Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Perception vs Reality

Wednesday musings...

When you are you auditioning, you are trying to get a job.

What do you bring into that room besides your talent?!?!!?

If you think talent is the only thing that is considered, you are highly mistaken.

Every one of you who read this blog know people who work in our business who are not the most talented. But they WORK. Why?

Talent does not account for everything. Why?

If you do not begin to truly develop a capacity to see how you come across and begin to work on YOU then why are you there?

If talent isn't everything, but behavior reveals everything, are you working on your behavior as well as your talent?

How are you perceived when you walk into the audition room? Is that perception real or imaginary?

Reality is NOT a fixed concept. Just because you view yourself one way, does not mean you come across that way.

What do you BRING? You cannot control everything - the agenda, the isms of the casting company, the business itself - but you CAN control your preparedness, your professionalism, your language, you accessibility, your personality, your truthfulness.

"What you cannot afford to be wrong about is WHO you are and WHAT you stand for." From my beloved husband, Thomas Young.

As an artist, you cannot compromise that. Do you know the answer to the WHO and the WHAT? THIS is just as important as the study and development of craft.

This does not mean pretending. This means getting real. This means discovering HOW you come across in that audition room, in that consultation space, in the hallway. EVERYBODY talks. Our business is small and the nooks and crannies of each genre in the business are even smaller. How you behave and how you come across is often stronger than your talent.

If you sing like a goddess and behave like a cold fish, chances are "they" will go with someone who might not have the same talent, but rather enough talent with a personality that doesn't seem difficult. Who wouldn't want to work with someone accessible and open?

Don't try to impress. That's phony and "jazz hands" too...that's the pukey perky that is false and nauseating. MAKE AN IMPRESSION, do not impress. The impression is up to you. An impression can be positive or negative.

If you want to pursue a career in this business, you MUST have the capacity to look at yourself honestly and find out how you come across. You must be willing to see it, hear it from the people you trust, and DO SOMETHING about it!

Are you not getting the callbacks but feeling like you did the work?

Are you getting callbacks and then not being asked to stay?

Could it be more than your talent?

Of course, you can't control EVERYTHING, but what about that attitude?

Are you too aggressive? Too placid? Too phony? Too bitter? Too perky? Too negative? Too sarcastic? Too unsure? Too full of yourself? Do you stand for something or are you wishy-washy? Do you take a position or are you a "whatever' person?

How do you speak to people? How do you answer people? Are you PRESENT or vacant? Are you a dark cloud? Do you suck energy or work with other's energy?

Are you sure or are you deluding yourself?

Perception of you and your personality and your work ethic is the reality in the room. That is simply truth. If nerves take you outside your comfort zone, then you have to learn to work with them so it doesn't draw out of you a side you don't want people to see.

Are you challenging? Are you rude? Are you so passive you look scared and cannot stand up for yourself? Are you apologetic? Are you without a backbone?

Either extreme is going to get you dismissed. You need to find a balance between confidence and pliability. You need to find a balance between friendliness and accessibility without becoming phony. You need to stand for something without being a bitch.

Can you do what you say you can do? And can you work with the people you will need to work with? Are you going to be a problem or a wonder?

All these questions are reckoned with in that audition room and in the callback.

If there's ANY confusion, or ANY hesitation, the other person gets the callback or gets the job. Even if they aren't as talented.

YOU have control over this, so why are you making excuses??? DO something about it!

Whether you are in the audition room, or consulting with a teacher to work, or auditioning for a class, or consulting with an agent or manager - HOW YOU COME ACROSS regardless of talent is the reality because perception is reality.

Don't dismiss this. It is JUST as important as your talent and your craft. Don't make excuses for it - explore it and dare to be honest enough to realize your shortcomings and DO something to change it.

Didn't book anything this season? You gonna quit? Well, if that's your attitude, you probably shouldn't be in this business anyway...

But, if you truly want to put yourself in the strongest place to book something - you have to ask yourself the hard questions!

Is your craft good enough?

Can you summon your talent at will?

Are you presenting that talent in the best possible light? Are you showing what you CAN do not what you WISH you could do?

Are you accessible? Are you bringing into the room the most positive and real sense of self you can? Are you bringing anything negative, phony, annoying, overwhelming?

If you can answer YES vehemently to each, then it just wasn't your season.

If you aren't sure - time to do the work.

You have the time - make the most of it!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Am I Too Old?

Monday musings...

The Question - "Am I Too Old?"

I answer with another question: "FOR WHAT?!"

The "corporations" of opera and music theatre are there to make money.

The reality of making art is something else.

The "corporations" say gotta do it while you are young - we want skinny and young.

The REALITY of craft is something else.

Let's look at Music Theatre: not all roles are typed the same, thus, it will not be cast with the same intention in mind. This "I gotta "make it" by the time I'm 25" is a bunch of crap.

Why? Because there are MANY roles that require deeper, more established craft and experience! There are MANY roles that are OLDER than 25!

I'll let you in on a secret, those of you who wish to try your luck at the corporation of Broadway: the average age isn't 22 - the average age on Broadway is 37!!

And I work with MANY Broadway and Regional Veterans who are well over 40 who are still working thank you very much.

In opera - there is a ageism when it comes to competitions and YAPs etc. However, again, we need to examine the physicality maturity of the VOICE to recognize, youth (under 30) isn't always healthy in the operatic stamina! The muscles haven't yet matured! Too soon means done too quickly.

So, to the general question - are you too old? Too old for what?

Are you 22 with nothing on your resume and think you are too old for Hamlet? or 25 thinking Desiree is gone?

Shake your head. Recognize the difference between corporation and art!!! BUILD YOUR CRAFT!

The youngster who hits Broadway right out of an undergrad is not going to be able to bring anything more than potential to a role that is age appropriate; they do not have the gravitas nor the craft and acumen of a Judy Kaye (who continues to work worldwide, thank you!)

Your age/age range and your ability and potential will "type" you - no matter what!

Your age reveals your time in the world. How you claim your potential with that worldly knowledge is how that personal craft is developed and nurtured.

Quit wasting precious time and energy on things you have no control over - be who you are! Recognize the business/corporation is on a youth kick right now - but the reality is, youth isn't everything. There are simply roles that cannot be cast unless there is AGE, craft and depth of characterization.

So welcome your age. Be where you are. Quit comparing. Embrace your birthdays!

Your question should be: am I a more realized artist this year? Do I have more to offer? What roles could I claim NOW that I couldn't claim THEN?

And if someone is stupid enough to ask you in a casting room "So, how old are you?"

You can smile and say "How old would you like me to be?"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Music Theatre Singers take note...

April is my month to give back!

Opera singers will have an opportunity to work on dramatic coaching individually on April 10th.

Music Theatre Singers - it's your turn!

I will offer private coachings SATURDAY APRIL 24th - PAY WHAT YOU CAN!

We will work on your auditioning - how are you presenting yourself? How are you singing? What are you singing?

A chance to "mock audition" and get immediate feedback and work on presentation of YOU and your material!

Email me at to book a time!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Opera Singers take note...

Not a musing but a giving back...

In my career I have had many who have given to me - and I believe in the circle of that.

So in APRIL in NEW YORK CITY I am offering the following:

Dramatic individual coaching for Opera Singers - The Physicality of Character and Language in the Opera Aria!

YOU prepare the aria and bring it in, and we work together to get the dramatic intention into your body and your language!

These coachings will be offered SATURDAY APRIL 10th in my Midtown Studio

The fee is this: PAY WHAT YOU CAN!

This gives me a chance to give back a little of what has been given to me...

More info and to sign up - just email me directly:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Suck it up Princess!

Friday musings...

So, how many excuses did you make this week?

And did you just take a breath to begin the excuse for the excuses????

Excuses like denial, are a form of stress management. However, they also begin to take on a life of their own and can overtake your life!

Suddenly your life is FULL of excuses and nothing more.

Excuses do not promote positive development but rather, promote standing still and sinking fast.

Why the excuses? Just STOP THAT. Excuses are a waste of energy, of time and of life.

Do what you say you do, or don't. Follow through, or do something else.

Excuses do not endear you to anybody, they isolate you. Excuses do not create a positive flow of energy, they promote a stagnant black hole.

"I can't" is the excuse for simply "I won't". So why are you there?

"But.." is lazy.

If you call yourself a singer - then SING. If you call yourself an artist, then BE ONE.

"I'm too broke" "I'm too fat", "I can't find the right teacher", "I can't find the right class", "I can't get an agent", "but I need new headshots", "but I have nothing on my resume"...


DO something about it!!! There is not "but" in our world...

What is important to you? REALLY??? Are your excuses more important than your talent and your pursuit of your craft?

If you are excuse-ridden, you will NEVER get ahead. You will wallow in the life of woulda, coulda, shoulda, stopped by YOUR excuses.

If what you want to DO is important to you, then DO IT. Release the life of excusing and step out and be who you say you are and who you want to be. Yes, it's scary; yes it's going to be risky; but YES it is REAL!!!

If you need to make excuses, then perhaps you need to be pursuing something else. Excuses hinder, insulate, isolate, and make for a very lonely and insignificant existence.

Making excuses does not make you strong. Saying "I'm scared as hell, but I HAVE TO DO THIS!" claims your reason for BEING and allows for the possibility! Excuses stop you for ANY possibility.

How can you respond to possibility and achievement if you have an excuse for everything?

SHUT UP AND DO IT! If you say you are an artist, BE ONE. Don't make excuses about why you aren't one. If you say you are a singer, or becoming one, they PURSUE THAT and DO IT!! Don't wish! Don't excuse! DO IT!!!

Take ownership of your life! Quit making excuses for it. Take responsibility for your craft and your ability! Don't blame your agent, your teacher, the business!!! Figure out what YOU NEED TO DO AND DO IT!

Excuses are immature, excuses are amateur; excuses do not protect, but actually expose you for the lack of backbone.

If you are scared - be scared! Acknowledge it and claim it! You cannot change what you do not claim! Claim your fear, claim your anxiousness, claim your disillusionment, claim your insecurities, claim your LIFE.

Once you can claim what scares you - you can change it and excuses are non-existent.

NOBODY does your life - only you do.

Figure it out. What we want is never easy. We need to work at it, and work for it.

Excuses are for sissies.

Real life is for the true artist to embrace.

Which one are you????

Suck it up princess and CLAIM IT. Get MAD!!! Don't let excuses become the way of living - it will just draw you down into the mire of mediocrity.

Live your life - FEEL it all - CLAIM it all - figure it out and FIND A WAY. Make a path for yourself and CLAIM IT FULLY.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Professionalism of Studio

Thursday musings...

One very important way of establishing yourself as a professional in behavior, is how you establish your business - whether it is as teacher, coach etc or whether it be as an artist seeking out the expertise to develop your craft.

Professional etiquette must be nurtured, and realized, and respected, from both sides of the piano!

Boundaries must be established, like with any business, and respected. It is a way to keep a sense of structure and continuity for both "teacher" and "student".

I will engage this from both sides of the piano to allow for clarity.

As a singer, if you are looking for a new teacher and/or a new coach, you must allow yourself time and freedom to do so. Know what you want, what you are looking for. Know WHY you are looking. Coaches and teachers have general knowledge and specific expertise. WHAT DO YOU NEED? Seek it out. Do your research. Discover WHO you are contacting and why.

Contacting a teacher or coach does not mean you are obligated to anything. Contact is simply contact. Get information via their website about their philosophy, their expertise, their policies. Email them or call them and don't just say "My name is John and I'm interested in studying with you, what do you charge?"

That is a red flag of immaturity and amateurism.

The professional singer - in behavior and process - introduces him/herself, often attaches a resume/headshot - and says where they got that particular teacher/coach's name and information. They give a bit of information about what they are looking for and ask about consultations.

This is ALWAYS get you a response, if the teacher/coach takes on the same professionalism.

If you are behaving professionally and the teacher/coach does not, then there's your answer!!!

Even with correspondence, neither of you are obligated. Correspondence is a form of introduction and an indication of the level of professionalism sought after, and the level of professionalism brought to the table.

Know what you are looking for in a teacher. Know what you are looking for and able to meet in your obligation to that teacher/coach's studio business. If you cannot meet the obligation of payment/cancellation policy/scheduling, then do not think you have the power to change another professional's policies! Your respect of the teacher or coach's business is as important as your ability to know what you are needing.

Professional means following through. You say it, you own it. If you keep changing lesson times, cancelling with no notice, showing up late or unprepared, soon you will be left on the curb and your unprofessional behavior will proceed you. Our world is small. Word gets around!!

Know why you are there. Know who you are. Know who you are working with. BE THERE.

Teachers also need to create the professionalism of studio. This is their business. This is how they make a living. There has to be boundaries, but there also has to be a humaneness about those boundaries. Boundaries need respect and they need flexibility in order to make room for emergencies and possibilities!

Boundaries cannot be ho-hum. Fees need to be clear. Cancellation policies need clarity. Scheduling needs clarity. As a teacher/coach, you need to set up your business practice in order to be successful and available. This is up to YOU. Clarity is KEY. Kinda, sorta, woulda, coulda, shoulda is NOT professional. Business is business. You must commit to that, or you will not attract the kind of clientele that will respect you.

Business practices will morph and change over time. This has to happen to accommodate clientele and your growth as a professional.

Establish a workable fee. Establish how you are paid. Establish a cancellation policy. Establish a scheduling policy. PUT IT IN WRITING. Make a commitment to it.

Your business practices will be determined by the kind of studio you establish and the kind of clientele you work with.

Only you can determine what will work for you NOW. Creating the business professionalism is key to presenting yourself as a viable and responsible business person. This allows for a clear balance, and then sets up the possibility for attracting clientele that want your EXPERTISE in the CRAFT!!!

Personally, I believe in consultations - for both teacher and singer. This allows a chance to meet face to face, to work, to get a sense of energy and "fit" and to find out what each can offer the space between in order to create a working atmosphere to meet the needs of the singer. If this doesn't click, each party has the opportunity to move on. This isn't "personal" but again, finding the best fit for the studio - and the best fit for the singer.

Professional and personal ethics are absolutely PARAMOUNT in creating this realization in studio. The teacher is responsible for establishing the business of studio, and the singer is responsible for establishing the business of SELF. Both need professional respect and each needs to create an integrity to benefit the other.

Do not assume. ASK. Get straightforward answers. Do not expect, but rather, DISCUSS. Goals and work must be a collaboration.

Disrespect has no place in the studio - from either side. Respect of time, expertise, development, dedication, commitment is key to the professionalism of a studio.

Follow through is always key - from both sides. Making the commitment shows the professional expectation and the professional dedication from both sides.

Behaving and developing a level of professionalism is not limited to age, talent, how long you've been in the business, how new you are to the business. It is your BUSINESS to discover what being professional MEANS and how it will be respected and how it will open doors.

Know why you do what you do. Know what you are asking. Know what boundaries are not negotiable and which ones can be bent when necessary. Respect the professionalism of the one facing you. Respect your OWN professionalism. Do not allow others to disrespect that.

The professionalism of behavior in the studio allows for the boundaries to be clear set so the real work can be done!!!!

You cannot get real work done if you are always late, if you aren't paying on time, if you are always chasing your money, if you are constantly rescheduling clients.

Simply put, treat others how you wish to be treated. And commit to the time you share. Dedicate yourself to what you DO and simply DO IT.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great or Just Good Enough?

Wednesday musings...

"Oh it's good enough..."

This is often a slippery slope isn't it? What does it mean?

How can we call ourselves artists, and performers that stand for something, if it is "just good enough?"

In the "instant" of our society, "just good enough" tends to be used alot. It tends to be accepted alot. It tends to be encouraged alot, from all directions.

Well, I don't accept it. I don't accept it from myself, from my singers, from my life...and I don't accept it from other artists, performers, production, creation, and those who call themselves "creative staff".

"Good enough" is a cop out for lack of vision, lack of commitment, lack of talent, lack of focus, lack of growth. It is the lazy way out; it is the coward's way through the business. It excuses and makes excuses and never allows the process to truly find its true life and fulfilled achievement. It makes excuses for the ordinary, for the mediocre and the mundane so they can fit in too.

Well, guess what? Ordinary, mediocre and mundane DO NOT fit in with true art and true performance and true commitment of artistry.

Why would we settle for "good enough" if we know there is a possibility to create "great"?

Discovering GREAT takes commitment. It takes TIME. It takes ENERGY, DEVOTION, DEDICATION. It takes close examination and careful execution. It takes a willingness to get into the process with everything you have and DISCOVER what is really there.

"Great" demands the truth. "Good enough" reveals the truth of ordinary to everybody else but the people who choose that path.

"GREAT" talent demands reality in which to discover and blossom. It cannot settle for "good enough" - in study, in discovery, in fruition. Whether that "greatness" is in the performer or the creative staff - it NEEDS to be nurtured and realized. It cannot be "good enough". There is no "enough" in greatness.

Have you found your greatness? Or have you settled for good enough? Are you calling yourself great and still refuse to dedicate yourself to your path? Are you calling your talent great, yet refuse to truly tap into it and develop it?

Untapped or dismissed potential is always that - potential. Potential is only potential. If we do not commit to the possibility of what it could morph into, it remains potential. And, sadly, after awhile, untapped/ignored/dismissed/taken for granted "potential" IS NOT good enough.

Are you convincing yourself it's "good enough" because you are in denial of what you possess? Are you pretending? Are you scared to claim your ability? Are you afraid you don't have any? Or are you hiding because you know the answers and just don't want to face the reality?

If you speak of artistry and carry with you a talent and a will to approach it truthfully- you have to LIVE IT. You have to NURTURE IT. You have to EXPLORE IT. You cannot speak of it if you do nothing about it. "Just good enough" is talking and doing nothing real. The more you discover your "greatness" the less you have to say. The "great" is in the doing.

Are you living your artistry? Are you discovering your craft? Do you continue to nurture and develop and build craft and technical prowess and depth of understanding and execution?

If you are not, and it's just good enough - then why are you doing it at all?

If you WANT it, why are you settling for good enough?

"Great" is the complete commitment and pursuit to and of your craft - however that manifests. "Good enough" is lazy, ordinary and spits in the face of truth.

Find your "greatness"...or at least commitment to discovering where it takes you.

Good enough paints with a broad and very beige brush; GREAT is unique, individual, and VIVID.

I don't know about you, but the last thing I want is beige.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What is Denial?

Monday musings...

We all deal with denial. Using my husband's quote, "Denial is a form of stress management."

It all works, until it doesn't anymore! At some point, the veneer cracks and we have to face the reality clearly.

As artists, we have to have, or learn to develop, the capacity to see ourselves truthfully. We need to learn to ask the hard questions. We can't wait til an issue is upon us to do something about it!

Easier said than done...

We have to start asking REAL questions, so that our craft can develop with authenticity and truth. We have all seen performances that were technically balanced, but completely not authentic. And we have experienced performances that are technically flawed, and still touch us with the authenticity of spirit and the truth in what is being shared.

What are those real questions?

They live in the shadows and the reflections...they aren't always easy to nail down, and sometimes even harder to find the truth in the answer. They aren't questions that are always easily answered, and the answers continue to morph just as the questions do.

Perhaps some of these ideas will begin to organically move you toward YOUR questions, and if you find those questions, it is your responsibility to discover YOUR answers. Nobody needs to know those answers - thus, you answer to no one but YOU. That reality is not up for debate. Your questions are yours, your answers are yours; YOU are responsible.

Overall general ideas can bring you to more specific questions you will need to discover for yourself...

Why do you do this? Why do you want to do this?

Do you know the difference between an artist and a performer? Are you one or the other or both?

Being an artist and being an artist making a living in the business aren't the same? Do you get that?

What do you have to offer?

Why do you study?

Are you "becoming", are you developed? How do you know?

Is what you feel you have to offer truly what shows you to your best right now?

Are you waiting for "later" or doing for "now"? WHY?

Are you denying your best destiny? Are you trying to do or be something you are not?

Are you wishing, but doing nothing about developing your craft regularly?

Are you realistic about your talent?

Are you realistic about your development of that talent?

What do you want???? What do you need???? Why?

If you want craft, what do you want from it? For it? What do you need to DO THAT?

If you want something else, what is it? Why? How do you find it?

The questions are big, sometimes huge - thus the denial. Don't deny the questions, nor the answers. If they are overwhelming, take them one at a time...go slow. Go at the pace that makes you comfortable enough to find the answers. The answers themselves aren't always comfortable, but the truth of the answer will squelch the desire for denial.

When we meet our stresses head-on, we have the power to find the answers.

If we are going to pursue the craft of artistry, we must be willing to ask those big questions - and it simply starts with "why am I doing this?" NOT having an answer right away is okay too...The answer comes only after the question is formed and pondered.

Start with "why" and allow those questions to we become more and more aware of why, the need for denial becomes less and less.

The decisions we make from the answers to these questions, will allow us to move forward to live an authentic life! It may take us more deeply into our artistry; it make take us into our performer's stance; it make take us into our instrument; it make take us through another door we have yet to discover - or another path entirely!

Fear is not part of the equation. Fear is simply the unknown. We know when we take the responsibility to ask the question. The answer will reveal itself. The answer relieves, and elevates and exposes and reveals. There is no fear is truth. Fear is in hiding, denial and ignorance.

Recognize your denial. Know why it is in place. Begin to deconstruct it and ask the questions to dissolve it to discover YOUR truth, your path, your ability, your talent.

If you say you ARE, then BE. If you say you DO, then DO IT. If you don't, something's in the way. Perhaps the truth is right there, and you are preventing yourself from revealing it.

Your truth - your responsibility. Nobody has that right or responsibility - but you.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Are you Passive or Are you Involved?

Monday musings...

Whether you are still building your voice/rebuilding/working out details or checking in occasionally - how actively involved are you in the process?

Perhaps that sounds ridiculous, but I see it time and again.

One of the first things I ask a potential singer who comes to see me is "What can I do for you? How can I help you?" I am amazed at the blank stares that are the response and the simple "no one's ever asked me that before."

With singers that work with me - I ask each time "How is your voice? What are you discovering? What is your plan for today?"

Obviously, this plan can change, but it gives me, the teacher, a sense of what YOU the singer, see and acknowledge and what you are there to achieve.

This is absolutely CRUCIAL. A singer must be RESPONSIBLE and INVOLVED in their development - including the lesson time. Perhaps what your goals are need to be modified as the teacher delves more deeply into where you are - but then the two of you are involved in the process of YOUR voice.

Singers who walk into a studio with a passivity will get no real development. The passivity will carry into the practicing and the singer will not be able to learn HOW to do and WHY to do and will rely on the teacher in unhealthy ways. Even if the teacher has great things to offer the singer, if the singer remains passive and does not take responsibility for the involvement in his/her development and knowledge, he/she will miss so much and ultimately will not evolve.

Staying pliable as a singer is not the same as remaining passive!!! If you are pliable to allow possibilities and get involved in the development, marvellous things can occur!

Passive/aggressive behavior isn't involved or evolved either. If all you do is question and demand and create a negative and demanding atmosphere, this is not conducive to learning, receiving or discovering.

First and foremost - why are you there? YOU need to know that. It can be as detailed or as general as it needs to be, given your development. Perhaps you don't know. It's time to find out. Discover this WITH your teacher and with yourself!!

What are your goals? Are they doable? Are they too broad? Too specific? Are they realistic? DISCUSSION is key. A teacher should not "take over" your goals but should be able to help you create goals that are realistic and motivating.

A teacher cannot read your mind! You must DISCUSS with her/him what you are there TO DO. This will help the teacher determine what they can do to help YOU. If you walk into a studio where there is no room for discussion and it is all about the teacher, RUN. If you walk into a studio where there is no structure and the passivity comes from the teacher, RUN.

There must be involvement in your development from YOU and from the teacher.

Singers cannot blame the teacher completely if they do not become involved in their development and in their lessons. Passive behavior does not allow for true development. Singing is DOING and the doing must come from the one doing the singing!!!! If you are not getting what you believe you NEED even after staying pliable and creating a dialogue with a teacher and coming to a common ground, then you must find another teacher. Blaming that teacher is just an excuse. You are wasting time!!!! FIND WHAT YOU NEED!

Now, on the other hand, there are singers who don't want to hear the truth. This is another kind of passivity. Perhaps there are vocal issues and they want a quick fix. They don't want to hear it's going to take time. They want it now, and they will keep moving from teacher to teacher until they find someone who will enable their passivity and tell them they are fine. This is not taking responsibility for your voice or your development either. Going through the motions is not singing. "Make me feel good" is not singing.

True singing and true artistry takes time, self-discipline, self-observation, self-doubt, self-discovery, self-awareness, self-TRUTH. The teacher needs to be someone who can reflect that TRUTH and help you move into the direction of further discovery.

As a teacher, I cannot be more involved in your discovery and development than you are. If you are passive, if you don't really care, then why should I? Why should the teacher care more about YOU than you do?

If you want to develop and build and see the possibilities and live the journey, then that means work and that means involvement in YOU. That means INVESTING IN YOU. That means letting go of the security blanket of passivity, of "good enough" and dare to involve yourself in your GREATNESS whatever that is.

Passive behavior means no movement. It just sits and isn't aware. It pretends to itself. Often it doesn't fool anyone else but the one being passive. Involved behavior may not always be pretty or what you were thinking, but it will show the truth and the path you NEED to work toward.

Work isn't always glamorous. Work means sweat and dirt under your nails. But I would much rather be exhausted knowing I have something REAL at the end of the day that I can truly CLAIM, than just sitting and pretending.

What about you?

Do you know why you are studying? Do you know WHAT you are studying? Do you know what you want to achieve overall? At each individual lesson? It's time to get involved!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Creating Community

Sunday musings...

The pursuit of craft and of artistry can be a very "alone" journey. It has to be done solo - we cannot take people with us, nor can we ride on the coattails of anyone else; however, as the journey continues, we can walk parallel, intersect, and view others on their paths.

How do we create a community to explore ourselves and each other, without feeling threatened, put upon, or in competition with?

What have we done to nurture a community - beyond going for drinks, or seeing each other at the audition?

Nurturing community demands a commitment too. It can allow like minds/spirits to come together without fear of chastisement, or competition, to explore the journey together.

Some of us will find ourselves leading these communities. Some of us will be the integral members of keeping that community alive.

I am always pleased to see communities building around me. I see Salon Concerts, where singers can come and sing and work together - for each other -- JUST BECAUSE, to try out new repertoire, work through glitches in an environment that has no criticism. I see singers come together to take a concert to a nursing home, or a hospital ward, or other outreach.

I see actors creating "monologue circles" - where they can explore monologues and scenes together for each other, just for the sake of creation.

And on and on...

We study, we take classes, we critique, we are critiqued, but sometimes, we need the community of other singers and other actors to share the passion and discovery of where our craft has taken us that week, that month, this time! Sometimes, we just need to share and NOT be critiqued. Sometimes, we just need to be with like minds in order to feel like we belong somewhere in a larger community than just SELF.

Are you finding these places of community? Do you need to create one and invite others to attend?

Just like a "book club" allows for discussion and realization from many different people and different walks of life, so can these communities of discovery within our artistic process!

Often between shows, between concerts, between the between (!) we need reinforcement not from auditions, not from voice lessons, not from classes, but just from DOING what we believe in, while in the company of like minds. We are not competing; we are not trying to get a job; we are allowing the process of artistic development to have a forum without pressure. We can try out new material; we can try out material we would never use anywhere else - which is rather freeing!

I once belonged to an "opera circle" that met once a month. Every three months, we were to bring in an aria we would NEVER sing - and it was something we all looked forward to! We didn't have to be off-book, we just needed to prepare it! It gave another level of authenticity to our work, as we delved into a fach and even a gender that we normally would not consider.

These communities can be cathartic and become true moments of strength and give us hope and even "a-ha" moments as it takes off the presumption and the pressure.

Doing with others what you DO just for the sake of DOING allows freedom and getting in touch with more of your artistic journey.

If you can't find a community - create one!!

A "Monologue Night" I was a part of was for actors who were unemployed as actors. The community was fluid and people came and went and came back when they finished a gig! Every week we met somewhere else - someone's apartment, a lounge, a bookstore...The fluidity of the community and the place of residence changed and it made for an always interesting set of circumstances! And we worked with it! And it worked!

As singular as the artistic journey is, it is so important for us to find like minds to intersect with along the way. This sense of community develops a place we can trust outside of ourselves. It gives us a sense of belonging and a place to look forward to.

If you haven't found one, I really recommend you explore the possibility! Or create one and invite others and see it grow! Nurturing ourselves, demands we nurture others. There is no competitiveness in that. It is humane, and brings another level of respect to someone else's process, as they gain the same for yours.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How NOT to treat your pianist!

Saturday musings...

Singers learn by example - and by doing. As teachers, we are being watched very carefully - consciously or unconsciously or subconsciously - and how we work with our pianists is passed on...

I have spoken to several colleagues about this over the last 20 years. I began supporting myself as a pianist - in studio, in performance, in dance classes and I know the amazing work pianists do and are just not acknowledged for.

This topic came up again from a colleague of mine, and I want to thank him for his candidness!!

Pianists can make or break you. They can save your ass or kick your ass. As singers, and as teachers of singing, we have to be so much more AWARE and PRESENT in how we treat our pianists.

Ultimately, we need to respect the pianist's TIME. I have said this over and over - I cannot put a monetary value on my expertise, but I can decide what my TIME is worth. So can a pianist.


If they are making TIME for your studio/your lesson/your coaching - take it SERIOUSLY!!! Do not assume that they will just be able to drop everything and make major shifts with no notice, no discussion. This is highly disrespectful, and it shows an ultimate disregard for the worth of your pianist's time and expertise. This says MUCH about the person behaving this way.

Your pianist's time is just as important and valued as yours. Do not devalue it. Your reputation will proceed you, and suddenly you may find yourself in a position of not being able to find a competent pianist who has time for you. Pianists talk to each other - and our world is small. Don't sabotage yourself, nor your studio, nor your reputation by not being aware of your behavior!!!

If a pianist is required to be anywhere - their time must be compensated. If the schedule changes and the pianist is there and not used - he/she is STILL PAID FOR HIS/HER TIME!!!!

I cannot stand teachers who are so self-involved they do not realize the pianist they have "hired" has other things to do and not just play for their studio!!! This is beyond excuses!! GROW UP! Singers, you too!!! Your pianist isn't just "yours"!!! You are paying for his/her time and that time is valuable - to alot of people not just you!!! You have no business making changes last minute and expecting your pianist to just come along for the ride.

Giving respect gets you respect. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Simple life skills that will get you far in MANY ways, not just with your pianist!

When you begin to to work with a pianist, your time isn't just yours. Your time is now collaborating with your pianist's. If your time is important to you, why wouldn't your pianist's time be important to him/her?

I would think this would be common sense, however, I am seeing more and more how uncommon just basic respect is. This is sad and disgusts me.

If singers are in a studio where the teacher disrespects the pianist and or treats the pianist's time with disregard, the singers learns to do this too. THIS IS WRONG!!!!

Learn to see outside yourself and how your "support team" matters in your world!! Treat them with respect. Treat them how they wish to be treated. They do not ask for the sun and the moon. They ask to be paid for their time, paid on time and given enough notice if changes occur.

Our world is fluid as singers - and pianists know that. However, their TIME must be respected as you are not the only thing in THEIR lives!! They know things can change, and are willing to work with you if they are given the respect first.

Just as a teacher as a cancellation/change policy to respect THEIR schedule, so teachers and singers must recognize their pianist needs that same respect. It's not as if they have nothing else to DO!

Know if you have to change something, they might not be available. Suck it up princess!!


You will find if you treat your pianist with respect, as he/she wishes to be treated, you will get the same respect back. Imagine it? A REAL working relationship!!!!

It doesn't take much - just some humanity, some presence, some thought, some recognition.

If your teacher doesn't do that - you don't have to follow a poor example. You can change teachers or simply learn to do the right thing. If your teacher DOES know how to treat your pianist, then you better learn too.

Relationships in our business are extremely important. They can make your development and journey so much more enjoyable, or if they are disrespected, the journey can be difficult and uphill in ways that are in your control to change!!!

This is YOUR decision. How you treat your pianist is YOUR decision. Your decisions will have the outcome that reflects your behavior. Either you create loyalty with your pianist or you don't. That's your choice and you must take responsibility for it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Are you Using the "Overdone"?

Friday musings...

Thanks for your patience about me being MIA!

Are you falling for the "overdone" material at auditions?

Joy Dewing, CD with Clemmons Casting gave me permission to re-print her note on facebook about SETC auditions. Scroll down to read it in its entirety.

I thank Joy for writing this from her side of the table. It brings up how so many singers are just not paying attention to what needs to be done in that audition room!

If something is in "vogue" try to stay away from it, or if you must use it cause it really shows off your strengths, then really make it yours!!! Don't mimic!! Find a way to present it so it shows what YOU do.

What often happens in these auditions - SETC as an example - is that singers tend to look amateur in how they choose repertoire and how they present it.

If you look amateur by your repertoire choices - overdone rep, the same old rep, the mimic'd rep, - and you present it that way, you will be dismissed.

Dare to find your individuality and dare to move into repertoire that shows off what you do well RIGHT NOW. Don't think you need to be something else other than YOU.

You can't get into a CD's head - you aren't going to know what they like or what they don't like. It doesn't matter! They don't need you to try to impress them! Do what you do, and do it with authenticity. Show through your choices and your execution that you have done your work and your research and know your strengths and are willing to claim them!

Being recognized, being called back means WORK and EXECUTION of showing your individual strengths and your ability to deliver what you say you have. Whether you are an emerging artist or a seasoned professional, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE!!! Don't make excuses as a young performer that you don't have enough experience - the knowledge is there to harness! Do your work!!!! Prepare!!! Deliver!!! Show you have done the work and are willing to do what it takes to prepare yourself for what comes next!

Most Overdone Songs/Monologues at SETC Spring 2010
Top Songs:
Take a Chance on Me
Run Away with Me
I Gotta Run
Neverland (Scott Alan)
Mama Says
Forest for the Trees
Not for the Life of Me (still)
Gimme Gimme (still)
everything from Wild Party
Screw Loose (this has been HUGE lately, and it's just not a good audition song -- kind of like Privilege to Pee -- just screechy and annoying)
Here I Am
Astonishing (still!)

Top Monologues:
Joan Cusack's monologue (Is there, oh, ANY OTHER TIME you could have told me this?) -- this has been VERY popular for at least three years now. Give it a rest.
Squeaky Fromme from Assassins
Darleen Dances
Bridal Registry from A My Name is Still Alice
Belize's monologue about the national anthem from Angels in America
Mom's Ashes from I Think I Love You -- I can't BELIEVE this is STILL so popular... it is really getting ridiculous
Murder Your Fish/Mess up your life a little... don't know what it's from but it must be in a monologue book somewhere because DAMN
Diana from Moving (Quaker school... awards... someone is going to prick your bubble)

Now, let me just say again that I am GENERALLY not one of those people who's against doing familiar material; HOWEVER, the problem with most of the material listed above is that it shows a complete lack of creativity and familiarity with the theatrical repertoire, and it makes us think you are lazy. Also, when you do extremely demanding songs like "Astonishing", it is more likely to highlight your weaknesses than your strengths. Or worse -- it shows that you are completely delusional. If you do not have the right type of voice for a song but you do it anyway, it makes you look bad. Let me say that again: IT MAKES YOU LOOK BAD. There are thousands upon thousands of great songs out there, so why would you pick a huge screaming high belt song if you are a mezzo soprano with a beautiful, rich, low voice?

Do your homework and pick material that you not only LOVE to perform, but that FITS you as well. Show what you do well, not what you WISH you did well. And don't be lazy -- read plays, not pre-packaged monologue books; and listen to shows from before you were born, not just the Billboard Hot 100 Musical Theatre Songs on Campus. I know you LOVE Scott Alan, Kerrigan & Lowdermilk, Pasek & Paul, Joe Iconis, etc.; but please dig a little deeper and get to know the repertoire, not just the fads. I'd rather hear "If I Loved You" 100 times a day than "Neverland" (Scott Alan) 5 times a day.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Do You Teach All Voice Types the Same Way?

Wednesday musings...

The question today is, do you teach all voice types the same way? The short answer is, no. The longer answer is, HELL no!!!

Yes, we all have breath, muscles, larynx, resonators, vocal cords, and the mechanics have similarities - but that does not make a singer, nor does it develop a voice type.

A teacher must develop knowledge about what certain voice types demand, what certain physicalities demand and what certain psychologies demand.

Each voice type has a specific psychology, and that cannot be ignored or dismissed. Each singer within that voice type has a unique physicality which cannot be ignored or dismissed.

Can a male teacher work with a female singer and vise versa? Of course! But the determining factor is KNOWLEDGE and they can get that knowledge across.

As teachers, we must be willing to develop the knowledge, and then the language to share that knowledge and help a singer develop that reality for themselves. If we do not, we are not teaching - we are hoarding. We must recognize our strengths and our limitations and be willing to send a singer onto someone else who will better serve them.

We cannot teach a soprano the same way we would a tenor, or a bass like a mezzo. But then, each soprano will be taught slightly differently too!

I guess the question becomes - do you teach the material or do teach the singer?

Ultimately, it is the INDIVIDUAL SINGER that comes first. The material develops within that singer. The physicality, the voice type and psychology of that voice type will develop crucial recognition and tangibility as the individual is approached first and foremost.

I have always believed in, and work acutely to discover where a singer IS and begin there.

The teaching of singing is not an exact science nor is it a formula that you slot singers into. It is as precise and specialized and unique as each singer that walks into that studio. It is not going on automatic pilot. It demands a great deal of overall knowledge and very specific knowledge in order to reach a singer where they ARE.

Some teachers have more 'success' with certain voice types. This is great! Recognizing as a teacher where your strengths are is an important tool, so singers know why they are coming to you!

The multi-dimensional singer "type" is as unique as a fingerprint - and it must be developed thus.

There will be definite similarities and issues each voice type faces that is common ground. Common ground is not plug in and spit out however. Recognizing the similarities and pitfalls of a voice type is one thing - but having the knowledge to guide and develop the voice through those things is another. Developing the reality and tangibility of the psychology of the voice type is also a very real and NECESSARY thing.

Often the stereotypes of singers is laughed at, but at its core, these stereotypes have a basis in truth of psychology. We must, as teachers and singers, recognize, learn and develop the knowledge and the truth about the psychology in order for the voice to truly develop into itself.

I believe a teacher can teach a singer who is not their voice type, but I also believe it is important for each singer to have contact with a teacher or mentor via masterclass/workshop/coaching who IS that voice type. Recognizing a "kindred" who can add more reality from living it can add so much to the development of a singer's psyche!

The "voice type" has many levels of consciousness, and the singer that possesses that voice type or is developing that voice type - in general and into a specificity - needs to be treated with the uniqueness they deserve and possess. The voice is a tangible, multi-dimensional, intricate and wonderful thing - embodied in someone equally multi-dimensional, intricate and complex!

Cookie-cutter "vocal technique" is not vocal technique at all.

Developing knowledge, understanding, and working ability to address the voice types generally and specifically - as well as addressing singers generally and specifically - is the ongoing requirement of teaching AND studying as a singer.

Singers need to develop their knowledge about their voice and their psychology. This brings another dimension of reality into the studio with a teacher who will meet them generously where they are.

Each voice type is unique and must be treated thus. Each singer is even more unique and must be treated thus. Technical behavior is about awareness, prowess, ability, consciousness, availability and access. Voice type finds its technical behavior through the psychology and the physiology and the singer's ability to embrace both. The teacher needs to UNDERSTAND the intricacies of both. The teacher needs to recognize his/her own ability to meet the singer AND the voice type in the truth of what it is and guide it as far as he/she can, and then send that singer on...

A truth of great singing and great teaching is the ability to say "I don't know" - and either find the answer or go to someone who has it.

If every singer in a studio sounds the same - the teacher is not teaching the singer, but only the material. If every singer in a studio is uniquely developing - the teacher is teaching the singer, and this is the beginning!

Do the tenors sound like tenors? Do the sopranos sound like sopranos? Do the mezzos sound like mezzos? Do the baritones sound like baritones? What does a tenor sound like?

Do we have this knowledge as singers - and as teachers? Do we recognize "sounding like a tenor" has a physicality of body and vocal mechanism as well as a psychology that MUST be integrated? Do we acknowledge ALL voice types and subcategories have this SAME uniqueness?

Are we willing to INVEST in developing that knowledge and INVEST in developing that truth as teacher and singer?

We have no choice if we call ourselves teachers or call ourselves singers. If we go on automatic pilot and believe we can teach all the same way, we need to take some time off. Immediately.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What to Wear on Stage?

Tuesday musings...

After adjudicating all last week - from daytime to evening concerts - it's time to bring up that good old "what to wear/what NOT to wear" discussion again!

May I just say, it isn't just singers who are guilty of the inappropriate stage wear...

So, just my observations, but here they are...

First, performers don't always KNOW what to wear and what constitutes "appropriate" stage wear! Teachers and coaches, we MUST really discuss this as part of the performance. If clothing is distracting to either the audience or the performer, it shouldn't be worn. This has to be discussed thoroughly with a performer in order to create a more professional presentation. Saying a performer is "too young" or "too inexperienced" to know better, is just a poor excuse! If you are up on that stage, you better figure it out!!

First and foremost, what are you trying to DO on stage with the visual? Theatrically, you are creating LINE and TEXTURE. The larger the house/space you are performing in, the stronger that line and texture can be. No matter if you are standing and singing, sitting at or with an instrument - it is LINE AND TEXTURE.

Secondly, what is the occasion and what are you performing? What time of day is it? Where is being held? All these questions can help you decide what is appropriate attire.

Daytime performances, formal length is not required. Formal material is a faux pas. Evening performances, a more formal look is more professional in presentation. Dress for the occasion!!

No matter what, WHAT THE HEMLINE LADIES! I saw waaaay too much leg this week - from singers with too short skirts/dresses (which makes it impossible to be comfortable enough to really ground yourself) and from performers at the piano and with instruments! LINE people, LINE!

We do NOT want to be scared of seeing up your skirt while you are performing when you are on stage and the audience is below you. Inappropriate.

SHOES!!!! I am sick of flats ladies...SICK of them. Yes, they are comfortable and yes they can get you to the venue, but then start learning how to walk and perform in HEELS!!! Kitten heels to a full heel - stacked or stiletto or wedge - whatever you can ground in and goes with your outfit and the occasion. Flats make your legs look like stove pipes. Period. They are not flattering on stage or to your body in ANY way. And PLEASE leave your character shoes in the closet - they are NOT performance shoes.

Let the outfit ENHANCE you - body type and colours - not distract from your performance. Make sure it FITS properly. Guys - spend the money on tailoring to make sure that suit is fitting your frame well - not too big in the shoulders or too long in the arms. Polish those shoes!

Show your personality - and some flair - ABSOLUTELY! But it needs to stay appropriate and not distract from YOU.

Tights or leggings - don't work on stage, especially for evening.

Pantsuit for women? Sure, depending on the fabric for the time of day and the occasion. Often instrumentalists prefer a pantsuit or pallazzos if they are string players or even pianists as it embraces the instrument more easily.

If it makes more noise than you do - leave it at home - fabric, jewellery etc.

NOTHING shorter than mid-knee for ANYBODY. As a singer, you can go tea-length or knee-length for daytime. Those of you who SIT to play, it's gotta be longer cause when you sit down, it shortens!! Nothing like seeing the inside of the pianist's thighs while she uses both pedals when an audience is sitting on that side of the stage! Same for a cellist! And for flutists or players that "lift" that instrument, so do your clothes! Make sure there is "give" and length so you don't feel exposed!

Watch how body-hugging the fabric is and how far it goes!!! Corseting can be lovely but if it doesn't allow you to breath, or walk, it really isn't working for the occasion is it? If you can't stand up properly, or feel as if something is going to spill out, it pulls focus from your performance - for you and the audience. We don't need wardrobe malfunctions!

Discover textures in fabric that reads from stage. It can be in shoes, in the outfit, in your jewellery, in your tie, or a combination of several things.

If you don't know - ASK! There are many who are willing to help you! Don't guess! The professionalism of how you present yourself on stage can make or break your performance. Yes, it is important! It is crucial and shows how aware you are about the COMPLETE performance.

What you wear on stage can make you look more professional, or simply keep you in that amateur status that dismisses you before you open your mouth or lift your bow.

Let your presentation reinforce the work you have spent on the artistry you are going to share. Artistry has many levels of development and how you present yourself is part of it.

You don't have to spend tons of money on this - but you need to be creative and understand the process. Take the time to discover it. Trust me, it will make your overall presentation more polished.

Monday, March 1, 2010

For those of you in Toronto!

Just an fyi...

My husband, renowned Tenor, Thomas Young and I are in the process of creating a WEEK OF VOICE in Toronto in July 2010 (dates to be announced soon!)

We will offer private sessions, masterclasses, workshops and a final public concert for your performances!

This will welcome classical and opera singers as well as music theatre singers.

There will be different rates depending on what you take in...

Masterclasses and Workshops will be available on auditioning, choosing repertoire, developing stylistic definition in repertoire, What is Belt?, and MORE!

I will post more as we organize it - but wanted to let you know NOW to keep it in mind!

Now, get back to those blogs!!!

Previous Self vs CURRENT Self

Monday musings...

After the last blog entry, I wanted to continue with this "previous self" idea...

Do we know and have made clear what is previous self and what is current self?

So often, we carry the previous self forward - along with the previous voices, the self-doubt, the indecision, the fear...and lo and behold, the CURRENT self cannot perform.

As artists, we are constantly pursuing, asking questions, and digging deeper into what we are and what we can be. Our NEED to be honest with self is crucial. However, the honesty isn't always as clear as we would like.

Do you know the difference between previous self and current self? Can you claim one and release the other?

How do we do this? How do we let go of what has been and claim what IS?

Learning to be honest about WHERE we have been, where we are going and WHERE WE ARE is the first step. RECOGNITION of the reality of NOW and CLAIMING it is CRUCIAL.

So often, we carry baggage as artists. To release that baggage and leave it where it belongs takes a recognition of why we carry it. Why does a negativity creep in? What do you carry into your NOW that is no longer there? Why?

Perhaps you hear that voice that tells you "you cannot" "you sing out of tune" "you are flat" "you are sharp" "you are going to miss that high note" "you suck" "you aren't ready" "you are singing the wrong rep" "are you sure you can sing?" "are you sure you want this?" "why are you doing this"....and on and on and on...

Where is this coming from? Now or then?

What have you done about it? If the high notes aren't an issue anymore, then why are you not releasing the previous self to sing them currently?

Whose voice is not allowing you to release your previous self to the past where it belongs?

I can't answer these questions...only YOU can. But until you truly release this, allow this sense of previous/current to truly feel real, you will always feel like you back-peddling a little.

I believe this is where the "needy singer" syndrome develops from. We want to please and do well, and want to make everybody aware WE are aware of our foibles - so much so that we keep dragging up the the previous foibles and making them a strange reality in the current self.

CLAIM THE CURRENT SELF. We don't need to apologize for what has happened. We work from where we are NOW. The journey continues. We can learn from the previous self, not get bogged down by it.

As soon as the performance is over - it is PREVIOUS. We can observe, make adjustments, and work forward to make the changes to find the current self.

Learning how to observe objectively and not invest subjectively in our performances becomes absolutely necessary to truly find our artistic voice.

Easier said than done, I know. It is something we MUST pursue. Recognizing our current reality and moving through it, allows us to see ourselves as we truly are. Having the people around us we TRUST and actually TRUSTING THEM makes a huge impact too. We must be willing to release the previous self in order to truly nurture the current self and move through it.

If the team around you keeps telling you that you ARE in tune, and the high notes are successful and you choose to keep questioning it, then why are you asking? What can you not get past to be where you are? Why are you making the previous voices larger than the current ones? Why are you making the negative stronger than the positive?

Many of us do not want to delude ourselves into believing we are further than we are. We want to be honest and truthful about where we are and who we are. This is noble and wonderful. However, delusion isn't always telling ourselves we are better than we are; sometimes it is trying to keep ourselves in a place we no longer belong. Sometimes we stop our growth by thinking we need to listen to those negative and previous voices in order to learn something.

What are you learning?!?!?! Get rid of those voices!!!! A healthy ego is ESSENTIAL to not apologize for the TRUTH of you as an artist and as a performer.

Know what you are truly capable of. Go out to get that. If you achieve it - BRAVO! If you don't - make the observation of what happened and why. Learn from it. Be pro-active about it. Do not succumb to the negativity. The negativity will stifle the growth and will never allow you to find your current self, nor will it allow for a true competition of previous self.

You MUST know the difference, claim the difference and LIVE the difference.

It's okay to say "I can" "I sing in tune" "I have something to offer" "I can claim this"!!!! In fact, IT IS NECESSARY AS AN ARTIST TO CLAIM IT ALL!!!!!!!!!

Competition with your previous self assumes you know the difference and have RELEASED the previous in order to be current with yourself.

CLAIM the difference. If you don't - you will continue to move in circles until you are simply too tired to do it anymore.

Find your truth - live it, claim it and breathe it. Recognize that truth needs to grow and morph and develop. If you KNOW better, you do better...