Friday, December 27, 2013

Do You Have Some Down Time in Between the Holidays? What Can You Do to Make 2014 a Successful Singing Year?

The holidays are in full swing and maybe you have a little time off from school or work before the New Year.  What can you do to line up 2014 to be YOUR most successful singing year?

1. Establish Goals- Do you want to audition for the next play, solo in a concert, a scholarship for college?
*  Map out a timeline of what needs to get done to achieve that goal.

2. Figure out WHEN you really are going to practice!
* Write it in your calendar now!

3.  Stay Healthy and Take Care of Yourself!

*  Drink lots of water, eat well, sleep at least 8 hours a night, steer clear of those who are sick around you, take a few minutes for yourself everyday.
*  If you have some time off, now is a good time to establish a routine before life gears up again.  Try a  schedule a few days before the end of your break that you think will work once school begins again.   Can  you can stick with it for a few days?  Do you need to tweak it a little bit?

Whether you believe in make New Year's Resolutions or not, now is a time to take a few moment and reflect on what you want 2014 to be like for you!  Take control of the reins and make successful singing one of them!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Happy Holidays and Enjoy the Music of the Season! Stay Healthy and Happy!

Happy Holidays to All!  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or just enjoy Santa Claus, 'tis the season of joy and happiness!  I hope you take the time to enjoy all the wonders of the season.

Take a moment and forget about the stresses of shopping, decorating, cooking, party going, and think about your favorite moments of this holiday season......What are they?

Mine are definitely the music of the season from the concerts I sing in, attend, or hear on the radio, followed by baking cookies with the kids, and seeing the Christmas tree lit up at night.   There are so many warm moments with family and friends that remind us of how lucky we are to have them and all of the comforts they bring us.

I am promising myself this year to take a moment every day to enjoy the wonders of the season.  Just to observe them from the back seat or sing my favorite Christmas song or play some carols on the piano because I feel like it.  It helps to enjoy the season and keep happiness around us.  What can you do to keep the holiday spirit?

Share the beauty of the season from your perspective with another today.  Share a gift that was given to you as a person.  Whether it be through music, baking, making a craft for someone, or just sharing a hug, give to someone else.  You will receive warmth back for your kindness and feel good because of it.  In the spirit of the season of these holidays, we remember and celebrate many things.  Most of all, make it love, friendship, and peace.

Happy Holidays to All and Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy 2014!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Auditions- You Got It! Now What Do You Do to Make Sure You are Re-Cast or Re-Hired in the Future?

Success, you scream inside!  You made it and aced that audition!  Now what?  How do you conduct yourself?  What should you know and what should you do to make sure that you are reconsidered for the future?  No matter if you are in the high school musical, an opera in graduate school, a show on Broadway, or at a major opera house, these things can help you make sure you make a positive impression on the directors and make a positive contribution to the production!

1.  Be a TEAM player.  Know the production or show is more than just you and your part!  How do you fit into the whole?  You are a part of the success, but not the whole.

2.  Do your homework!  Mark your score or libretto and know your part inside and out before the first rehearsal if the music is provided to you before then.

3. Research the historical setting, source of the music, and character you are playing if applicable.  What is stylistically appropriate?

4.  Rehearsal is give and take.  Give your all and the coach, director, and choreographer give back to you!  It is an exchange of artistic talents.

5.  Be professional and courteous at all times.  Save any negative thoughts for another time or place, they will get you nowhere.

6.  Listen, be open to, and follow direction.  It is good to express opinion, but wait until after trying it how you are directed.

7.  Learn those directions and know it for the next rehearsal.  Prepare, prepare!

8.  Stay focused and stay healthy!  Take care of yourself through the rehearsal schedule.  Get lots of sleep, drink water, wash your hands, stay away from those who are ill.  A HEALTHY singer is a happy performer!

9.  Stay in tune with other art forms and what is going on in the industry and arts world.  This helps you to have realistic expectations and grounds you to understand the artistic world.  Doesn't hurt that it helps you have good conversation!

10.  Have fun!  Remember the reason you auditioned in the first place, you love to sing!

Reference Sources:  and Missing the Grade by J. Brittingham

Friday, December 6, 2013

Preparation for the audition, but now what do you do once you get there?

Prepare, prepare for the audition, and now you are at the audition site.  What can you expect? What do you do?  Be prepared for ANYTHING!  All auditions are different, but some staples apply to all.  'Roll with the punches' and be courteous to all involved with the process.  Here are some specific things you can do:

1. Warm-up your voice before you go to the audition.
 *Take time to warm-up at home or if you have a long drive, on the drive to the audition site.

2. Be flexible!  Whatever they say goes, just follow directions with a smile!

3. Get to the audition a little early, but be prepared to wait.
 * It is essential to be on time, so give yourself a little extra time to get there.  You may end up waiting, but show that you are responsible.
 * Warm-up a little more in the bathroom and start your song (it is very likely this is the only place there is to warm-up.  If you are blessed with a warm-up room, use it wisely and don't over-practice!)
 * Don't talk to much while you wait- why waste your valuable singing voice?

4.  Enter the audition room with a smile and acknowledge the judges and accompanist.
 *If you are using on the house accompanist, take a moment to speak with them about any specifics in your selection.  If it is an audition with only one selection to be sung, still acknowledge the  accompanist.
 * Say hello to the judges and announce who you are.  Also clearly state what you will be singing clearly (unless there is only one selection to be sung).

5.  Be prepared for any reaction or no reaction from the judges.
 * Wait for them to tell you they are ready, but do not let the reaction affect you ('This is my least favorite aria'-  it is very unprofessional, but it happens.)  Smile and continue on!

6.  Find your focus in the room before you sing.
 * Mentally prepare yourself to be in character or emotion of what you are about to sing.
 * Find a focus point in the room slightly above or to one side of judges heads (just not their faces!)

7.  Give it your best shot!  Break a Leg!
 * Sing your selection how you know it best.  Do not depend on the accompanist to guide you , but do not ignore what they are doing either!  Go with your gut!

8. Wait for judges to dismiss you.  Thank the judges and gracefully leave.
 * No matter what happens, don't let them see that you are upset or unhappy with how you did.  Save it for  outside of the room.  They want to know that you are a joy to work with not a drama queen/king!

All in all, conduct yourself in a professional and respectful manner.  Deal with the pitfalls afterwards.  Wait for the results.  If you are not happy with them or want to know more, make a polite phone call or email inquiry to find out how you might be able to improve your audition to better your chances next time.  Most judges/directors will give you feedback that you can learn from to increase your chances of success!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Auditions- What else do you need to know besides your part?

Auditions are such a large part of our world as musicians.  How do you know you are auditioning for the right things and that you will be successful at your next audition?

First of all, do your homework.  Make sure you know the demands of the role for which you are auditioning. Is it a soprano role but you are an alto? If so, it may not be the best fit.  To maximize your chances, make sure you are auditioning for the appropriate role.

What are the requirements of the opera house, theater, or school.  Is it a paid or volunteer job?  What is the length of the rehearsal run and run of the show?  Can you commit to those times and does it fit into your world?

On the flip side, if it is a college audition, can you minor in music as well or only major?  Do they have a Voice Major and a Musical Theater Major?  Plan your audition material appropriately.

Secondly, know how your audition material fits into the whole.  What is the role that you are auditioning for?  Are you the sweet soprano who falls in love with the mischievous villain?   Are you the joker of the cast?  Research your role and how it should be played.  Apply it to your audition material.

Know the history behind the opera or musical you are auditioning for.  What era was it written in so what is stylistically appropriate?

Thirdly,  prepare the audition selection with that knowledge and apply it to how you sing all of those correct pitches and rhythms.  Communicate the song.  Show the emotion of the song or act out the scene a little bit to show that you don't just stand still and sing in German and have no clue what you are saying.  Singing is a means of communication no matter what language you are singing in.

Lastly, be prepared for anything and be courteous and polite to all of those at the audition:  those who check in the singers to audition, the judges, and fellow auditioners.  A little kindness goes a long way!

Stay tuned next week for what to do when you actually GET to the audition site!