Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Voice as Instrument" Seminars in JUNE in NYC!

Are you an actor who needs to discover his/her singing voice?

Are you a dancer who needs to sing and doesn't know where to begin?


Voice as Instrument for ACTORS:  introducing actors to the voice and how it migrates into the singing voice; learn an integrated beginning of the study of voice as instrument to move seamlessly between speaking and singing.

Voice as Instrument for DANCERS:  introducing dancers to the physicality of their sound and how we can work WITH their dancer body and not against it to access breath and voice more capably and what it takes to begin to study voice as physicality.



ACTORS SEMINAR at  3:30 p.m.

39 W32nd #1205
between broadway and 5th


Susan Eichhorn Young

here it is: $25/person.  You cannot find a more informative and hands on session about voice for this fee.


Any actor or dancer who has limited voice study, or simply no private ongoing study of voice at all.  If you've been missing out on those callbacks because your singing voice is not ready,  this is for you!  If you have been hesitant to study voice because you don't know where to begin looking, this is for you!  If you've been out of the loop for awhile and need to get a safe kick in the pants, this is for you!

If you currently study with a teacher,  this is not to replace your regular study.  If you ARE regularly studying voice - YAY YOU!!!!


Email  with ACTOR JUNE SEMINAR or DANCER JUNE SEMINAR in the subject. Tell me why you want to take the class.  Attach your resume and headshot.


Once accepted, you will be invoiced via paypal.  The class will have to be prepaid 7 days prior in order to hold your spot as the number of participants will be limited for individualized attention.

Any questions?  email me directly:

Please pass on to any actor/dancer friends you might think would be interested!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

It's a big question...and no pat answer.

One of the the questions TO the questions I have been asked lately by singers is simply "why?"  They are simply not asking the right questions.

What are the questions to ask?

They simply need to be relevant to where you are.

Do you know where that is?  Ah, that might be the right question to ask first.

Where are you - literally.  Where are you - figuratively.

Are you willing to be honest and truthful about it?  Truth is okay you know.  It DOES help you figure out what is important, what is necessary and what is simply not useful.

Are you asking the right question if you ask who you should be auditioning for if you don't have your 5 arias ready in your fach to perform in your sleep?

I am guessing - wrong question.  If you don't know your repertoire, haven't figured out your voice enough to lock into your audition package,  then, the question might be simply: When will I be ready to audition?  Or, what do I need to do to find out what fach I need to represent?  Or, how long will it take me to have my arias audition ready?

Too many singers want cart before horse.  It doesn't happen like that.

We need to see ourselves where we ARE, not where we would like to be, where we think we should be, or where someone else puts us.  If we refuse to see, to acknowledge we COULD see, we set ourselves up for a delusion that runs deep!

If you don't know what the right questions are, then THAT is the first question:  what ARE the right questions to ask right now?

Be prepared.  The answers might not be what you thought.  They will certainly illuminate the truth for you - whether you are ready for them or not.

I cannot give you a path of questions - because everybody's path is unique, and the set of questions is unique.  Start simply.  Allow the answer to take you to the next question.  Do not try to run if you aren't sitting up yet. 

This is not an easy process.  It shines a light on the corners that we often don't want to acknowledge, let alone claim.  But if you are willing to claim what excites you, then you must claim what makes you uncomfortable.

Asking the right questions is not all flowers and fabulous shoes!!!  It is about getting dirt under your nails, and sometimes tear-stained cheeks and skinned knees.

If you are not asking the right questions, at some point someone in your camp is going to tell you that and begin answering you directly.  If you aren't prepared for it, it may be like having cold water thrown at you and it will take your breath away.  If you are willing to explore it more fully yourself, and then ask questions that are truly appropriate OF those people who support you - teach you, coach you, mentor you - you will be prepared for truth, simply because you knew how to ask for it.

What you DO with that truth is your business.  Yet another question.

Ultimately the questions and the answers are up to you.  You will either get it, or not.  It is yours to claim.  It is no one else's responsibility but yours.  No, it's not easy.  No, it's not clean.  No, it doesn't always feel good.  Welcome to life.

Figure it out, or someone will hand it to you, whether you are ready or not.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Named in "50 Best Blogs for Opera Students"

Just got word we were named in "50 Best Blogs for Opera Students"

Thank YOU for reading!

And yes, I am working on the book based on this blog - my summer project which hopefully will be ready for fall 2011.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Collegial Responsibility or How to Keep Your Mouth Shut!

Wednesday musings...

What kind of colleague are you?

The revealing of your collegial personality reveals much about your professionalism, your personality and temperament.

Ultimately,  your "job" as a colleague to to pull your own weight and mind your own business!

I see too often singers trying to offer technical advice to other singers during a production, a rehearsal or performance.  This is simply not your responsibility!

Whether we like it or not,  theatre has a chain of command.  If you are hired to play a role, or a sing a part, that is your role.  THAT IS IT.  Your responsibility to yourself and to your colleagues is to learn YOUR role and YOUR part and stay pliable enough to create what is needed to be an addition to that production, rehearsal or performance.

If you were not hired as the director,  do not direct.  If you have a question about direction, ask the director.

If you were not hired as the vocal coach or music director,  then do not offer coaching or directing unannounced or uninvited.

Your responsibility is YOU.  "But I'm just trying to help"  is not an excuse for lack of professionalism or boundaries.

Simply - if you would not be open or welcoming to someone telling YOU how to do something, or telling you what you are doing "wrong" that wasn't in the role of director, music director, coach - then don't do it yourself.

Your actions reveal the level of professionalism you have arrived at.  Many are mere amateurs at best, masking as professionals.

All singers are in process - and whatever a singer might be working on is not simply going dissolve and be perfect when they take on a role or take on a part in a concert.  We are ALL where we are.

Collegial responsibility to a production is to be as prepared as WE can be and let everybody else look after themselves.  Those 'colleagues' who have the most to say about what you need to do or fix or change are not paying attention to what THEY need to do.  They create an atmosphere of distrust, awkwardness and resentment.  Ironically, the colleagues that feel they need to speak to you about your technique, or your posture, or your gown, or how you walk, or or or - are often not invested in the process nor have they "arrived" in their development.

Collegial irresponsibility is often another layer of self-delusion:  if they tell you what YOU aren't doing, maybe nobody will notice THEY aren't doing anything!

Simply know your place and your role within the process.  And if you are being harassed or bullied by a colleague, don't hesitate to say something!!  Part of the reason these people continue to spew their rhetoric is because people let them get away with it!

True colleagues know what they are doing and ask questions when they don't;  they are open for direction BY THE DIRECTOR;  they are open for musical suggestions BY THE MUSIC DIRECTOR; they are supportive of the process as a company and supportive of their colleagues in what each can bring to the project.  They do not disrespect boundaries - personal or professional.

If something crosses a line,  they speak up.  They speak up to the right people, in the right circumstance.  This is professional collegial responsibility.

When in doubt, know your worth,  do not make excuses, do you work and keep your mouth shut.

If a colleague ASKS for your input,  tread carefully.  Do not take over and begin to dictate.  Still not your job.  If something is worthy of a brava or bravo or good work - say so.  Congratulate when it is warranted.  Support when it is needed.  Reinforce when it needs solidification.

"We are in this together"  needs to be a mantra when learning to be a great colleague.  Nothing is perfect.  Process has to stay fluid and we cannot get rigid.  Knowing we are in an environment that can be trustworthy allows for us to release into that process and find our best selves.  If we feel we have to be on guard due to a lousy colleague,  the process is never fully satisfactory.

Do not assume collegial trust.  Earn it.  You have to earn your right to stand there, and so do they.  You do not earn it by bullying your way in, or by simply being asked to be there.  Your work ethic, your personal ethic and your ability to acknowledge where you are and what you are there to do will prove you have earned the trust others place in you.

Actions do speak louder than any words - so keep your mouth shut!

You do not have to agree with how someone else is singing;  you may be concerned with how a colleague is approaching a high note.  Let it go.  We ALL have to find our own way.  You have your OWN stuff to deal with - that's enough.  You don't have to agree;  you don't have to lie;  you simply do not need to say anything.  It is not your business.

Your job, is to do your job.  Let each singer figure it out THEIR job.  Let the director do his/her job.  Let the conductor do his/her job.  If everyone develops his/her process and works to create within the boundaries of what they are there to do,  often magic happens and the project is created!!! What a concept!!

Imagine imperfect artists coming together to create something together?!?!?!  Imagine just being where we are and discovering where we can be if we all just take the time to acknowledge the truth of someone else's path?

And, of course, if someone really oversteps it, a simply stiletto in the jugular has worked from time to time....(!!!)  If you walk out of rehearsal feeling THAT pain, perhaps it should become clear to you what kind of colleague you've become!