Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ignorance is not Bliss

It really isn't. 

Many of us, when we look back at things we did in our studies, in the business,  when we didn't know what we do now, CRINGE at how we handled things.

It happens to ALL of us.

However, it doesn't mean you cannot be as prepared as possible and when you know better, you do better.

Let's talk auditions, shall we?

In music theatre,  things are a little slower now for holiday season and will ramp up again soon enough.

In opera, deadlines are coming for summer program applications,  many YAPs and general auditions are happening now.

What are YOU doing?

Here's just a quick check list to see if you are ready to truly be taken seriously for whatever you are focusing on.

1.  Are you studying?

This doesn't mean once in a while,  or calling a teacher or a coach for a "quick fix" the day before or the week prior to an audition.  This means, are you studying regularly?  Figuring out what that means for you is CRUCIAL for you!

2.  Are you ready to audition for what you are want to be seen for?

Do you know the business landscape you are entering?  Do you know what is required?  Are you accessing that fully enough in your current development to be seen as a viable candidate?

3.  Are you taking workshops about the business of show?  Do you take advantage of blogs, webinars, online skype sessions, and in person workshops to get to know what the business of show is really about?

4.  Do you have a team around you that can give you TRUTH about where you are in your current development to help you with recognizing the mine fields, what to avoid,  where to be seen?

5.  Are you doing regular research about casting directors, opera companies,  conductors,  directors, agents, regional theatre companies,  summer stock and the like, in order to recognize the people who are in the position to hear you and hire you?

6.  Are you working on the "other" aspects of your craft - not just singing - like acting,  audition protocol,  dancing and/or moving well?

7.  How is your online presence?  Are you up-to-date with your website?  Are you visible professionally on social media?  Are you on audition sites for submissions?

8.  Do you know how to prepare for the actual AUDITION with repertoire,  presentation,  what you wear,  how you approach things?

9.  Are you overwhelmed yet?????

That last one was supposed to make you laugh.

It CAN be overwhelming.  It doesn't have to be.  Breaking things down for yourself will help you figure out where you are,  show you were you might need a little more time,  a little more attention,  and help you organize what can be an overwhelming process.

There is no reason to feign ignorance anymore.  It often is used as a stress management tactic,  but it never really fools anybody.  The only person it might fool,  is you.

If you commit to your process,  you will find what you need in order to access what you are ready for NOW.

NOW is all we have.  Use it wisely.  Don't wish,  just get it done.  One step at a time.

Theatre isn't going anywhere.  When YOU are ready to be seen and heard,  it will be there.

Don't panic,  don't whine.  Don't claim ignorance in this day & age.  Find what you need;  if you don't know what you need, ask for some guidance!  Many of us are here to help you get on the right path for YOU.

During this upcoming holiday season,  take stock,  be real with yourself,  begin to discover more about yourself and prepare to step securely into your NEW YEAR as you pursue this crazy, wild and wonderful business, called show!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Professional IS as Professional DOES

happy Sunday!

My blogging life has dropped off considerably so apologies to those of you who have been waiting for a post!

Much has been happening and often, the same issues recur over and over again.

One of the recurring issues I have seen as ongoing,  is the lack of professionalism when it comes to social media.

But Susan,  someone is going to say,  social media isn't meant to be professional!

Ah, but APPROACH means everything!

Approaching a professional in the business is requesting a moment of their TIME.  And in that moment, you might be requesting their time to enquire about their services, or a question that will take their time.  Just because they are on Facebook or Twitter or any platform that gives you access to their profile,  does not mean you should  approach with a casual flair.

Social media is a double-edged sword.  It makes us accessible,  but it also seems to eliminate personal boundary. 

HOW you approach someone in the business reveals more about YOU than it does about them.

Before you just start messaging someone,  stop for a second and figure out exactly what you want to say and why you want to say it.

Be respectful.  If your time is valuable, so is theirs!

If you are asking a professional question,  don't assume a freebie.  Any professional's time is worth something.  They determine that worth,  not you.

Figure out how that professional wants to be contacted.  Social media?  Via their website?  Via phone?  If you aren't sure,  ask.  When in doubt,  an email is often the most respectful,  as it allows the person you are contacting to get back to you in their own time;  it also shows you have taken the time to find their website,  discover their contact information and made an initial enquiry, instead of just pm-ing them via their Facebook page.

I often get inquiries via FB and simply send the link to my website and request they email me once they have read through.   Most inquiries then come through the channels I prefer and can deal with effectively.  If they don't,  then the inquiry was not that serious.

If you are asking for a professional's time and expertise,  don't assume they are going to be your "friend" or "peer" in the asking.  Every professional I know has worked hard to develop their expertise, and that isn't for free.  They are not simply going to meet you for coffee to talk about your career when you are someone unknown to them.  You are saying "but Susan, nobody does THAT!" Oh yes, they do my sweet snowflakes,  yes they do.

A professional's time is worth whatever they decide it is worth.  If you are seeking out their TIME in relation to their expertise,  then you are approaching said professional,  with professionalism.

Many of us are more than willing to go the extra mile to help you,  if we see what you are willing to do,  how professional you are behaving,  if your talk matches your walk,  if you truly are looking to develop your knowledge, your craft,  your career.

Most of us have a fairly strong bullshit detector.  This allows us to see and discern quickly.  We have to.  This is something YOU must develop too. 

So, how do you develop this professionalism and etiquette even if you are green in your craft and/or in the business?

A few things to consider:

1.  Approach with respect,  and ask for clarification if you are unsure.
2.  Do NOT assume.  Ask.  Request. 
3.  Know who you are approaching.  Do your research. 
4.  Know what you are requesting.
5.  Follow up, follow up, follow up!

It's not rocket science,  and should be common sense,  but even that is lacking these days.

A professional in ANY business will respond more favorably to someone who approaches them WITH professionalism. 

Your behavior toward someone reveals more than you know.  That you have complete control over.  Don't feign "but I didn't know".   Find out. 

Simply treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Behavior is as behavior does.

Your professionalism is revealed through your BEHAVIOR not your resume.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Business of Singing Coffee Clatch Workshop in NYC

If you are a classical/opera singer you need to know Cindy Sadler!  Her Coffee Clatch Workshop hits New York City on NOVEMBER 8th!  

 Cindy is known throughout the opera world for her savvy and tell-it-like-it-is

There's still space available for our Coffee Clatch Workshop on November 8! Here's your chance to "caffeinate your career" by addressing specific issues in an informal, fun setting. Tickets here:

Follow and read Cindy's Blog

Her website:

And The Business of Singing:

Singers in Atlanta - or willing to get to Atlanta: check this out!

If you or any classical/opera singers you know are interested in going to Atlanta or live in the area,  I cannot recommend Maestro Leonardo Vordoni enough!

He is back in Atlanta for the duration of 2015 and starts private coachings TOMORROW NOVEMBER 2!!!!

Please pass on the info to any singers or teachers that might benefit!

Coachings can be booked online here:

and follow the prompts. 

For fee details you can just contact him directly clicking on SEND EMAIL in the STAFF MEMBERS  page.

Mo. Vordoni's website is here: