfortable and gaining knowledge in your #2 and #3 skills is just as important as fine tuning the one you excel in!

Do you fit the description of any of these people?  A combination of them?  Do you want to land that lead or larger role in the next musical production at your school or community theater?  Take some time and figure out which skill set YOU EXCEL at and which maybe you can IMPROVE.  Do you have plans for the summer yet?  MAKE some by enrolling in Voice Lessons, Dance Class, Acting Lessons OR a summer program or show to work on your Singing, Dancing, and Acting.  If summer isn't the time for you, analyze when you have a slightly lighter schedule and make it (YOU as a Triple Threat) a priority.

For more information about voice lessons and programming in my studio or the local area, comment on this article!