Monday, December 31, 2012

Here Comes the New Year!

Here we are again - another New Year's Eve...

I have NO idea where 2012 went, but I am looking forward to 2013.  13 is a lucky number.

I have read some wonderful blogs this week with great inspiration  and great kick in the pants.

These to me are the yin and yang of balance.  The essence of higher spiritual elements and the grounding of being on the earth!

Nothing proves your worth to yourself more than work.  Life is work.  Building craft is work.  Developing a career is work.  As my Dad used to say "fair? who said it was fair?"

What can I possibly add?  Nothing really.  I can only add my thoughts.

Give yourself a moment to see how far you've come.  Do not value judge that.  Do not compare it to someone else.  It is YOUR journey.  As artists,  there is not one set way to achieve.  Do not look at that as a negative or a burden,  look at it as an opportunity!  It is a gift to create your own path!  No one has done it that way or will do it that way again.  You are unique.

Release the language that binds you,  that shows your fear.  No more "I can't",  "Yes, but..", "Maybe tomorrow...",  "I'm not...", "what if..."

Catch yourself and change it.  You have that power and that responsibility!

"I CAN..."

"Yes, AND..."


"I AM..."

"When I..."

Each day we have the responsibility to take it, and seize it and make it ours.  Some days the bear eats us, and some days, we eat the bear!!!  There is no value judgement.  All we need to do is not try, but simply DO.

Change your maybes into actions.

Quit comparing yourself to others.  It takes your eyes off your own path.  It slows you down.

Embrace your doubts and make it fuel to find the answers to move through the doubts.

What do you NEED?

What brings you JOY?

What gives you PURPOSE?

Pursue those things with all of your might!

Who needs YOU?  Who do you bring JOY and PURPOSE to?

This will feed you!

Do not excuse yourself,  if you wouldn't let others get away with it!

Trust your instincts.  If you don't know them, find them.

Be true to yourself.  If you don't know yourself,  find it.

Find your joy.  Every day.

Prioritize.  Daily.  It changes daily.  Allow for that pliability.

Embrace your light corners AND your dark corners.  They need to acknowledged so they can balance.

Do not beat yourself down.  Build yourself up.  Surround yourself with people who encourage, challenge and respect YOU.

Encourage, challenge and respect YOURSELF.

Encourage, challenge and respect those around you.

Create the YOU that makes you unique.  What is it about YOU that people want to be around?  that the business should want to hire?  It has NOTHING to do with who you are like or who you want to be like.  It has to do with YOU.

YOU are enough.

Enough is up to you to fulfill.

Release each day.  Stretch through into the new day.  Learn, discover,  meditate and be still.

Take a deep breath,  release it, and smile.

A new year,  a new day,  a more real YOU!

Determination,  acknowledgement,  discovery,  focus!  Creativity,  possibility,  LIFE!

Let each action lead you and FULFILL you!

Here's to the journey of YOU in 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Celebrate your Successes?

It's almost the New Year - a year of possibilities!

Are you celebrating your successes or obsessed with what you didn't do that you forget to acknowledge what you DID do?

Dream, and then REALIZE.  Do not use blanket statements.  They don't serve you in spirit or in craft.

"I can't",  "I didn't",  "I want",  "I wish",  do not serve actual development.

"I did",  "I will",  "I can",  "I accomplished"  DO serve your growth as an artist.

Perhaps you aren't where you want to be, where you think you should be,  where you believe you can be.  But you are where you are for a reason.  So celebrate THAT.

I talked about the excuses last week...the more we dwell on those, the more we sabotage our own development, craft, artistry and career.

What did you do?  There is no such thing as a "small" or "inconsequential" success.  A success is a success.  It means you have overcome something,  and are now on the other side of it.  Hurdling over means you have conquered,  and you are moving ahead even if you are standing still!

We are always so quick to make excuses, or dismiss, or expect success to be blaring trumpets and fireworks.

True success is often quiet,  small steps, and found in the shadowed corners of your peripheral vision.  Do not dismiss it.

Do not make a list of what you did NOT do this year.  Make a list of what you DID do.

Nothing is insignificant.

Perhaps you finally took that class that scared you.  Perhaps you made enough money to study your craft regularly.  Perhaps you auditioned more than you thought you would.  Perhaps you saw a production that was about something real that moved you and changed you!

Perhaps after all those years of study,  you had an "a-ha" moment and things began to gel.  Perhaps you got up in front of your peers and made mistakes and lived to tell about it!  Perhaps...

See where I'm going?

Sometimes,  the success begins with simply getting up in the morning,  stretching and saying out loud "I will sing today".  You say it, you own it.  If you DO it,  success!

Success then allows for a higher reach.  It will give you the desire and the motivation to pursue MORE, to raise the bar,  to release "it's good enough" for "I am MORE than that".

You cannot raise the bar, until you celebrate where it was and the fact that you have cleared it.

Don't poo-poo it;  give yourself the credit,  and then continue to find the next.

You are no one but you.  Your successes are not about anybody else but you.

I work to help my singers be the best they can be.  That doesn't mean they are all ready for professional careers.  They are ready to earn their own successes with their own talent and their own limitations if they are willing to acknowledge where they are, what they are doing and where they are going.

So do not answer the question "What did you do this year?" with "nothing" or with "well I didn't do..."

When you really answer the question,  you might be pleasantly surprised to see how far you've come!

Reflect,  acknowledge,  give yourself credit for where you were,  and how far you've come.  Smile,  take a breath and take on the new year!  Celebrate YOU!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

Happy Solstice!

A perfect day to reflect,  and turn inward, to meditate and to plan - the darkness before the dawn.

As often she does, my daughter Erin Elizabeth brings great light into my life and in our many discussions about life and path and artistry and career,  she again revealed truth this week.  She is an old soul and very attuned to the legacy of her grandfather and I see his wisdom in her young life.

The conversation we had this past week has given me pause, and reflection, and hope.  It has brought me to this blog entry in fact!

What is it that we fear?  Why do we procrastinate?  Why do we self-sabotage?  What draws us into the depths of melancholia?

Is it really failure?  Or fear of failure?  Or is it fear of truly discovering and living one's own power and success?  That would mean what you SAY you want, you actually LIVE.

 Perhaps on this day of reflection we need to resurface into a stronger and more enlightened discovery.

What brings you into great joy?  What allows you to feel "whole"?  to feel like you are fully "self"?  What truly makes you powerful?

If it is your artistry, your craft and being on stage,  being in the process,  committing to the process, then why are we excuse-ridden to not BE there????

Ask yourself a very simple (ha!) question:  where am I most content?  Where am I most ME?

Don't jump at the answer!  Let it move through you like a warmth.  Let it envelope you!

So now,  why wouldn't we want that all the time????  Why do we get scared or fearful???

I don't have the answers,  I just have lots of questions.

We are all guilty of this fear.  We put off our successes so often and time passes by.  I am just as guilty. None of us are exempt!

How many of you have used weight as an excuse to not claim your success?  "I need to lose more weight before I audition",  "I need to lose more weight before I get new head shots/create my website", "I need to lose weight to be seen as that type".

Really?  And do you lose the weight????  hmmmmm.....

"I need a bigger voice", "I need a smaller nose",  " I need more time",  "I will never be seen as ..", "I need to be older",  "I need to be younger",  and on and on...

And are you content?  I will answer that: no.  Why?  it isn't because you didn't lose the weight or any of the other excuses and fears!  It is because you are not in the warmth of what makes you content!!  What makes you YOU.  The weight is an fear that disables you from the truth of your success.

If you simply answer the question of what makes you content,  then you work to BE there.  The fears and excuses become obsolete!

What if you worked on your website?  you worked on your voice?  you committed to the classes that will give you more depth in your craft?  you invested in that warmth of self to claim success?

Imagine being content because you were DOING what it is that gives you most joy and completeness!  Imagine no excuses!  Imagine discovering the RIGHT questions to ask!

Failure isn't an option then.  There is no room for excuses.  There is no plan B, C or D.  All there is, is honesty, truth,  and NOW.  Discovering those things will allow for success, in whatever form it takes, and will allow you to claim more authentically what makes you, YOU.

Don't make the journey an excuse.  Don't let fear of success and claiming the authenticity of you blind you or paralyze you or stop you from discovery!

Ask the questions,  don't manipulate the questions:

What makes me happy?  Where do I feel most content?  What gives my soul joy?

How do I get there?  POSITIVE movement, NO ROAD BLOCKS!!!  Do not begin with "I would but..." or "I will, when...." or "I can't yet..."


Why wouldn't you want happiness, contentedness, fulfillment?

What will give that to you?  How do you get it?

If you truly claim THAT journey, there is no fear, but rather, great anticipation and creative thought and development to FIND IT!

Release fear and anxiety - and claim the possibility!  If there is possibility,  there is hope.  If there is hope there is desire.  If there is desire,  there is an opportunity to claim TRUTH!

We all need to find our power and release our false sense of control - and our false fears.

If you build it, they will come!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Just a simple and heart felt THANK YOU for reading the blog, for emailing me with ideas and suggestions,  and for all your support!

I wish each of you a wonderful holiday season filled with laughter, rest, love, great music and renewed energy for your artistic life!

More blogs coming soon!

I will be back in the NYC STUDIO January 2, 2013!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Singer, The Teacher, The Coach oh my!

Sunday musings...

I have written about this before, but it seems to come up again and again...

What is the ethical protocol in this group relationship?  Where are the boundaries? Who determines them?  How fluid is it?

Big questions,  big answers, and even bigger questions.

Sadly, with all relationships, the personalities, egos and professional and personal ethics of each human being play a huge part in determining these boundaries.

I will try to address it from a neutral position.

Each entity in this "family" needs to know their raison d'etre.  They need to know what they bring to the table,  where their skills are,  and simply why they are doing it.

The balance and boundaries for a singer,  depends on that singer and their experience and development.  Often young inexperienced  singers will have a much more difficult time staying firm with boundaries as they seek out expertise to guide them.

On the other hand,  some so-called singers have more ego than experience or talent, and in combination with a forceful personality will try to tell a teacher how to teach, or a coach how to coach.

Boundaries and balance of teaching and coaching are the same.  Big personalities that need ego-stroking, that do not want to be held to the standard of their position will often cross the boundaries intentionally.

How is this controlled?

Singers need to get wise.  Fast.  They cannot be railroaded or moved if it is against their best interest.  Singers need to know the differences between a teacher and a coach.  If that is clear in their minds,  then they determine the boundaries, should they be crossed.

What are those boundaries?

Professionally speaking, the teacher's expertise lies in the development of the instrument.  This means technique and all things voice.  This is the primary responsibility of the teacher:  to work with the singers to develop the technical aspects of the voice.

The coach's expertise lies in the musical, stylistic and language aspects of the music, as sung by the singer.  It is not the coach's responsibility nor his/her place to try to teach technically.

A singer must, and I do mean MUST take charge in those boundaries.

If a coach knows your teacher's language, and/or has played for you in a lesson they can often remind you of a teacher's information while coaching.  Example "that interval is flat.  Remember what your teacher said about xyz? Keep that in mind when we do it again".

If a coach doesn't know your teacher's language,  and he/she knows it's a technical issue, often a simple "there's a technical thing you need to deal with here, ask your teacher about this line".

If a coach begins to teach you technically,  the boundary has been crossed.  Both of you are responsible.

How do you handle it?  You can simply ignore it and concentrate on the coaching aspects, or simply say you will take those technical issues to your teacher.

Ignorance is not bliss in learning how to determine relationships and boundaries in this dance!

Coaches often can ask for a different kind of sound, a different kind of vowel,  suggest more breath,  more legato, more of something!  They can point out mistakes, misreads.  They can work on the stylistic choices and how that style needs to sound.  These are the coaching elements.  But technique?  That is the teacher's domain.

Ultimately, singers, it is YOUR voice.  If you don't stand up for it,  nobody can.

Knowledge is power.  You gain knowledge by studying AND coaching.  There is also great power is knowing the difference and who does what and why.  Great power lies in establishing the boundaries so what you learn can be genuine and flourish.

If the boundaries are not respected,  then find another teacher or find another coach.

Do not "put up with" anything that doesn't feel right, or that doesn't serve you positively.

Know why you stand in front of the people you do - what are you there for?  Your reasons cannot be blurred.  This allows you knowledge to hold everybody in your vocal family responsible for their raison d'etre and to keep the boundaries firm.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yes Virginia, there IS audition etiquette!

a Thursday musing as we enter December audition season...

Yes my dearest snow flakes,  there IS an etiquette of behavior AND attire that can make or break your audition.

Whether it is an opera audition, a YAP audition, a grad school or even undergraduate school audition, a music theatre audition - and more - there IS a protocol that you really should consider.

Many of you do pay attention on this, but sadly so many of you do not.

How do I know?  I see it!  Just in NYC alone, I have walked into audition waiting rooms over the last few weeks, and at least half of you are making wrong choices.  SIMPLY WRONG.

Music Theatre auditions, same average.

School auditions, sometimes MORE than half.

Why is this so important?

I say it again:  we SEE you first.  This is your packaging.  This shows us before you open your mouth if you are considering where you are and respecting it fully.  This is before you SAY anything, let alone SING anything!

The packaging enhances your performance, your energy, your persona - or it can deeply deter from it.

First: it is an AUDITION.  Think of it as a job interview.  This is not a performance - no costumes!  This is not a gala - no formal wear during the day nor in the evening for an audition!

You are trying to get the job.  You are trying to get a spot in a school or program.

You are wanting to be taken seriously.  You are wanting to be remembered for POSITIVE reasons, not be talked about as the singer who didn't have a clue.

I have written blogs about this in the past, but I think it still needs to be said and reinforced.  Obviously from what I have seen lately, and what I have been told by other professionals, time to say it again!

Here are some dos and don'ts for both men and women based on what I have seen lately.

1.  if the material of your outfit and/or your jewelry makes more noise than you do when you move - do NOT wear it!
3.  If you wear it to the club, do NOT wear it to an audition.  Cheap looking clinging material, too short skirts, clear
4.  Think business dress to begin to get a sense of expectation
5.  Figure out what your body type is, and find the cuts and shapes that flatter it
6.  Not only do you need to WEAR undergarments, you need to wear the RIGHT ones.  There are great websites that have fabulous spanx-like products.  Find out what you need!  When you wear the right undergarments, the outfit looks more streamlined!  A great bra and other undergarments is a necessary investment.
7.  Figure out what colors look great on you!  Wear them!
8.  WEAR MAKEUP. PLEASE!!!  If you aren't used to wearing makeup, get thee to a makeup counter ASAP and LEARN.  Eyes and lips are crucial.  This does NOT mean drag queen central!  This means a balanced day look with a slight intensity to "pop" the eyes and enhance the lips.  You are trying to communicate aren't you?  Draw us to you!
9. Get your hair off your face.
10.  Wear a heel.  Yes I said it.  Wear a heel you can WALK in.  Kitten heels or 3 inch heels. Make sure you can WALK!
11.  If you are wearing a skirt or dress,  stockings or not?  Who cares as long as your legs look good? If you are bare, moisturize and cover up any bruises or nicks.
12.  Draw the eye UP to yours!  You want to create line and shape, and HEIGHT so we pay attention to what you are singing and not looking at the bruise of your left shin or how short your skirt is, or how dowdy your blouse tucked into your choral skirt looks.
13.  PRACTICE in your outfit, in your shoes, with your lipstick on.

1.  Grooming - whether you have facial hair or not - make sure everything is trimmed and allows us to see YOU, not what's sticking out!
2.  No tuxes please.
3.  Polish your shoes.  And don't wear sportswear shoes. Dress shoes, loafers, whatever works with the rest of your outfit!
4.  No sports socks.  Dress socks please.
5.  Make sure you check the fit of your pants/jacket (should you option to wear a jacket).  Long enough inseam, long enough arm.  Not too long, not too short, just right...
6.  PRESS/STEAM THOSE CLOTHES.  Nothing looks less professional than a rumpled suit hanging on a man.
7.  Find the colors that look great on you - and WEAR them.
8.  Don't be afraid of texture in clothing
9.  Stay away from over sized patterns or too many patterns.  Nobody needs to get dizzy.
10. Break in your shoes.  Nothing is more awkward than seeing you walk in and try to get comfortable in a pair of shoes that are too new and squeak and pinch!
11.  Moisturize!  Look after your skin AND your lips!
12.  Practice in your outfit and your shoes.
13.  Again, long lines.  Draw the eye UP - to YOU.
14.  Leave the khakis and blue button down at home.  You can do better than that.

How do you behave?  Are you even aware of how you come across?

Stay open, aware, polite.  Often when nerves get to us, we can appear apologetic, bitchy, aloof, or even rude.
Start to truly observe yourself physically when you are nervous and when you practice auditioning.  How are you physically reacting?  How are you responding to the audition panel?  What are you saying?  The audition is not the place to create more angst!!  Do not challenge, do not provoke. (yes I have seen both, and hope it was simply nerves!)  Stay present.  Listen.  Breathe.  If you do not understand, as politely for clarification.

Please and thank you, and a smile and a true glimpse of your personality goes a long way.  Give yourself permission to be PREPARED not just in your repertoire, but in your packaging and behavior.  That panel remembers...and talks.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

But won't studying voice make me an opera singer?

In a

I hear the excuses - from many different people:  "but if I take lessons, it'll change my sound",  "I don't want to be an opera singer, so why would I take lessons?"

etc etc etc blah blah blah.

This is ignorance talking, and sometimes fear.  Fear of the unknown.

You can't call yourself a singer if you don't sing.  You cannot BE a singer if you don't have access to your FULL instrument.  Period.  How do you access that full instrument in order to know how to use it well, if you don't study?

As with ANY discipline,  study and technique is crucial for its longevity and its ability to excel.

Why wouldn't you want to know how to use your voice in the best possible way?

Studying voice, with the right teacher, will open technical possibilities,  knowledge, behavior,  approach,  and even STYLE that perhaps you had no idea about!

Until you truly access your instrument fully,  you simply cannot know what you are able to do, capable of, or not.

Singing is like any discipline or athletic activity.  The more the instrument is developed or "trained", the more possibilities exist.  The less chance of injury.  The more real the opportunities.

Athletes cross-train.  It doesn't mean they will excel or even delve into certain aspects of that training, but it is in the training itself, the PURITY of what the body learns and develops from that training that allows that athlete to then take on his/her speciality.

The dancer studies and develops technique.  The basis of the technique, what is at the core of the body function of technique does not mean that dancer will be a ballerina.  What happens at the barre allows for the dancer to move into the technique of other forms of dance, and have the technical FREEDOM to explore where their body and inclination allows them to be.

The actor who is fully realized, studies and develops behavior.  He/she can look at many different methods and approaches,  work with classical text,  understand breath and support,  and know no matter where they are cast, they are able to fulfill those requirements and embody that style and those characters.

Singing is the same thing.  The instrument begins with physicality and athleticism.  If this is not understood, it simply cannot take on what the mind and spirit want to always do.

Studying voice should and will make you a better SINGER.  Period.

If you call yourself one,  why wouldn't you want to be the best you can be and allow the challenges of that to lift you to the next level?

Potential is nothing if not realized.

Natural talent only exists to a certain point, and then evaporates with skill is required.

Knowledge is power.

Behavior is key.

Knowing how to do what you NEED to do in order to access the many facets and levels of artistry is CRUCIAL to being a singer, an artist, and someone who has the chops to last!

Flying by the seat of your pants can be exciting until you fall.  And generally the seat of those pants rips hard and suddenly the Emperor has no clothes on.  Everybody sees it.

The truly "great" artists - those that span time  in EVERY genre of singing - study.  From opera to music theatre, to pop and rock to jazz and more.

The greatest players and singers,  the greatest actors and dancers,  the greatest athletes ALL STUDIED!

Learning how to use your instrument, your voice,  allows you more possibilities, not less.  It will not change your voice, it will ACCESS your voice.  Learning how your instrument works,  discovering how to use it in a healthy way will not change your choice of style, but in fact FINESSE it.

Why wouldn't you want to access MORE instead of staying with less?

You don't know until you try.  You cannot try until you realize.

If you say you want to sing,  then truly understand what it means to access the voice.  YOUR voice.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Who is that pianist in the room?

Sunday musings...

We've been discussing this all week on Facebook and in the studio so I decided once again to blog about it.

Why oh why, when there are marvelous, exceptional and brilliant pianists out there,  are so many singers complaining about the lack of ability from the keyboard in the audition room?

Many CDs I know work hard to create the best possible environment in the surreal atmosphere of the audition room by having marvelous pianists.  Same for opera artistic directors.

However,  more times than not,  there are barely competent pianists.  Why?

I truly am at a loss to understand this,  when I know so many fantastic pianists.  Is it the lack of funds to pay them well?  Why wouldn't you want a pianist who can truly play the material well so the audition goes as well as it can?  Poor auditions are exhausting for EVERYBODY.  If I am sitting at the table listening,  I get cranky.  If I could have had a better pianist to help lift up those auditions to a better standard, why wouldn't I do that?

So,  let's look at this from all angles.  I hold ALL of us responsible for the success or failure of an audition.

If you call yourself an audition pianist then you need to know the repertoire.  Period.  You need to be an excellent not competent, sight reader.  You need a fantastic sense of time and rhythmic pocket.  You need to know how to re-organize the repertoire - what to play and what to leave out - to support that singer.  You are not auditioning - the singer is.  You need to support that singer.  They are nervous.  You need to given respect,  AND GIVE IT BACK.  Your attitude needs to be checked.

In my experience,  the more the attitude, the less competent the pianist generally is.  You will not make up the lack of skill by giving the singer more 'tude.  Seriously.  You are there to SUPPORT.  You are the one who truly makes or breaks that audition.  Take THAT seriously.

Singers - BE PREPARED.  It is up to you to be so prepared for that audition, that even if things de-rail you can make it work!  Again,  singers who are under-prepared will often play the blame-game.  Stop it.  Prepare!  Don't think by learning that cut the day before will allow you to nail it.  It won't.  If the first thing you do is blame the pianist and not look at your own preparation,  you need to really rethink what you are doing.  Again,  if the attitude is larger than the talent, the craft or the preparation, perhaps it's time to sit down and have a reality check.

Singers - if you demand craft from the pianist, then first demand it from yourself.  Do not allow yourself to be bullied or manipulated in the room.  Know what you are doing,  how you present yourself, how you present your music and  how you address the pianist to engage them, not to dismiss them.  Do not let anyone dismiss YOU.  Stand your ground.  The audition table IS paying attention to your demeanor and ability to handle stressful situations.


Give that pianist your tempo,  make sure it IS your tempo.  Slow yourself down so you aren't speeding through things! Make sure you ask for what you want.  Don't assume they know.  If you want an intro ask for it - mark it in the music.  If you want a bell tone and chord - MARK IT and ASK FOR IT.

You have every right to ask to start again if things derail.  You don't need to blame the pianist or yourself.  Simply smile and say "I think we mis-communicated with tempo or something - I would like to start again please".  Don't get angry.  SING HARDER!!  Stand your ground! DEMAND the best audition you can offer.

If you, the singer, rises above a less than adequate pianist, the audition panel is going to realize they have made a mistake.  If singers make excuses, then the inadequacy looks like it belongs to the singer.

Don't take an inadequate pianist lying down!  Demand more from them - but know it begins with YOU.  If you are not exceptionally prepared,  you have no business complaining.

Great pianists are out there.  FIND THEM.  HIRE THEM.  Pay their fee.  They are worth EVERY penny and more!!

The great pianists will give you support, embrace you,  make you comfortable and will encourage you to do your best and able to create an instant partnership with the singer.

The great singers will be prepared, organized, open and pliable and able to create an instant partnership with the pianist.

We need more of this - from BOTH sides of the keyboard!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Post-Hurricane Sandy

It's Sunday....the usual day of posting musings...

Today we have power and heat.  After 5 days of no power, heat or water,  it is something I cherish yet again.

However, so many post-storm have lost so much more.  I see so many angels out there organizing donations,  volunteers,  just offering a hot meal, a hot shower, a place to charge your phone!

If you can,  help however you are able.

Here are few links that may be of use!


There are obviously MANY MORE sites, including the red cross - but these sites will take you DIRECTLY to where help is needed with no red tape.  It is a start.  Do what you can if you can.

Here's another one sent to me: I would assume drop off would be possible too - makes more sense:


If you would like to assist in the relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy, my nonprofit organization, Healthwork Solutions, INC is collecting the following items and have arranged to have them picked up and disseminated to the relief center for victims in Rockaway area and Breezy Point- areas hit very hard and is receiving no support as of yet from Red Cross.  These residents are staying in FEMA shelters set up around NYC and have no homes, clothes, food etc.  There are hundreds of children staying in these shelters and we are in need of the following items:

Disposable Diapers – various sizes
Baby Wipes
Formula – various types
Infant / Toddler warm clothing (onesies, socks, thermal pjs, sweatsuit type clothing, hats, gloves, coats)
Infant Cereal / Baby Food /  Bottled Water/ Infant Juices
Granola Bars
Dry Cereal (like Cherrios)
Coloring Books/ Crayons/ Toys

PLEASE MAIL ITEMS ASAP TO:  Healthwork Solutions Inc 2205 3rd Avenue Suite 4E New York, NY 10035   

For a tax write off, our EIN # is 20-593-1031

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Brazil in July 2013

Thomas and I are thrilled to announce we are part of an esteemed faculty at the FESTIVAL OF INTERNATIONAL OPERA OF THE AMERICAS in BRAZIL July 2013 for its INAUGURAL SEASON!

The website is up and changing daily - more auditions and information coming soon!  Check back often for more info!

Hope we see some of you there!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's a Fine Fine Line...

Happy October Sunday!

I have written about this before, and as I move toward the 18 month mark post-accident in the healing process (which will be on Winter Solstice!) I see many interesting comparisons.

What conversation are we willing - and able - to have with ourselves?  It is a fine, fine line between reality and delusion,  reality and blame, reality and self-abuse, reality and obsession, reality and fixation,  reality and ...You get the idea.

As I continue in my recovery,  I have had to have MANY conversations with myself.  Daily.  The reality is,  I have been in a life-altering accident.  The reality is,  I will never be the same.  The reality is,  my life is a miracle.  The reality is,  I have worked hard.  And, even two months away from a crucial 18 month mark, the reality is,  I will never have full capacity physically.

Now, before you try to be Pollyanna with me saying "there's still time",  "but you don't know",  I don't need that.  Due to the many and ongoing conversations with myself, and having medical professionals in my life who are straight with me and have pushed me to find everything I can find,  I am okay with this.  I know I will NOT be the same.  I accept that.  I do not accept sitting down and feeling sorry for myself.  I still fight to get stronger;  I still fight to do what I can in a new way;  I still work to discover other aspects of my life or my career that might not have been thought of before.  I am still discovering more possibility.

I see this fine, fine line in singers.  (It's everywhere else too, but let's focus on US!).

What kind of conversation do you have with yourself?  Are you even having one?

Are you excuse-ridden?  Do you really HEAR those who you have around you?  Do they enable you? Do they encourage you?  Do they give you other ways of thinking about things?

Do you accept blindly?  Do you fight back immediately?  Do you question their questions?  Do you ask and then explore where that statement, observation came from?

Do you ask yourself why you respond the way you do?

Do you dismiss immediately if it doesn't make you comfortable?

Do you ask questions about your craft?

Do you ask questions about your career?

Do you have pat answers as to why you aren't doing this or why you are doing that?

Do you question your responses to things?

Do you know why you respond the way you do?

How do you respond to yourself?  What do you think about yourself?  About where you are, technically, artistically, within the business?

Do you use the words fair/unfair,  perfect/not perfect?

Do you make excuses?

Do you see yourself as the business does?

Do you see yourself as clearly as you can each day?

Are you self-aware, or self-absorbed, or self-sabotaged, or????

The questions go on and on and on if the conversation with yourself has validity and truth.

And what's the answer?????

Here it is my dearest snow flakes:

The fine, fine line is how you react to your work and the truth of how your work stands.
The fine, fine line is how you CHOOSE to interpret your work,  your instrument,  your career.
The fine, fine line is having a basis in truth, honesty and reality or making a decision to "not know", "not understand", "the business's fault", "so-and-so's fault".
The fine, fine line is between making excuses and simply doing the work.
The fine, fine line is a simple question of:  Am I willing to be honest and truthful and am I willing to take a step into that reality or do I need to twist it to make myself more comfortable?

Honesty isn't always comfortable.  However, if we are willing to stick it out, it can allow us to find more successful possibilities.  Even possibilities we might not have considered re-creating a pseudo-reality.

There is a huge difference between "but it was perfect yesterday" and "Damn I sang it better yesterday".

There is a huge difference between talking about what you THINK you want, and actually doing the work to achieve what you can actually DO.

If we have created a narrative and keep a conservation with ourselves that makes us comfortable all the time,  doesn't allow us to question,  or even want to - that is a huge red flag that perhaps that conversation is one of protection,  not growth or a reality that can enter the business, or  intersect anybody else's conversation.

If you truly want to know,  ASK.  Then listen.  Take it in.  Don't put up defenses.  Work to hear. Allow yourself to truly be.

Every day.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Toronto Intensive in NOVEMBER

Any singers in the Toronto area interested?
I will be in Toronto November 16/17/18 for private sessions.

If you are interested - email me for more info

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Is there an App for that?

Thursday night musings...

In our instant, techno society (and I do like my iPad and apps etc - and if **I** can figure it out, anybody can!),  we often expect instant gratification with everything.

Guess what?  Not happening with craft.

There is NO APP for craft.

If you want to dance, you have to STUDY.

If you want to act, you have to STUDY.

If you want to sing, you have to STUDY.

Study takes time.  It takes focus.   It takes dedication.  It takes work.  It takes your sweat equity,  your time, your pursuit.

Use your apps for your music,  your voice recorder,  and more.  There is a place for an app.

The craft of your artistry is NOT an app.  It is not a cookie cutter replica.  It is not a one-size-fits-all.

It is unique.  It is authentic.  It is YOU.  It CAN be you if you choose to embrace it.

Study, craft, artistry needs to be done the old-fashioned way.  It needs to be embraced the REAL way:





Wishing is not enough.  Real craft takes practice and pursuit.  It takes practice.  It takes pursuit and dedication.  It takes a reality check.  It does not tolerate delusion.

If you want an App for your craft,  you better go into something else.  If you want to dedicate your life and energy to exploration and development of technical behavior, to artistic truth,  to where your talent takes you,  then forget about the app.  Embrace the truth of the work!

Behavior takes times to develop.  It isn't downloaded.  It is absorbed over time and thought and perseverance.

Be tenacious enough to pursue what you say you DO; who you say you ARE;  what you say you PURSUE.

Discover what you can do,  what you will do, what you desire to do;  Find the people who can help you and lead you to the places to find your truths.

Pursue truth.  Don't just find the answers that make you comfortable.  Growth isn't always comfortable. Growth challenges.  Growth stretches the boundaries of possibility.

Craft isn't about comfortable.  It is about stretching further than you think you can go and finding if you can,  or if you have to simply remain for awhile.

There is no App for that.  There isn't even a well-weathered path.  It's yours.  Completely.  DO IT!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Hello Fall!

My favorite time of year!

Guess what?  You have CHOICES.  Yes, yes you do!

Quit whining or making excuses (also choices) and DECIDE TO DO SOMETHING!

What are you committed to?  An idea?  A possibility? Great - then DO SOMETHING!  The only way that idea or possibility happens into a tangible reality is if YOU do something to pursue it.

Are you simply dreaming?

Simply delusional?

Simply blaming others or the business?

Simply making excuses?

Simply obsessing or fixating?

Simply making yourself a victim?

You have a choice.  Simple. Make it.

You can choose to stay in bed, or get up and get to that audition call.

You can choose to stay with a teacher or coach that is not offering you what you need, or you can start finding people who can inspire you and lead you more fully.

You can be told you need more training in a certain area - and CHOOSE to ignore it, make excuses for it, or CHOOSE TO GO AFTER IT!

Stubborn is one thing;  resistant is another.

Often the reason is fear.  Fear of failure,  fear of the unknown,  plain old fear.  You can choose that too. You can choose to stay crippled and excuse-ridden by fear,  or choose to say "I am scared out of my mind and jumping in anyway!"

Create a blueprint.  Know it can be altered as needed.  That's the beauty of choice:  if one direction isn't working,  you can make another choice!

Know what you NEED to serve that blueprint.  Get the information to begin exploring the possibility of those choices.

Recognize the work and commitment needed for those choices.

Dare to remove the obstacles:  like the words "but" or "can't" or whatever else is your fallback excuse.

Don't try to do everything at once!  Take your time!!! (yes you have that - no matter what anybody says!)

Choose to focus.

Choose to discover what you have.

Choose to be real with what you need.

Choose to create a plan to allow you space to develop what you need.

Choose to release the people in life that do not respect your choices.

Choose to find the people who can respect your focus.

Choose to find the people who can be honest and real with you to achieve the goals that are realistic for you NOW.

Everything you do is a choice - and indeed, a consequence of that choice.  You are responsible for both.  If a choice doesn't give you a desired consequence,  learn why and make another choice!

Don't wait for someone else to make the choice for you - take the reins and GO!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Opinions, Criticisms and Trust

Sunday musings...

We've talk about the "team".  This includes your teacher, your coaches, your pianist et al.

The team of craft is crucial.  Sometimes that team overlaps into the team of business.  Sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes we forget that part of the equation and we leave ourselves open and vulnerable to everybody's opinion.

You know the saying...opinions are like assholes - everybody's got them!

Too many voices, too many opinions, too many criticisms on what you are doing, or fail to do, with your career and your business can completely distort your truth and cause self-doubt, confusion and stress.

So who do you trust?  Who do you listen to?

Perhaps it is even more simple.  I think every performer has to learn the art of discernment.  This is crucial as you wade through opinion, criticism, and make decisions.

However, discernment has to come into other aspects as well.  In our age of social media,  it is too easy to "share" openly about auditions, booking a show, being on hold for a role, being accepted into a program.  In and of itself,  the sharing isn't the issue:  it's the responses that can be.

Everybody has an opinion.  Your peers may throw a negative angle at you and make you second guess your decision.  This can come from their own experience,  their perspective, or their bias, or a simple jealousy or attitude that is conscious or unconscious.

Your "career/business" team is a crucial part of your journey.  Just as your truest and closest friends are a handful,  so must your team be. 

Friends may mean well,  but if they are in the business,  they bring their own bias, jadedness, concerns to the equation.   Having a "friend" or "peer" tell you NOT to do a project because the director is a jerk, or the music director hates so-and-so, or the stage manager has a drug problem isn't necessarily helpful.  Maybe this is true, or WAS true, or maybe that person's experience with said director/MD/SM/company is in some way skewed.

Obtain information in order to create an informed decision, but make it that: informed.  What works for some, doesn't work for others.  How one feels about a person or situation isn't necessarily another's view. 

Collect your data - discreetly and without emotion. 

Discuss it with the people in the business you have learned to TRUST!  Who do you call mentor?  Who do you value in the business to bounce this data and your sense of your career off of that will give you a healthy reflection and still allow you space to make your own decisions?

These are the people, or is the person, in whom you can trust to get an unbiased response.  If they are unbiased they will be able to give you pros and cons based on where you are and what you need to explore. 

Ultimately,  the questions are: does this enhance my career in some way or not?  If yes, how?  Does this enhance my reputation as a performer or not?  Why or why not?  Does it offer me a forward progression in my career?  How or how not?

Who offers you that in your world?  Who has the knowledge and looks out for the best for YOU intentionally? Who sees you clearly?  Who responds to you with the purest of intentions?  These are the few people you can begin to trust to give you feedback that is real and instead of giving you answers,  will ask you more questions to allow YOU to come to your conclusions.

Do not be so willing to accept everything everybody wants to tell you.  It's okay to keep the truth to yourself for a little while until you make a decision that you can be respected for!

Listen, discern, question, weigh possibilities, discuss with those you learn to trust. 

Then, guess what? It is YOUR career.  YOUR life.  YOUR decision.  If someone doesn't like it, tough.  I can disagree with your choice, but respect that you MADE ONE.  If you come to the conclusion that something works for you, or doesn't - make that conclusion YOURSELF.

Go get it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Classical Vocal Reprints

Where do you buy your music?

I would like to let you know (if you don't already) about Classical Vocal Reprints, owned and operated by Glendower Jones.

Glendower has built this company and offers personal service and incredible knowledge!  He is celebrating his 25th anniversary and I congratulate him!

I have ordered music from him over the years that no one else has.

He now carries the COMPLETE CATALOGS of Hal Leonard, Schott, Schirmer, Ricordi, Boosey & Hawkes and more.

This means, he carries opera scores, art song, music theatre anthologies, and MORE!

If you love personal service,  excellent customer service and want to support a business that still has knowledge, understanding and purpose in the business of voice then Glendower is your man!

Tell him I sent you and watch him find exactly what you need for a great price and in a timely manner.


Monday, September 3, 2012

The Last Day of Summer...

Labor/Labour Day musings...

This day represents the end of summer and the beginning of the fall season.

For those of us in the business of show - we begin the season!

Summer schedules turn to fall,  we begin to gear up again!

Someone asked me the other day what my advice would be to singers entering fall season.

I share with you my OWN advice and what I am continuing to discover.  This year, 2012, my family and I had a summer.  We continue to heal physically and emotionally and psychically from our car accident, but we are MOBILE!  We could enjoy the long days,  laugh,  not have more surgeries and ongoing doctors' and surgeons' appointments to schedule. I am not singing yet...YET.  It will come soon - but I am still dealing with physical issues that make it tough to support for any length of time. I have about 65% of my right hand - no Chopin YET - but I can fake it well enough to teach. (Have you noticed singers?!) I still have soft tissue swelling and spasms and PTSD that I am working on.  But I am alive!!!  I get great energy from my family, from the friends I love and from my students who give me HOPE and POSSIBILITY!  We were able to spend time with Erin (our daughter) and her boyfriend outside a trauma unit,  with my best friend Irena and her husband Ted - who have been mentors and friends and teachers always;  with students in Toronto in August for the first time since before the accident;  with my family out west in Canada - mom and siblings and nieces and nephews.

So, what can I look forward to this fall season and pass on to you?

My biggest teach-able learning is this:  How to be PRESENT in my life.

As working artists we are constantly chasing the next job.  Once we have a job,  we know it isn't going to be there forever, so we are constantly looking forward.  That is something we have to do for survival.

May I suggest to you that even though survival is CRUCIAL,  learning how to be PRESENT in our NOW is just as crucial.  Yes, but...

Yes, but...nothing.

Trust me on this.  PRESENT in the MOMENT is key to discovering your next.  If we are chasing our next so much we cannot BE where we are,  we cannot afford to express what we need to, as artists, as human beings, as performers.

I have learned that the PRESENT is all we have.  We can plan,we can stew, we can worry - and it doesn't change anything about NOW.  So what if we simply embrace NOW and do what we can NOW and live NOW in order to achieve our potential?

When I was in the trauma unit and then in the rehab hospital,  I had to release what I could not do.  It didn't help me to actually re-learn how to do anything.  I had to relinquish "I used to be able" and "I want to be able",  and say what do I DO NOW?

Once I was able to give myself permission to be where I was,  I began to learn again.  I learned how to walk differently,  how to bend my leg eventually. I learned how to hold a fork, how to write with my left hand, how to rejoice in the smallest things that gave me more ability!

"I want to be on Broadway".  "I want to sing at La Scala".  These are not PRESENT.  These create stress.  These create obstacles.

Where are you NOW? What can you do NOW?  What takes you from present to present?

Each step is so important.  EACH step.  No matter how big or how small, no matter how significant to the outside world,  if it is significant to YOU it allows you to rejoice in your present.

It might be worthwhile to explore what "being on Broadway" or "La Scala" or "the Met" means to you really.  Is it the actual PLACE or is a state of BEING?

Being is NOW.  Being is progression.  Being is success with each awareness and discovery.

I think I want to change to those places to this:

I want to be ME - in its fullest and most magnificent form.  Where I am ME is UP TO ME at each step of the journey.  My choice, my work, my journey.

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Don't Be Caught Ass Backwards!

Happy Wednesday!

My musings this week...

The "American Idol" mentality of "I can audition cause I want to" has bled into our business more than we may want to admit and acknowledge.  I see so many wannabe singers doing it ass backwards.

What do I mean?

TRUE singing actors have craft.  They have technique.  They are able to tell a story, create an authenticity on an instrument that can DO what is necessary to embrace style and move beyond technique.

Why oh why are you doing it ass backwards?!

Know the difference between wanting and DOING it.  Know the difference between a voice TEACHER and a voice COACH and a PERFORMANCE coach.

Know what order these levels of acumen happen and do it correctly.  A voice coach and a performance coach cannot teach you to use your instrument effectively if it is not built on a solid foundation of athletic physicality of technical behavior.

Every level of performance has a technical aspect - including the coaching of musical style, language, musicianship, acting and dramatic intention.  These technical aspects can be embodied only when the actual VOCAL INSTRUMENT has enough vocabulary -  physically, intellectually, psychically - to fully engage what your coaches are asking OF you.

Just because you think you want to perform, doesn't mean you start with performing.

We don't want to see your technique - so develop it to the point that you can rely on it in order to create the performance!

Dare yourself to know what you actually NEED.  Dare yourself to recognize what you need NOW.  How can you take a performance class if you can't breathe yet?  If you can't sing in tune?  If your voice - your actual INSTRUMENT doesn't know how to work at optimum,  if you don't have the knowledge and vocabulary to develop that technical physicality,  how can you then take a song or an audition cut to the next level of artistic integrity? And how are you going to manage to maintain an 8 show work week?  How will you get through?

Technical understanding, development and depth is ONGOING.  Every artist who truly creates on all levels - STUDIES.  Every artist develops more craft on every level throughout their careers.  It doesn't stop.  You are never "finished" - otherwise what are you working for?

Just cause you want it, doesn't make it so.  Just because you go to a performance coach doesn't mean you are ready to be there.  Just because you take your music to a coach doesn't mean you are able to realize what they are asking of you.  Who do you study voice with?  THAT is the first question.  If you don't have an answer, you better get one.  That technical behavior of instrument is the basis of all the musical and dramatic and artistic development you will want to pursue.

Technique is the path to artistic freedom.  When you have that technical behavior - you can become conscious of none. 

Don't be caught going ass backwards! It doesn't serve you.  It doesn't serve the craft you say you respect.  All it will do is leave you standing there suddenly looking around wondering why you are there by yourself making excuses and wondering why you haven't moved.

SMARTEN UP!  Get that vocal technique IN GEAR! Do you need your coaches? Yes!  But you cannot develop what they can offer you if you don't have a technical balance FIRST and ONGOING.

Liken it to deciding to run a marathon:  If someone said "I think I will run a marathon",  how would you answer?  "So how are you training for it?"  If they answered "oh I think if I just stretch for a few days, I think I can do it" - you would look at them like they had lost their minds and move away quietly and thoroughly!!

Get it?


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Will you be the one and only?

Sunday evening musings...

We often complain that the business wants to put us in a box, in a type, in a fach, in a category and we are constantly fighting against that.

However, what are we actually DOING about it?

One of my singers wrote in her blog this week about the difference between being "the best" and being the first and only "you".

That resonated with me.  We are all not "the best";  those artists that have created their own "type" that others compare to are their first and only.  No matter what you do, you will never be them.  You will always be a "type" and never quite be enough.

So, does one DARE quit complaining and actually defy box/type/category and work to be the one and only SELF? The one and only YOU?

Daunting a little isn't it? 

You can't enter a room with "I am a Bernadette Peters type"  or "I am a baby spinto soubrette heldendramatic lyric coloratura"(!!!).   You have to look in the mirror and ask "Who am I?"

Instead of trying to fit a mold that you simply cannot and will not fit,  what happens if you try to create your own?  Why not be the first?

When you read that, how do you react?  The reaction will speak volumes.  Does it liberate you? Does it allow you to breathe?  Does it give you pause and then make you smile?  Does it give you energy and motivation?

Or does it make your breath catch?  Are there excuses or "yeah, but..." immediately ready? 

Ah my dear snowflakes (thank you Lewis Black),  time to sit still and look in the mirror.

We all can't be the best.  Whatever that actually means.  There is always going to be someone who does it better.  If we continue to compare,  we will always fall short.  Always.  Not to mention,  we will always be looking over to see how we measure up and lose the focus, stumble, fall, get confused et al.

Let others measure or compare.  That is what they do or how they calculate. 

You simply cannot.  Your job is to become your one and only.  Your first. The first and the best YOU.  You cannot do that with excuses, with compensations, with delusions, with excuses.  You will never be the best,  and never find out what is the first/best you.

So,  are you ready to create more obstacles and blame it elsewhere, or are you ready to sit down or stand in front of that mirror and see what makes YOU your one and only?  What makes you the FIRST?

Will the business pay attention to a "first"?  Why not dare to work at it and see?

Time to discover,  time to develop,  time to be open to explore,  and time to CLAIM THE FIRST!  THE ONLY!  THE YOU!  You don't need to be a cookie cutter replica.  That is a decision you need to make. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review in the Journal of Singing

What a lovely way to start the day!
I was sent the following link - the blog had made "The Fifty Best Blogs for Opera Singers"

Even more, Gregory Berg has written an article about that link in the Journal of Singing!

I thank you so much for your readership and support!

Here's the link to the article by Gregory Berg - and within it is the link to the 50 Best Blogs! I am in great company!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The beauty of cream...

I am now in the summer of my 27th year of is that possible?!
Granted, I wasn't teaching full time throughout, but have always maintained a teaching studio during those 27 years in some form or other.

Now,  this is my primary focus.  It has become clearer and clearer to me that teaching is my first best destiny.  I will sing when I can (not able to perform yet due to our accident just over a year ago) but I will concentrate on what it is I believe I can truly do FIRST.

As I see the singers, the artists, the performers, the dreamers,  the delusional (!) come through my studio and watch them on stage - as well as the colleagues and peers and mentors I admire and learn from - I see cream.

The saying is "cream always rises to the top".  It is true.  What is interesting is, what is "the top"?

What I am truly recognizing is that "the top" doesn't have to be an "A" house, or Broadway, or a creation of "arrival" or "I've made it". 

Cream rises and is obvious WHEREVER it is.

The lack of knowledge and integrity frankly, ASSUMES that if you aren't singing at a certain house, with a certain conductor,  in a certain production,  you simply aren't good enough.

SO wrong.  Period.

Cream rises to the top in community productions, semi-professional productions, off off Broadway, in the middle of nowhere, Fringe church basement theatres right up and through the so-called bright lights of Broadway and The Met and La Scala. 

What isn't cream exists in all those places too by the way.  Just because you are on Broadway or at The Met doesn't make you cream.  And, just because you have decided to work only with smaller companies, or do semi-professional work, doesn't make you NOT cream.

Cream rises because it DOES.  Where it chooses to reveal itself and develop from has everything to do with the artist - and I DO say artist.  Real cream rises, because there is an artist breathing and living their craft.  Where they choose to do that,  and where the business chooses to welcome them is always an interesting dance.

Some choose to simply work locally.  They do not desire to pursue a career outside of their town.  They can still rise to the top in their own environment.  It's not a shame. It's a choice.  If they are happy and content,  then that's enough. 

Some are simply met with roadblocks - in life, in the business.  They are cream,  they rise, and they are ignored.  Either the business makes a place for you, or you make a place for yourself.  Wherever you land, you still rise.  Unfair?  Who said it was fair?!

"You should be singing...." fill in the rest.  Says who?  Why?  What makes where you sing more important that WHY?  More important than WHO you are?  WHAT you are about?

The business of theatre is full of mediocre - often times, trying not to be found out.  However, even in the mire of lowest common denominator,  the cream still rises.  It simply cannot be stirred into the melting pot of what makes people comfortable or what doesn't feel threatening.

Cream rises, and it is embraced or often, dismissed.  Some pretend it simply isn't there.  Some don't want to acknowledge its existence at worst, or at best, want to try to marginalize it.

One thing is certain,  real cream - the good stuff - will always reveal itself.  WHERE it reveals itself starts with the self-realization it is there at all.

There is a hierarchy.  It doesn't mean only the cream gets the prize, or only the cream works.  The business reveals that daily, just look around!  However,  the hierarchy by definition, reveals itself in the DOING.  The status, the ability and the action of that allows the cream to be realized and nurtured, or realized and ignored.

Regardless,  cream is cream.  There is no denying it.  You can pretend it isn't cream, but it's cream.  It rises, and it's GOOD.  It is TRUE.  It exposes what's not and it is separate from what it is not. 

You can be singing/performing/discovering anywhere.  The place is not the issue.  The reason WHY is the issue.  The decision WHY is the reality.  Cream or not.

In 27 years of teaching,  cream is rare.  I see it coming, even in its rawest form! I have seen it on stages worldwide,  and in small black box theatres and cabaret houses, high school auditoriums and on church platforms.  If we acknowledge it, nurture it,  it makes ALL of us rise to the height of what we can do and claim to do.  Cream doesn't have to be threatening.  It should be challenging!!

We don't all have to be cream, because we are not.  That doesn't mean we don't have a role to play,  and don't have a journey to explore to find our best selves and truest selves.  Just release assumption,  and discover and acknowledge and grow!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Just a shameless promotion post!

I will be returning to teach in TORONTO in AUGUST

I will be available for private sessions and 2 workshops if there is interest AUGUST 20 - 22

Workshops offered are:

prepare two 32 cuts contrasting to perform
we work on presentation, style, technical behavior as it relates to style,  physical dramatic intention, attire, type

prepare ONE full aria to perform
we work on taking the room,  choosing that first aria, acting for the audition in a formal environment, attire,

Private sessions will address YOUR needs - technically and in repertoire.  Classical and theatre singers welcome!

Email me for more information and fees:

back to the blog!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


happy Sunday - and happy PRIDE!

Ambition.  What is is?  Why?  Who has a say about it?  Who defines it?  What do you do with it?

A dictionary definition is this:
  1. A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.
  2. Desire and determination to achieve success.
Who has the right to determine YOUR ambition?  How is it measured?

I have seen many singers who have incredible talent,  natural ability,  but simply very little ambition.  I have also seen many singers with HUGE ambition and very ordinary talent.

Having a strong desire to achieve,  and a determination to follow through and claim success is not a "set in stone"  "one size fits all"  endeavor.

Each of us is responsible for ourselves.  No one has the right nor the responsibility to value judge a performer's ambition.  An artist's journey is their own.  We meet others along the way that help to facilitate the next,  give direction,  give pause, but ultimately the journey is OUR OWN.

If we remember this,  we begin to claim our own ability, our own desire and ambition as to how we hone that ability,  claim the craft, claim the responsibility to SELF and to no one else.  We  begin to see the red flags immediately and the ports of calm that offer us encouragement and fulfillment.

Who am I to determine YOUR ambition?  Ambition is personal and it manifests itself in so many different ways.  The result of ambition doesn't have to be a tangible achievement that someone else approves of!!  Often, an artist discovering the truth of self begins with huge dreams. Then the artist begins to discover the reality of WHO they are,  and that fabric stretches to reveal more tangible and specific knowledge, and therefore more fitting to craft, self, evolution of the complete artist.  The fabric can then determine a more realistic and clearer focus on where that artist is best served, and where they will be most comfortable.  New dreams, new pursuits and new discoveries emerge!  More achievable possibilities and perhaps your best destiny begins to reveal itself. 

YOUR ambition allows you to SEE these changes and evolutions in your being,  and it allows you to journey toward claiming it.

The red flags are simply people feeling they have the right to accuse you of not having enough ambition,  of being overly ambitious, and the like.

No one lives your life but you.  No one has your talent, your ability, your discovery but YOU.  What you do with that is completely up to you.  How you develop it is completely up to you.  If you choose to develop it is up to you!  Nobody can tell you what your ambition will achieve.  Only your will and determination to discover does that. 

Ambition leads.  It does not follow.  Where it leads can change.  How it leads can change.  It morphs in its tangibles but the essence of it remains steadfast. 

The intensity of ambition is different in each of us;  it reveals in different ways;  it is not black or white.  Determining a strong sense of self is key to acknowledging how ambition affects us professionally, personally and spiritually.  Ambition doesn't just show up in one aspect of our lives!  It is there in some way shape or form everywhere.  It doesn't need to be the same as someone else. It doesn't have to answer to someone else. 

Developing as an artist, and being in the business has many many MANY implications and paths.  No one has the right to tell you otherwise.  There is no "right" way.  There is no "right" formula.  There is no "right" amount of ambition to achieve success.

What is success anyway?  Again,  ambition determines success.  YOU determine YOUR successes.  They do not have to do with someone's decision for you. 

Your ambition.
Your work.
Your choices.
Your successes.

Leave those that throw up the red flags to their own issues.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Year in the Life...

Greetings all! 

Today marks a one year anniversary for my husband and me.  June 20, 2011 we were a near fatal horrific car accident.  We celebrate today a year of recovery.  We still have a long way to go, but we are on our way.

I wanted to blog today - and wondered how this year of my life could benefit you in some way.  What have I learned that I could offer you?

My life is forever changed.  Trauma does that.  I am establishing a new normal,  on every level of consciousness.  What have I learned that could translate to pursuit of singing/acting?  of life on the stage?

We are not islands.  We do have people who truly want to help and CAN help in our lives and our development.  Recognizing who you need,  and who you do NOT is a great start to acknowledging WHAT you need and when you need it.

Wherever you are,  BE THERE.  If you wish away the moment,  you simply cannot experience it - good, bad or indifferent.  Learning to be PRESENT in your life, in your discoveries, in your studies, in your development  allows you to take each moment as it presents itself.  It allows you to breathe.  It takes away the easy default to project and create obstacles that simply don't need to be there.

Do not talk yourself out of something before you examine it fully.

Do not accept things without asking "why?"

Trust is earned.  Vulnerability is not lack of strength or courage.

Courage is feeling the fear, the insecurity, the vulnerability and doing it anyway.

Truth reveals itself in the most interesting places.  Stay focused, but dare to keep your peripheral vision intact.

Work for more!  Demand more from yourself.  Push your limits to find your boundaries.  Accept those boundaries. 

When you are tired - sit down!  Take a step back and rest.  Take in the view.

Learn to laugh at yourself. 

Allow the tears to cleanse you.

Find YOUR honesty.  See and accept what you can and cannot do RIGHT NOW.  Release what you cannot do - yet.  Hone the skill and craft of what is possible NOW. 

Don't overwhelm yourself with the things that are out of your control.  Know what you CAN control and release the rest.

Ask for help.

Thank those that offer honest help.

Do not think TWICE about walking away from those that want to abuse you/use you/use your situation for their gain/are vampiric/make you uncomfortable in any way.  You do not owe them ANY explanations.  YOU create the boundaries that you will live with.

SING just to SING!

Enjoy the little things.  Enjoy your now.  Imagine what a year will bring!

Here's to the next!!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Susan Eichhorn Voice Studio has a new location!

I am thrilled to now be into my second month in my NEW LOCATION!

The Voice Studio is now "housed" at:

49 W24 floor 4


The administration at Singers Forum is fantastic and have welcomed me, and welcomed my singers with open arms!

Check them out for practice facilities, or theatre space, as well as classes of all kinds!

Great to be in a fantastic space with great colleagues and great acoustics and great pianos!

New blog entries coming SOON!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What's the secret?

I am often asked "what are some tricks", "what is the secret to getting noticed" - as if being in the business has some angle or magic formula that will allow you to get to the front of the line.

The secret is:  there isn't one.

How do you get into the room?  How are you noticed? How are you asked back?

The secret is:  you.

YOUR talent, YOUR ability, YOUR preparation, YOUR knowledge, YOUR ability to listen, YOUR ability to follow instructions, YOUR ability to take direction, YOU.

Is that simple?  yes, and no.

What I hear time and time again, is the inability or disregard for instructions.

How hard is it to follow instructions?  This speaks volumes about you and how you process basic information.  Over 50% of those trying to be in the business, simply do not follow instructions. 

Can you take direction?  Are you pliable?  If you actually get into the room and are given direction, can you take it and do something with it?  Defensiveness has no place in a direction-oriented space. 

Can you focus on YOUR process and quit side-eyeing "the competition"?  Can you quit comparing yourself to what you see and hear and wonder long enough to focus on what YOU have to do to be there?

These three simple questions can make the difference!  These three simple tasks - follow instruction, take direction, focus on YOUR process - will allow you the possibility to get into the room, to get to the front of the line, to be heard, seen and felt. 

As artists, all we want is to be heard, seen and felt.  We want our work to be relevant and acknowledged.  And, as an artist pursing the business of show, a job would be great!

So, take the secret of you,  do the work,  compare yourself only to your previous self/to your previous audition/to your previous discovery,  pay attention,  be as prepared as you can be and walk in to reveal what you DO.

There is nothing worse than getting an opportunity when you aren't prepared to take it.  Or worse, don't know you had it in the first place.

Which 50% are you in?  It's really a choice.  If you start with an excuse,  you aren't ready yet.  If you KNOW what to do, why aren't you doing it?

Move forward. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What is Potential?

Sunday musings...

The word "potential" has come up numerous times this week.  What does it mean for a developing artist? Is it a positive word?  Is it a bad word?

The definition of potential is to have or show the capacity to develop something in the future.

So, what are you doing about it?

Often,  singers create goals that are not immediate.  While a dream is great, it can create murky waters, frustration, disillusion and sometimes delusion in the now.

I believe we all have potential.  However, potential means nothing if you do not develop it.  What that potential can lead to, if developed, is the mystery.  It is also the possibility. 

If you believe you have potential,  if someone has told you that you have potential,  it can be wasted if not developed as thoroughly as it appears.  Potential is latent.  The power of it only exists if you choose to develop it.

Potential can be a dirty word if it doesn't realize itself.  It can only realize itself as craft, as realized artistry if YOU decide to develop it. 

Potential is one of the only things we have potentially that we can control.  You can decide to sit on it and never see where it goes - and that is no one's fault but yours; or you can decide to grab that potential and work to develop it and see what emerges.  Ultimately, it is your choice.

Developing your potential is not limited to your resources but it is DECIDED by your imagination and your ability to follow through.

It is YOUR decision to decide and follow through with study, development, a determination to realize and see yourself honestly,  to surround yourself with professionals who will guide you, and give you sound and honest advice and direction,  to see yourself in development and compare yourself only to your previous self,  to stay focused,  to not be blinded by quick fixes, tricks or other mind games,  and any other blind-siding issues.

Potential simply gives you the starting point.  Potential is not something to achieve, but rather a simple place of departure.  Whatever the potential we have been given, it is up to us to then develop it to whatever level it allows.  A potential artist can only become a realized artist with a clarity of purpose and development of skill and craft. 

Potential in motion allows for possibility.  Potential is stagnant and will wither and disappear if it is never allowed to breathe and grow.

So,  instead of saying "I have potential",  perhaps you begin with "How do I develop this potential TODAY?"  One step at a time, one breath at a time, and each step and each breath will develop the momentum to realization.

That choice is yours.  You claim it, or you lose it.  You are responsible - you and only you.

Wouldn't it be more rewarding to be told you are REALIZING your potential than simply having some? 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The fine line between Doubt and Delusion

Sunday musings...

Both Doubt and Delusion have walked into my studio.  It's an interesting experience.

What creates it?  How do we move through it?

I have addressed both in some form in prior blogs, but it bears repeating.

There is such difference between being an artist and being an artist making a living as a performer.  There is also a huge difference between the artistic soul and the performer.  Some are both, some are one or the other, and some are neither.  Some perform in the business and simply have a limited amounted of talent and a whole lot of confidence or savvy.  Some continue to struggle to find a better self,  to discover self,  and others bounce, oblivious to others, into the audition space.

As artists,  we have by nature,  a huge capacity for self-doubt.  We are constantly STRIVING for more.  Are we good enough?  Are we studied enough?  What else do we need?  Should we be here? Or somewhere else?  Often,  our self-doubt can carry us past the positive places of self-assurance and action to dark corners that simply constrict us and mute us entirely. 

The delusion happens as a self protection I suppose.  It is a way of hiding in plain sight.  Others see it, but we must protect ourselves from seeing it fully.

The psychology of the artist and the person who wants to be in our business - delusional or not! - is a complex and multi-faceted labyrinth.

We all have doubts.  If you don't,  that's when the delusion kicks in.  We may not expose our doubts to the world,  but when we are alone and honest,  or in a safe place to explore,   those doubts are acknowledged.  I think that's more important than anything.  We can recognize where we are in our development,  and give "Doubt" a name and a place in our lives.  It can be turned into a positive actually:  It allows you to delve more thoroughly into your work and to seek MORE.  It cannot bind you into believing you cannot.  It simply allows you to see further than you are. 

Can I do this?
Am I prepared?
Am I enough?
Am I good enough?

My answer to you is another question: for what?

What do you NEED to "do this"?  What do you NEED to be "prepared"?  What is ENOUGH, what is GOOD ENOUGH for the task at hand?  If you aren't, then you work to be.  If you recognize that.  If you have the people around you that you can trust to help you find that.

These questions and additional questions will allow you to be slightly more objective with yourself.  Always a difficult task as an artist who continues to seek.  Recognize in the seeking,  we do discover more truth.  In acknowledging those truths,  we answer those questions, or simply find new questions!

It is okay to answer YES!!! to those questions if the truth is realized and embodied.

Then, there is the delusion.  Simply put,  it's answering YES! before the question is asked. It is a dismissal of possibility and a psychological ability to create an illusion before any questions have a chance to penetrate.  Many "delusionists" simply never follow through.  They talk the talk but don't walk it.  They create a persona they feel is armour yet, never truly inhabit it.  They continually catch themselves in a web of double-talk and "look over here" to the point that they believe it too.  They want to "TALK" then never actually want to "DO".

If you are an artist,  allow your doubt to simply challenge you to find more of yourself.  Do not let that doubt paralyze you into believing you cannot.  Let it be a jumping off place to discover, explore and never settle. 

If you are delusional,  you won't recognize yourself at all here.  How ironic huh? The delusional have carefully cocooned themselves into a place of no discovery.  It takes carefully peeling layer by layer to move from delusional to actually seeing truth.  Can it be done?  Perhaps.  I don't have that degree!

Fear can do strange things.  Doubt can motivate you to find more and know where you are.  Delusion simply leaves you precisely where you are with no need to go further. 

If you want to sing, to act, to dance - then DO IT!  Keep learning, keep studying, keep seeking.  If you don't think you have to continue to grow - and sometimes learn to breathe in where you are to grow - then try taking off the armour. "What armour" you say? ah.....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

what are the realistic stats? To college grads and more!

Sunday musings...

Many who read this blog are music theatre majors or voice majors in colleges and universities.  I hope some of this information has been and continues to be useful to you. 

Many of you are getting ready to graduate from your programs and your expectations are high. 

I have many young singers in my studio, who have moved to NYC hoping to get seen at an audition and get on with a life in theatre.  The reality of NYC and discovering your life in theatre can be a wake up call unlike no other.

I see too many young performers being taken advantage of,  getting discouraged too quickly,  expecting too much,  and simply not having the information they need for realistic goals.

You are entering a profession where,  according to the union stats, about 95% of members are unemployed at any given time. 

The average age on Broadway is 39.  So "I have to book a Broadway show by 24 or  I might as well do something else"  is rather ridiculous isn't it?

Only 1 in 11,000 performers books a Broadway show. 

I am not giving you these daunting statistics to scare you.  Or discourage you.  I am trying to give you a reality check,  so that after you move to NYC as a newly graduated MT creature,  you aren't beating yourself up because you are exhausted, barely making your rent, sleeping on an air mattress with 5 room mates and wonder what you did wrong.

So how you pursue your dream and survive?

A realistic view of what IS demands scrutiny and determination and HONESTY.  Everybody travels their own path.  Comparing isn't fair to you or the person you are looking at. 

First you have to live.  You have to make rent.  You have to live in the chaos of NYC (if that's what you choose).  Figure THAT out. 

What does your CRAFT need?  What does the business expect of you?  Are you willing and able to invest in that?  It doesn't matter if you can get up at 530 a.m. to stand in a NonEq line for an audition if you can't sing, can't act, can't dance.  Are you meeting the demands of your vocation?  Do you know what an NYC theatre audition entails?  Are you truly prepared in order to be noticed?

Honestly,  most are not.  This takes time,  seasoning, experience,  study, and more study.  Even if you have a degree,  you are a young performer who simply needs TIME, and STUDY, and KNOWLEDGE.  Invest in that.  Invest in the reality of you. 

The dream begins to clarify as you discover the truth.  Perhaps you come to NYC thinking you will take the City by storm, or that you are good enough to audition and get a job immediately.  Some can and do.  Most do not.  Perhaps you have the talent,  simply not the time and gestation yet. Perhaps your lack of auditioning needs more technique and seasoning.  Perhaps your craft needs further development in order to compete in this highly competitive business. 

As you begin to see where you are,  who you are and why you are, your dreams will begin to find a reality that will allow you to pursue them with more honesty, more clarity and more definition.

Explore all your possibilities.  Know your strengths and develop them.  Find the people and the classes that will expose you to what you COULD do and where you could do it.  Ask questions.  Never assume.  Understand that 22 straight out of undergrad is barely baked - and in fact, still doughy as a performer and artist.  YOU HAVE TIME.  YOU NEED TIME.  So take it. You won't be behind. Focus on your own path, the reality of the life you have chosen and be smart, realistic and true to yourself.  It's not a race.  Nobody wins that one. 

The journey is yours, and yours alone.

 Your truth is responsibility to your craft,  figuring out what you want to pursue and be the best YOU in order to pursue it.  Then, and only then,  might you grab the brass ring.

 If you get that ring, it won't be a fluke: you will have EARNED it. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What about the Follow up?

Wednesday musings...

I'm a big fan of the follow up.  I've had a great deal of questions regarding how to do it, when to do it,  why to do it,  lately.  Perhaps I can give you some ideas.

What is "the follow up"?

Simply,  touching base with someone how has given you an opportunity to thank them for it.  

If you have a chance to sing for a master class or workshop;  take a lesson or consultation with someone; take a series of classes with someone;  audition for someone;  even have a chance to audition and have a conflict!;  a meeting with a director, or an MD, or an agent, or CD;

 ANY opportunity you might acquire in the business should be acknowledged.

The 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon in our business is actually less than 6 degrees.  The follow up can give you a professionalism that is undeniable and will filter through, trust me.

I STILL follow up: with colleagues, people in the business that I work with for the first time, meeting someone and having an exchange at a function and exchange of business cards, consultations, invitations to lecture or give workshops.  ALL of these contacts are important and deserve your attention.

When do you do this?  Soon.  I mean, don't stalk the person, but an email or postcard or note in the mail - whatever your part of the business deems appropriate,  within the week of a lesson or workshop, or the end of a series of classes, or an audition, or at a networking event is fine.

What do you say?  It depends on the meeting.  A simple thank you for the kind words or encouragement or whatever happened at said event and hope you are able to sing for/audition for/work with that person again.  If you discussed anything more - like repertoire, or another meeting, or an opportunity to send in your materials if it's a CD or agent - make sure you mention that.

If you are sending an email - which is probably the easiest way to communicate - send links to your website (yes you need a site) or your YouTube channel,  resume and head shot.  Don't send tons of attachments and clog up their inbox!  Links are MUCH better.

If you are thanking industry for coming to a performance, or inviting them to a performance, postcards are appropriate.  E-invite postcards are also appropriate.

If industry has made an effort to be at a performance - make an effort to acknowledge it.  It's YOUR business to be aware and follow up.

If you submit for a project and get an audition - FOLLOW UP.  Acknowledge receipt of said audition.  If you have a conflict, or decide you are not right for it,  still ACKNOWLEDGE IT.  Thank them for the opportunity but you have a conflict/unable to commit to the audition or project at this time.   You do not want to become known for the actor/singer who never follows up.  Trust me, we find out!  And maybe that company will be doing something AMAZING you are perfect for one day, and if you never followed up in previous submissions,  they might not want to be bothered with YOU.

Don't be a nuisance.  A follow up and leave it be.  We all keep files.  Even if you don't hear back you MAY at some point.  You don't want to start a Monty Python skit of "thank you; no thank YOU; no thank YOU for thanking ME" scenario.  Nor do want to begin to look like you are stalking every 2 weeks with "why haven't you gotten back to me yet" desperation!!

Keep things simple.  Keep them real.  No desperation.  No jazz hands.  Just be real.  It's simply enough. 

Don't let too much time go by so you aren't lost in the shuffle.  You don't want to be the "hi remember me? I sang for you at an audition last July" person.  If you get in touch within a week or two,  that keeps your name in focus.

Updating industry on what you are doing every few months if you have spoken to them through a workshop directly, or a series of classes,  or about representation isn't a bad thing either.  Letting them know you are DOING things, and continuing to pursue this crazy life keeps your name in focus too.

Ultimately,  it is common sense.  We need to develop that - common sense.  Thank people for giving you their time, attention and expertise.  Follow up on possible meetings, auditions, jobs!  Don't hesitate to simply say "thank you"!

If you want to be remembered, you have to make it so.  Be remembered for your work and your follow up.  Taking the time to email someone means more than you realize.  It puts positive check marks after your name.  Taking the time to CANCEL an appointment,  or acknowledge an audition time, or make changes puts you in the positive column.  Doing nothing does nothing - for you or your career.

Don't panic if you don't get an answer.  People are busy.  Be sincere,  be real, hit send and get on with it.

Follow up?  Yes, definitely.  EVERY time.