Friday, December 27, 2013

The New Year Letter to Self

Friday evening musings...

I can't believe we have come to the final few days of 2013.  The year has flown by.  It is ridiculous what "time" does and how/where it goes!

I dislike "resolutions" - they have done nothing for me.  I prefer to reflect on the year,  and see what was DONE,  not what wasn't.  We are all great at beating ourselves up,  I am no exception.  Learning to embrace what we have accomplished is the best way to release the old year, and greet the new!  What we have accomplished,  or even moved closer to, on any and all levels of consciousness,  is worth celebration and worth inner discussion and evolution of spirit.

Maybe you didn't book the show you wanted this past year.  Dwelling on it means you are still THERE.  No one else is.  You are all by yourself,  re-living something that only exists in your mind.  It prevents you from celebrating what you DID do.  Claiming what you DID do, allows you to then see how that prepares you for what you WANT to do,  and what you NEED to do in order to claim that next step!

I love lists.  It gives my thoughts a physical awareness.  In many ways,  this blog has become that for me.  It codifies my ideas and thoughts in this particular theatre.

So perhaps making a list,  or writing a letter to yourself to acknowledge and celebrate what you have done this year is in order. 

Do not write about what you DID NOT do.  Write about what you DID do,  and what it represents to you,  and how it will lead you into a new year full of possibility.

I can write down things negatively without ANY problem - I didn't get the book done,  I didn't lose the weight I wanted,  I didn't sing publicly enough,  I didn't, I didn't...

So,  let me share with you the "lists" in my letter to self:

1.  What did I do for my career life?  NO NEGATIVES!!!!  what changed you?  what poses itself to work for change?  Name 5 things. 

2.  What did I do for my artistic life?  NO NEGATIVES!!!! sometimes these will overlap with career.
Name 5 things.

3.  What did I do for self-care?  NO NEGATIVES!!!!  Name 5 things.

4.  What did I do for/with my family?  NO NEGATIVES!!!!  Name 5 things.

5.  What did I do for/with my friends?  NO NEGATIVES!!!! Name 5 things.

6.  What did I do for my spirit and mental well-being?  (that can overlap with self-care/family/friends) NO NEGATIVES!!!! Name 5 things.

Now - how do THESE MANY accomplishments and growths allow you to move into the New Year with a renewed sense of self and purpose?  Where could they lead?  What do they arm you with?  What do you they create for you? 

And guess who accomplished them? YOU DID.

Congratulations!  You deserve it.  You deserve to dream, to wonder,  to wander,  to grow,  to explore, to feel,  and to strive toward what you are drawn to explore! 

Onward, forward, bringing the knowledge you have gained with you and releasing all things that hold you back.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Solstice!

Today is Winter Solstice...

In the northern hemisphere it is the shortest day of the year.

I remember this day vividly as one of my Dad's favorite holidays.

Today I was able to spend time with Nelson Garzon - the angel I recently blogged about and so many of you were so generous to donate toward his condition,  hemangioma.  His was more advanced,  and began growing again in his late teens,  threatening to take his eyesight and his mouth.  He was able to find surgeons to begin laser surgery to stop it from spreading,  and from growing.  It is working!  Success has begun!

Nelson is a writer and poet - and is writing his memoirs of his experiences in America,  getting treatment for this condition,  and the people he meets.  He hopes he will meet a publisher who would be willing to publish it.  I would think a Spanish publishing company that could translate into English would be ideal.

I will keep accepting donations on Nelson's behalf

If you are able to donate $10 or more,  and leave a message via paypal with your mailing address, I will send you a copy of my CD  "Taking My Turn" as my thanks for your donation!

I think that having an opportunity to share your gifts with Nelson today,  on this Solstice, is so fitting and special.

Solstice allows for stillness,  for reflection,  for anticipation of the birth of new possibilities...

I wish you nothing but wonderful possibilities,  an opportunity to discover the stillness to reflect on your achievements,  and the chance to explore more of what you dream of,  pursue and work toward.

Work,  dream,  discover,  share,  love, laugh,  SING!!!!

Happy Solstice!!!  Imagine,  have courage,  and DO IT!

Nelson and me!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Beginnings and the Endings

Sunday morning musings over a big mug of coffee...

After a storm,  I think what I enjoy the most is the stillness.  Nobody seems to be in a huge rush.  There is no need really.

I was thinking about the anticipation of new projects and then the closing of the show.  Both are major events in our lives as performers and artists. 

We prepare incredibly (or should be!) for a new project.  There is a wind-up process that we create - physically, emotionally, mentally - how we prepare and take on that project.

So often,  we are not prepared to take on the ending with the same understanding.

Post-show blues is very common for us.  In fact,  I don't know ANY performer who doesn't feel some melancholy when a gig is over, or a show closes.  We can feel it on all levels on consciousness - physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually.

Is there something wrong?  No.  It's part of releasing that creative energy.  Allowing oneself to feel and sense that fatigue/blues/sadness/emptiness is an important step to understanding the full process of the arc of a project and your part in that.

A project and/or gig can be like a perfect storm.  And then,  after the storm,  the stillness.  Often we, as performers,  want to fill that stillness with more stuff - to keep busy, to keep pushing, to keep doing...

Perhaps the idea of being still is how our psyches allow for ending well.  Perhaps being still gives us that reflective time,  that time to feel melancholy,  to see the arc from the other side,  to give time to discover "closure" before we move past it.

Perhaps feeling blue isn't a bad thing at all.  It allows for so much of who we are and what we do to settle,  re-focus and become a part of what we take to the next.  The ending fills and fulfills the action of the doing.  It needs time and stillness to permeate.  It needs reflection.  It needs rest.

As I have learned in so many ways over the last couple of years,  the body and the soul will always let you know what they need.  You simply have to be aware or they will slam you with it if you aren't paying attention.

The arc of an artist's project  reveals his/her process and it has a beginning,  middle and end.  That ending must be acknowledged in order for you to step back and see the larger picture.

So at this time of year,  when storms are inevitable for those of us who live in the north - and if we look to the celebration of the Winter Solstice  and any religious or spiritual celebration  - it is a time of year to be still.  To wonder.  To reflect.  To allow us to feel,  to hibernate,  to recognize,  and simply give ourselves permission to not run and jump to the next, but rather to focus and assess and be where we are.

The beginning is exciting - full of possibilities.  The ending is melancholy perhaps,  but it is satisfaction,  gratefulness,  contentment.  Allowing oneself to take in the ending,  is as important as choosing a beginning.

Happy stillness.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Angels in our midst...

We all have our guardian angels,  or those people who give us perspective,  magic and simply give us hope.

In the spirit of the holiday season,  I want to share someone with you.

His name is Nelson Garzon.

Every Saturday he stands til 4 p.m. at the corner of 24th and 6th holding his sign with quiet dignity "Donations Gratefully Accepted" and talks about the physical disease he has. His name is Nelson Garzon. The condition is called Hemangioma: a benign self-involuting tumor (swelling or growth) of endothelial cells, the cells that line blood vessels. This happens at birth and often resolves itself by age 10. In Nelson Garzon's case, it did not. He has come to NYC from Colombia to get laser treatment. He has a surgeon, and I have had the privilege to see how the surgeries are making such a difference. He is one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. He accepts any donation, asks for nothing. He has cards made up to offer to people if they choose to stop and offer him a donation or simply to talk. This is what they say:

Life is an Act of Courage!

Feeling life with its suffering is weakness; inspiring life is strength. The flower is the most symbolic visible form of that life is: Beautiful, Fragile, Ephemeral...Enjoy it! We are an instant that disappears in time; there is nothing to hide; and nothing to lose. Life is suffering becuase of its form; It is beauty becuase of its nature; and a mystery becuase of it its miracle. We have a mind so narrow that we evoke with more strength, a more insignificant offense than hundreds of received benefits. Enjoy a boy's smile and console an old person's tears. Ugliness is like the herb, beauty is like the flower, it one dries up the other withers. In essence they are the same thing.

"I Appreciate all the support that you can offer me" - Nelson Garzon

Meeting him changed my life. He is so full of courage and love and light. Today was cold, so I brought him a coffee. You would have thought I had offered him the moon.

And so, at this holiday season, I want to help him even more. I have set up an email account/paypal to accept donations on his behalf. ALL monies donated will be given to him directly. If you trust me, and can spare $1.00 would you donate it to Nelson? He has come to a new country, learning English, and has the courage to pursue what he needs. He is an example of the true human spirit. If you can, just "gift money" to :

I will make sure ALL of your donations get to him as early as NEXT Saturday when I know he will be at 24th & 6th again. His next surgery is scheduled for February.

Thank you. I have never had someone move me like this before. 

I have never asked for this before.
 He could be an angel...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Vocal Tricks!

Sunday musings...

got your attention?

What are these "vocal tricks"?

Here is the secret....

There are none.

There is nothing that is a trick, or a tip to solid technique and healthy singing.  NOTHING. NADA.

Good technique is something that can be summoned AT WILL. 

A trick is a fluke and cannot be replicated nor integrated into an ongoing development of technical behavior.

So what does this mean?

It means,  vocal reality is about study,  tenacity,  understanding, recognizing,  figuring it out,  and dedication to find the full capacity of your own personal vocal instrument.

We have all been in that moment (or longer than a moment) of "god I hope it works",  or using an unhealthy way of getting through something vocally.  Many of us have faked our technique from time to time.  I am guilty too.  However,  the prayer, the scream,  the push, the "trick" may or may not work in the moment.  It is not reliable.  It is not behavior.  It is fickle.  It will let you down if you decide to put your faith in it.

True technique takes time.  It takes an honesty about where you are,  not where you think you are.  It takes a focus,  takes a work ethic,  takes a certain mentality to find what you need,  what you have to work with,  and the clarity to create a behavior that allows your voice, YOUR voice to emerge.

My philosophy is simple:  I believe the voice itself is always fine.  Where she/he chooses to reside isn't always ideal.  It is the physicality of technical behavior that needs to be balanced and fully realized.

True realization is not a trick.  It creates MAGIC yes, and this is where we often get lost.  We want the magic;  we want what seems to be spontaneous response to the emotional element of the music we sing.

Magic is created when the craft is nurtured.  Magic is real, but only through realization, not tricks.

Realization is rooted in knowledge.  Tricks are not rooted and stem from panic.

So, the next time you hear someone say they have the "vocal trick" you need - as bright and shiny as it seems - RUN!

Often, I have heard singers standing in front of me say "thanks for that trick".  I sigh and know simply from that language that they don't get it.  They are still expecting immediate and now.  They have the opportunity to figure it out,  but often times, they simply disappear because they refuse to recognize there is no trick.  Technique is built one step at a time,  one breath at a time.

If you walked up to a world class dancer and said "can you give me a trick to do the splits?",  they would look at you like you had lost your mind!

If you walked up to world class actor and said "can you show me a trick to do Shakespeare?",  they would walk away from you!

There is a secret...

There are no tricks.  There is just hard work,  the desire to learn,  the decision to see clearly,  and recognize what you have, what you need, and how you can work with YOUR physicality to allow YOUR voice to move in and reside as fully and as balanced as it can.

Being you isn't a trick.  Your voice isn't a trick.

Being you takes time.  Your voice takes time.  No wishing, no hoping.  Work, and time.

And then,  magic!

Do you dare discover THAT?!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Patience, Grasshopper...

Sunday Musings...

As we prepare for American Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season,  I am reminded of patience and preparedness.

In our instant society, where we can sit at our keyboard or ipad and with a click "BUY NOW" - acquiring "stuff" is beyond easy.

However,  the pursuit of craft and physical behavior of technique,  knowledge and claiming that knowledge into a working, living, breathing entity still has to be done the old-fashioned way:  time, patience, practice,  tenacity,  focus.

I love the opposition of our craft versus the world.  It begins to separate the truth from the fakers.  Those that want it NOW and try to accumulate their craft "stuff" like buying a product on the internet,  or calling their technique "tricks",  might make a momentary splash, and then quickly disappear.

If you want "it" - you gotta find it the same way we have been doing it forever:  knowing what you are pursuing,  knowing how to achieve it,  knowing how to find it in YOUR voice.

Let go of the "instant fix" or "trick".  It isn't real. 

Let go of the "fame" and "celebrity".  It only looks exciting from the outside.  Anyone who has it will tell you it is not what it appears to be.

Get real with what you want.  Get real with what you got.  Get real with how those two come together and what you can discover when they join forces!!!

You will never discover your TRUE authenticity until you pursue YOUR voice and YOUR craft.

Tricks,  mimicking,  wishing, hoping...never work.

WORK works.  You cannot evaluate what you do not know.  This is why it is crucial that you work with someone or several someones (teacher, coaches...) that will help you discover WHAT, HOW, WHY and simply, YOU.

Yes, I know it would be great to have it NOW.

But would it? 

We never appreciate it fully if it comes too easily.

Your voice is too unique and too precious to be loaded with tricks and quick-fixes that never are reliable.  You need to WANT to develop it.  WANT to study.  WANT to discover.

Patience.  Practice.  Perseverance.  Tenacity.  Determination.  Absolute PIG HEADED-NESS!

Do not let ANYBODY tell you they have the "fix".  As bright and as shiny as it may look,  you have to see it for what it is.

Behavior takes time.  Diligence.  PRACTICE.  DISCOVERY.

Craft and technique is a path worth exploring.  What you discover and uncover will be real.  Sometimes frustrating yes,  but real nonetheless.

Patience, Grasshopper.  One step at a time.

The more you claim that journey,  the more real it becomes.

Leave the tricks and the one-size-fits-all to those that simply do not know,  and choose not to.

You want real?  BE it. Every step of the way.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What's Your Tag Line? Control Your Audition!

Friday evening musings...

We are in the thick of auditions, be it opera or music theatre.

Auditions.  Does the word give you hives????

Yeah, me too.  Not my favorite thing to do.

We have to navigate a mine field of uncertainty,  uncontrollable and elusive.

Or do we?

Yes, there is type or fach.  These are creations of the business.  If you fall for the box,  you impose the box on yourself.

So, let me suggest something different:
Create your TAG LINE.

This allows you to change a tag depending on the audition.  YOU decide what you reveal in the room.  YOU decide what you walk into the room with.  "They" have nothing to do with it.

What is your tag line?  Have some fun with it.  Create a box of them.  You don't need to show everything each and every time.  You can decide that.  Claim the tag,  physically, vocally,  emotionally, energetically.

You then discover you have much more control in the room and OF the room than you first thought.  You are not walking in HOPING they LIKE you;  desperate for a job;  with jazz hands;

You do not know what they are buying.  Bah,  have the time THEY don't know what they want.

Your authenticity is crucial in the audition room.  Your type or your fach is not. 

Did you here me?????

YOUR AUTHENTICITY IS CRUCIAL!!!  You are NOT a type nor a fach.  This is a business tool for "that" side of the table to organize with.  That is all.

So begin your tag ideas by going through an exercise:

Make a list of 5 things you LOVE about your voice
Make a list of 5 things you LOVE about your body
Make a list of 5 things you LOVE about your personality
Make a list of 5 things you know people LOVE about being with you

Okay - now see how they overlap.

In the audition room,  YOU are YOUR business.  Every business has a tag.  The ones that stick out, are the ones that are simple and find a center immediately:

Nike - tag -  Just DO it
Allstate - tag - Are You in Good Hands?
American Airlines - Something Special in the Air
Capital One - what's in YOUR wallet?

got the idea?

You don't have to have ONE tag.  That's the beauty of this as a performer.  You can change the tag as you move from audition to audition.

Use your lists to help you.  Write a few down.  It should create a strong reaction.  Don't try to get too complicated,  or too fussy.

What we DO NOT want is "SUSIE CREAMCHEESE, soprano with belt"

That says nothing but beige.  How do you "do" beige?!

However, you do not need to SHARE your tag with anybody else.  You have to simply claim it in how you walk in that room.  Focus on the tag.  Sell the tag.

And if you are a Mercedes and they are only buying Toyotas that day - well no, you won't get a callback,  however,  if you are committed to your work and your tag,  you will create an authenticity in the room that will make you memorable and make them WISH they were buying a Mercedes.

The next best thing to booking a job is being told "I really was taken with your talent and your audition, and I just wish I could have hired you".

That is truth to the authenticity of you.

Want some ideas?  Here are some of my favorites that I have used, or have been shared with me: (no names, and no stealing!)

Bitch with a Smile on My Face
I Eat Babies for Lunch
A Klutz in a Show Girl's Body
Sequins Down My Back
Weeping with High Notes
Dripping with Sarcastic Chocolate

Get as creative as you want!!!!
In fact, tag every aria, every cut - as it pertains to YOU!

Bring that tag into the room with you.  Breathe with it.  Walk with it.  REVEAL IT.

Don't look to what they may want.

Claim what you HAVE.  Reveal what you CHOOSE.

Then you begin to discover that your authenticity is truly what they want to SEE.

You are not in control of whether or not you get a callback or a job - but you are in control of everything you do and everything you reveal in that room.


Imagine it huh?

So, change that audition to make it yours.  Don't chase what you cannot control.  Reveal what is truly YOU.  No jazz hands.  No desperation.

Just you.

It's enough.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Taking a step back...

Sorry I have been in MIA...

Life gets in the way and sometimes a step or two back creates perspective.  Or it reveals you need to take FOUR steps back and sit down for awhile!!

There is a fine line between focus and not seeing the forest for the trees.

As artists,  and as performers forging ahead to create a career,  we are all balancing this constantly.

Sometimes,  you eat the bear.

Sometimes, the bear chews your feet!!

(my twist on that little saying...sorry, couldn't help it)

How do you find your perspective?  What tools do you have that allow you to create perspective?
When do you know it is time to take a step back? 

As artists, we have to be aware of self.  Often, we are harder on ourselves than any can be.  We beat ourselves up if we aren't doing "enough".  We get frustrated when things are moving to slowly, moving to quickly,  not moving at all.

I am guilty of it too.  And then guilty of feeling guilty for trying to do too much;  not doing enough;  feeling lazy;  feeling exhausted...

Ah, the ongoing journey.

I have people in my world that are like barometers for me.  They are people I trust and know they will be honest with me no matter what.  This is part of my perspective. 

When I feel like "I've been here before..."  I realize I am no longer "journeying" but rather on the hamster wheel/treadmill - going hard but going nowhere.

This is my big red flag to STOP.  Breathe.  Find the moment.  FEEL the moment,  not the emotion associated with it: frustration, anger, guilt...all self-imploding emotions.

The moment needs to be dealt with.  It needs to be absorbed.  It allows us that moment of clarity, should we truly want it.

Our journey can be complex AND complicated.  When it becomes overwhelming, however, that journey has stopped and we are working against ourselves.  We have all done it. 

Often these are moments of huge frustration, but if we give ourselves PERMISSION to stand still that annoyance, fatigue, sense of being lost (and we are! we aren't on the path at that moment), will allow us to see where we are,  discover the clarity, seek out the help,  and break through into a clearing that reveals the path once again.

Pollyanna?  Me?!?!? 

I remember when my daughter was little and I lost her in a department store.  My heart left my body. A mother's worst nightmare.  I stopped.  I breathed.  I prayed. 

What did my daughter do?  She SAT DOWN where she was.  And she YELLED "MOMMA!!!!!!!!!!"

And we found each other and moved forward.

A great perspective.  Had I started frantically searching, and had she started running, we could have continued to miss each other.  Had she hidden,  and not called out for help,  we wouldn't have found her and the panic would have built.


In the moment.

So, as you keep your focus,  pursue your studies,  develop your craft and technique,  pound the pavement finding auditions,  don't let your "nose to the grindstone" mentality become so focused you lose sense of where you are,  and where you should be.  It's okay to look up and see what's around you!  It's okay to acknowledge fatigue, discouragement, frustration;  it's okay to laugh at yourself;  it's okay to just sit down and rest for a minute. Or two.  It's okay to ask for help.  It's okay to CALL for help. 

Permission granted.  For me too.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bring it into the room!

Friday musings...

Well,  I am busy with many projects at the moment - including getting this BOOK written, based on YOU the readers.  Thank god I have a supportive husband, and a daughter who know how to motivate me!

It is audition season,  and we are always preparing to get that job.  I am starting a class with DreamHonor next week about booking the audition - but from a different perspective than other classes.

In addition,  I have been doing things differently in my OWN world,  post-accident,  and wanted to share with you,  to perhaps give you another perspective.

We are told "don't do this", "don't do that" and on and on...but what CAN we do?  What are we there to do?

In the audition room,  we'd like a callback and book a job ultimately.  Let's not beat around the bush on that one.  However, isn't there more to it than that?

What do you want to show in the room?  And then,  what do you want to claim in the room?

If you are a Toyota and they want a Mercedes,  no matter how you TRY you will never be what they want.  And if you are a Ferrari and they want a pinto - same thing.

What do they want?  How do you know?  You'll drive yourself nuts trying to figure it out.

So how about saying,  "here I am.  This is WHO I am.  This is WHAT I do.  I am a SINGER(actor/dancer - fill in the blank) and that's what I am going to show you now."

Today - I bought a dress.  A sparkly one.  One that will hit, length-wise, just above my knee.  My knee.  The one that was damaged in the car accident.  "Total derangement" the surgeon calls it.

I am very good at slight of hand - I can masque things well.  I have done that with my scars and my pain and my inability to "do" as I used to physically.  However, today, I decided that it was time to simply enter the room with WHO I am.  What I do, AS ME.  Scars and all.  Those scars are well-earned.  They are part of my history and my present and will be part of my future.  If they show, they show.  I didn't ask for them,  but dammit, I will NOT let them stop me from claiming ME.

I do not use them as an excuse.  I would rather gracefully bow out than put myself in a position where I am unable to meet the demand.  I will not make excuses for them though.

I see that happening in the audition room,  and sometimes in the studio,  and on stage.

It's okay to recognize your strengths, and your weaknesses and your "I'm not quite ready for that yet".
Then you go right ahead and claim them all,  and lead with what you DO.

It's not okay to put yourself in a position where the scar leads and you follow;  where the scar calls the tune (all puns intended!).

The scar is a story.  You survived it.  Now you claim it.  It belongs to YOU.  You do not belong to it.

Scars can be visible,  they can be hidden,  they can be emotional or psychological.  They can be screaming red and hot to the touch, or they can be faded and still itchy from time to time.

It's part of our journey.  Mine certainly are.  I am not about to expose them and say "look over here look over here",  but I have decided that I am not going to let them run the show.

I will not excuse the scars.  I will not try to hide them.  I will wear them because their story is real.  I am real.  I will not hide them in plain sight.  I won't ride them, or let them call the tune.

I am an artist.  I am a singer and an actor.  I DO that.

What do YOU "do"?

Create your action;  weave your life and your craft into that action;  show them what you DO!  In showing them what you DO,  you reveal who you ARE and what you are capable of becoming.

No apologies, no worry,  no wondering.

What do you bring into the room?

BRING YOU!  ALL of it!  Scars and all.

happy weekend!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BOOK IT! AUDITION PROCESS Music Theatre Workshop!

DreamHonor  has listened to you!

We have revamped the class to add an agent's input!

It will encompass technical and physical approaches to presentation.

How do you come across? Are you meeting your potential in that audition room? Singers bring in TWO 32-bar cuts that contrast in style/tempo/era.  The work is on presenting type through physicality of voice, energy and choice of repertoire.  Etiquette in the audition room and how you claim it; Working to discover the room and how to claim it fully and discover your strengths in the surreal environment we call "the audition"! What do you want to show? What do you want to see? Do you know the difference between aggressive and assertive and can you project both? How do you stay present?  AND MORE!

Dress to audition and prepare to discover MORE for that next audition!

Then get some feedback from a BI-COSTAL AGENT!

Then PERFORM in the intimacy of a cabaret space in SHOWCASE for industry and family and friends!

Sign up at

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tonight's the Night!!!!

Join us on JustinTV for LIVE STREAMING!

I will be on at 7 p.m. EST answering YOUR questions about voice, auditioning and cabaret!

Here are the details!

Click the link below to find out how to join us!!!!

*****added to give you the link to the archived live stream!!!!! THANK FOR JOINING US!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ask Today, A Cabaret Tomorrow - a LIVE Q&EH!

happy Sunday!

I am so excited to join the team of educators at DREAMHONOR!

We are starting my CROSSING INTO CABARET class on September 25th  - check it out

Whether you are in NYC area or not,  DREAMHONOR is hosting a LIVE STREAM EVENT with me!!  We would love for you to join us!

Here are the details!

Ask Today, Cabaret Tomorrow: A Live Stream Q& Eh 
with DreamHonor Educator and Canadian Import Susan Eichhorn Young

Thursday, September 12th at 7:00PM-8:00PM

Join Susan as she Answers Your Questions LIVE about anything to do with her new class Crossing into Cabaret, your voice or anything dealing with singing in general. She writes a  blog on life in the theatre and voice called Once More With Feeling which currently has 200,000 views worldwide, and she also is as internationally renowned voice educator. So get your one-on-one time with her now because this woman is taking over the world!

To participate Follow us on twitter @SEichhornYoung & @DreamHonor and hashtag us #SingingwithSusan to ask her a question. See you on the Broad-WEB!

Hope we "SEE" you on the Live Stream!!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013


happy Labor/Labour Day Weekend!

I love this weekend.  It is a turning point and a ramp up into the fall season (even though it is still so WARM on the east coast!)

As you perhaps begin voice lessons again,  or get back into a routine after the summer...

I have been hearing this  "My voice is so big"  and "my voice is so small compared to industry standards"....

WHAT?!?!?!?! WHAT?!?!?!?!?

What does this mean?

Honestly,  I don't know.  Big or small (whatever that means ANYway)  a voice needs to develop a balance of resonance to be heard and to be able to access dynamic energy and subtly of stylistic integrity.

What I often see is "bigger is better" which is often translated into "I can sing really really loud therefore I have a HUGE DRAMATIC voice".  No,  you are loud.  Volume has nothing to do with big or small.  It has nothing to do with balance of resonance.  Screaming or yelling isn't singing,  so just cause you can scream really loud,  doesn't mean you can sing loudly,  nor does it mean you have a large instrument.  It means you don't know what the terminology is yet and you haven't found a place for that voice to reside.

On the flip side,  "my voice is too small",  and the best one to date is "my voice is very small given the industry standard".  What does that mean?  They can't hear you when you audition?

Again,  that means you haven't learned how to use your voice yet.  Your voice hasn't found balance enough to project with ease and energy to cut through no matter the size!

What is often the most riveting is listening to a pianissimo sung with such amazing skill and finesse that the goosebumps travel all the way through your body.  And guess what?  A pianissimo can be HEARD.  EASILY.  Why?  Because the voice is BALANCED.  It isn't about big or small.  It is about acoustic balance, technical acumen and breath.

The terminology can be so very very deceptive.  We all use similar language yet so many don't understand the language they use.

VOLUME has to do with movement that is relative from a so-called balanced and resonant loud to a so-called balanced and resonant soft.  When the balance of resonance is sought after,  the volume is determined in relationship to that balance of resonance that is unique to YOUR voice.

Louder isn't better.  It isn't bigger.  It's louder.  So what?  It, unto itself doesn't matter.

Small doesn't matter either.  If you learn how to balance that voice,  it will be heard ANYWHERE, anytime given the right space and relationship.

Forget about big or small until you have found a balance of resonance - and then it should only indicate what you sing, and where. 

Release the negative terminology or the terminology that allows you to hide behind.

Find YOUR voice,  and the body it wants to reside in.  Sing with that voice.  Honestly, truthfully and authentically.

At the end of the day,  nobody is going to say "wow, I love how LOUD she/he  can sing!"

People will ask you to stop screaming.
People will ask you to sing out if they can't hear you.
People will smile and nod and dismiss you if there isn't an authenticity that is present.

Even if they don't know it,  they are listening for a "real you".  They want a real voice that is balanced, healthy and recognizes its ability fully to inform the repertoire that that voice chooses to sing.

They will recognize you when it's real.  They will dismiss you if think you aren't enough, or if you think you have to sing louder than the person before you.

Determine what your voice does.  Know what the terminology indicates and how your voice begins to understand that terminology.  Work hard not to misunderstand terminology and stay true to your path.  Do not be side-swiped by "quick fixes" or pat answers.

Terminology is there as a tool.  It isn't absolute.  Just don't confuse what you do,  with what you say you do, and with what you think someone wants.

You.  It's enough to be YOU.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I am so thrilled to announce I have joined THE DREAMHONOR EDUCATION TEAM in NYC!

I will start teaching a 4 week course beginning WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 25th called:


We will have a FREE TRIAL CLASS WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 18th and we will have a CABARET PERFORMANCE following the completion of this intensive for family and friends, and industry professionals!

I am very excited in being a part of DREAMHONOR - to help create a class that meets their mandate of artistic dreams meeting real life application - and work beside some of the finest educators in the arts in NYC!

JOIN US!  Check out all the great classes starting this fall!

If you sign up for ANY classes within the next 48 hours,
  use the code - Honoryourdream - for a 20% DISCOUNT!

Looking forward to this wonderful endeavor!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

An exciting announcement coming!!!!

The fall is gearing up for all of us, as the summer winds down...

It's always a bittersweet time of year for me - as having some more lazy summer days would be delightful.  However, fall is my favorite season: it's cozy,  it's lush,  it is when we wind back up into our season!

In so doing,  I will have a special announcement for NYC singers on 8/27 at 8:27 p.m.!

Watch for it HERE!!!  I am very excited to share it with you!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Embrace your JOY!

Wednesday musings...

We are constantly revamping our books,  our audition material,  and fine tuning our technique.  Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the business,  that we forget WHY we do it at all.

I can only speak for myself.  Sometimes this business drives me nuts.  As I get older,  I have less tolerance for the stupid.  This can be exhausting if you allow it. 

Again, my daughter Erin,  reminds me about joy today and she probably doesn't even know it!

Why do we do this?  Why do I do this?

At the end of the day,  music, creating a character,  embracing a new idea and allowing it to unfold,  discovering new things,  hearing something I hadn't heard before,  discovering a new way to shape a phrase,  revealing a unique way to communicate an idea to a singer in the studio - all these things give me joy.

Why do I do this?  Because whatever "this" is - I love it.  It gives me life.  It feeds me.  It gives me JOY.

When we find our joy,  we find a contentment that is really beyond words.  We can feel the cell memory of when that joy began to develop.  I remember it for me:  the day the piano arrived in the living room when I was a little girl.  My mom sat down to play and sing, and I sat beside her.  I was mesmerized and didn't leave the bench.  I couldn't play,  but I opened up one of those old Readers Digest Song Books and touched those keys and SANG the words, making up the tune as I went!  I remember the front door was open and the breeze came through the screen,  and I was COMPLETE.

The cell memory is still there.

The reminder of that joy needs to be embraced every day.  Yes, sometimes it's a chore to get to the studio,  to get to that open call,  to even get your costume on again for the 8th time that week.  Yes, it's exhausting when you audition and study and aren't booking anything. 

So, why do you do it?

Have you claimed that joy?

We all need reminders.  So I say to you,  remember what you learn,  remember what you've practiced,  remember how to do,  what to wear,  how to behave.  And then - let all that go into the subconscious;  care not about what someone else thinks; 

just simply breathe and EMBRACE THAT JOY!  The joy that brought you this far.  It's in there somewhere and you'll recognize it as soon as you start looking for it!

That unconsumed,  pure JOY of why we do what we do.  It is what allows us to breathe.  It is what gives us hope,  and gives us the momentum to pursue the possibilities.

Joy is larger than negativity,  larger than dismissal,  larger than frustration - if we let it take hold,  and own it.  Another big choice,  but I can attest - a very important one,  and one that will give you momentum and more possibilities.

I remember my joy like it was yesterday - I remember how absolutely FREE I felt while touching those keys I knew nothing about yet.  I remember how incredibly fabulous it felt to take a big breath and SING,  my feet dangling from the bench.

The joy allows for truth, and honesty and integrity.  It dismisses negativity.  It doesn't allow for suffocation.  It reflects.  It gives you the opportunity to grow,  to discover,  and to pursue that which you say you love.

That's my ongoing pursuit.  Allowing myself to embrace my joy.  I hope that for you too.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Ongoing Conversation with Self

Sunday musings...

As we start to wind down the summer days and move into fall...(sssshhhhhhhh it is all happening too quickly!)  Sunday mornings are really my meditation days.  This blog allows me an opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, experiences, and the like.

As I continue to hopefully evolve and discover,  I am brought back to the clarity of one's ongoing conversation with oneself.  The self-narrative. 

I believe it is necessary, and vital,  to continue to examine that conversation:  Where is it heading?  Where is it leading?  What does it reveal?  Is it time to change direction?  Is it time to re-integrate?
What are we really SAYING?

There are as many aspects of the conversation we have with ourselves, as their are facets to our being.  It is a complex fabric that requires intimacy, time and respect.

One of those ongoing areas of conversation is where we are looking and what we are seeing.

Often as performers, as artists who perform and reveal to an audience, we are misunderstood in that we are attention seekers.  There is a huge difference between "I want attention" and "Please pay attention".  These are two difference conversations.

This goes on to how we approach the work, the opportunity,  the task at hand.  Does our conversation move inward and say "what do I do to develop this fully and reveal it?"  or does it deflect the self and say "if I do this who will notice me?"

There is an enormous difference between "I want to reveal the work/the character/the process through my talent" and "look at me! watch me! see me!".

The desire for fame is not the same as the quest for recognition.

Fame does not require any depth, or talent, or craft.  On its own, it is immature,  shallow and fickle.

Recognition takes depth, craft, desire and passion.  It demands respect and time; maturity and will; commitment and constant fine tuning.

If we "do" only to be noticed,  we will always fall short.  We will never receive what we think we should.  We will always be comparing ourselves elsewhere.  We will continue to deflect,  to become desperate,  and shallow,  and bitter.  The conversation with self never even gets started.  It draws nothing positive from anywhere.

If we "do" to explore our potential,  to find out how we can be better than our previous self,  we begin to recognize OURSELVES.  We demand respect of ourselves.  We demand MORE.  We have no time or energy to see if anybody is watching to tell us we are special,  because there is work to do!  The work demands our attention,  and we demand our commitment to that work.  We recognize ourselves and the work fully.  This conversation begins to reveal truth,  honesty,  openness,  and draws to it opportunity, inspiration,  and possibility.

 We each evolve in our own time.  We each have a starting place that is uniquely ours.  We grow in relationship to OUR OWN SELF - not in comparison to someone else.

What we DO have is a choice:  which path we decide to take.  Do we deflect and never really leave the adolescent immaturity of "me me me" or do we dare to have a real conversation and discover the respect of self and the opportunity of action from within?

This is a choice.  This isn't a fate.  At least it doesn't have to be. 

Make a difference in your own little corner.  That's where it starts.  Recognize self.  Embrace self.  Dare to evolve and become better than your previous self.  It doesn't matter who sees it.  You will be too busy enjoying the journey.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Making the Unconscious, Conscious!

I was awake WAAAAAY too early today.

My brain has a way of waking me up because it is often busy exploring and getting excited about things much faster and much earlier than my body wants to be bothered.

The summer is coming to a lazy close soon enough...and the fall is already revving up - with so many possibilities!

This morning I saw this:

This grabbed me in so many ways,  that I had to share it with you.

In the studio,  I speak of technique this way.  We work to summon our talent at WILL.  Not at fluke.  Not wishing, hoping, dreaming...(as the song goes).  We work to discover what the body is capable of doing,  what the body does recognize and make it CONSCIOUS.  Make it CHOICE.  Make it BEHAVIOR.

This allows you to determine your destiny in your technical behavior instead of being fated to repeat something that does not work or cannot be summoned, or let's you down when you are nervous, tired, sick, or simply not in the studio!

Many of my singers say "but I sing so much better when I am here with you".  That's just because the conscious behavior hasn't yet found its destiny elsewhere.  The behavior simply needs more time to become...behavior.

How do you do that?

Uhm,  practice.  Repeating a desired skill carefully,  with consciousness,  to allow it to become unconscious and move back into subconscious to become habitual behavior.

How often do we play the blame game?  I see it so often online.  I COULDA if...,  I SHOULDA if..., I WOULDA...if...

Fate vs Destiny in our technique, and in the reality of what we are working with and where we are, can all become conscious; can all become decision and therefore creative destiny!

The blame game never acknowledges that the self could be responsible.  Responsible for simply BEING THE BEST SELF in whatever circumstances one finds.  Circumstances DO shape certain things, but they do not have to FATE them,  if the singer chooses - and I do mean CHOOSES - accept responsibility for becoming conscious.

Is it easy?  Nope.
Does it take work?  yep.
Can it get messy?  sometimes.
Is it worth it?  what do you think?

If all you think about is becoming famous,  or being a celebrity,  then none of this will make sense to you.  The conversation you are having with yourself simply does not commute or recognize what I am talking about here. 

However, if you are committed to discovering your best self,  and better than your previous self, and where you are best suited to be in your pursuit of craft,  then I think on some level,  you KNOW what I am talking about.

Fate means,  poor me, why me, people make me feel like I am not enough,  I hate people who seem xyz...everything is deflected.  Nothing is internalized.

Isn't the same with the consciousness or lack thereof,  of developing a true sense of technical behavior?  Fate means excuses.  Fate means blaming a teacher or a coach.  Fate means never taking true ownership.

Destiny, however creates possibilities.  It is recognizing that perhaps things aren't working ideally,  that you have had to survive poor or bad teaching, but you are conscious enough to want to work toward MORE.  Not more RECOGNITION but more REALIZATION.

Destiny is internal.  It deals with what is unconscious, or subconscious, or even pre-conscious, and works to discover how to create behavior to make it fully conscious.

When that consciousness is realized,  you can discern what is YOUR responsibility,  what is in YOUR control,  and what you want to do with it,  within your circumstances,  and your means.

Consciousness then allows you to see ALL your behavior - the good, the bad and the ugly -  and how it affects your conversation with yourself.

Again it is a choice:  fate and blame,  or destiny and possibility.

The truth will set you free.  Fame and celebrity do not.  Pretending and hiding in plain sight do not.

Dare to create consciousness in your conversation, and in your technical behavior!

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Sunday musings...

I have viewed some horrific YouTube videos this week.  I shake my head.
We are in such a me-me-me time of life where the Internet can be used for a myriad of self promotion (and I use it too!).

It can be a wonderful thing.  It makes it so much easier to get your information out there,  to submit for auditions, to stay in touch with people you don't see as often as you like...

It can also reveal that insanely morose self-inflicted "I am a winner" mentality too.  Self-inflicted, but also socially inflicted too.

The lack of respect of hierarchy in ability,  in talent, in skill,  has become so predictable.  EVERYBODY gets first place!  EVERYBODY gets a medal! EVERYBODY gets a car!

Everybody is not a winner.  At least not at EVERYTHING they want.

Just because you take singing lessons, doesn't make you a singer.  Just because you take dance, doesn't make you a dancer.  Just cause you act, doesn't make you an actor.

Just because you can change your own oil, doesn't make you a mechanic.

Just because you can plant a few flowers in the front of the house, doesn't make you a landscape artist.

Just because you can argue, doesn't make you a lawyer.

Just because you can take the right pain meds, doesn't make you a doctor.

I think you got my point several sentences ago.


It also means,  having a certain mindset and having a certain conversation with yourself.

If you are always looking for outside acclaim,  or trying to be better than someone else,  you are looking the wrong direction,  and in fact, that may a very large red flag that suggests you aren't DOING or BEING where you need to be.

To become a WINNER in ANY field,  is rare.  It IS a hierarchy.  The "winners" are rare.  There are many who "participate".  There are many who think they are participating when they are simply putting in time and haven't had the proper conversation with themselves.

Does it make those people "losers"?  No.  They are simply lost.  They haven't found a place to participate, or an activity to participate in,  or a true ability to discover their winning side!

Thomas speaks of,  and I use this all the time:  Your competition is with your PREVIOUS self.  Then and only then, do you begin to discover the TRUTH of a conversation with yourself.  It isn't always easy.  It's not always comfortable or pleasant.  In fact, it can be downright ruthless,  but if you want to discover where you can WIN,  it is absolutely, certainly necessary!

If you do not have the correct conversation with yourself,  you never discover where you are or where you should be. 

Seeing all these ridiculous YouTube videos makes me wonder if it is just for kicks, or done with such an intense seriousness to get attention,  or a deep delusion. 

We lost two of the "RARE" this week. 

The greatest Carmen of all time (in my humble opinion) Regina Resnik
And an artist that inspired me since childhood, Eydie Gorme.

There was only ONE of each of them.  There will ONLY BE one of each of them. 

There is only one of you. That makes you rare...

Quit comparing,  quit making excuses.  Figure out where you can truly participate,  not where you can hide,  or complain.  Dare to be better than your previous self.  Dare to be honest.  Dare to have people around you who build you up to find that better self,  not blow sunshine up your ass in order for you to continue not being honest with yourself.

Being better than your previous self, does not mean you are concert pianist material; or opera singer material;  or Broadway material;  or Picasso material;  or Baryshnikov material;  or Tolstoy material;

What does it mean?  You have to figure that out for yourself.
Happy exploring!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Excuses, Excuses...

Singers, I am speaking to you!

I am speaking about excuses...and maybe not the ones you think I am going to talk about.

Why, oh WHY, do you continue to 'study' with an abusive teacher, and make excuses for their behavior?!  Do you truly believe someone who belittles you,  or degrades you,  or tears you apart is actually the only one who can teach you?

Perhaps they can reveal to you what an abusive relationship is about;  perhaps they can show you what abuse is;  what psychological "control" looks like;  what emotional fear feels like. 

A safe learning and exploring environment?


Many of us have survived bad teaching, abusive teaching, and more.  Some have not survived it.

As  with ANY relationship it is a CHOICE!

You are paying someone to help you discover your voice, to put together the behavior of your pursuit, be it professionally or not,  and you are paying for that person's time. 

Why do you walk out in tears?  In confusion?  In pain?  time after time after time...

I remember a singer telling me that if she didn't walk out of her lesson crying and feeling like she was nothing, she wasn't learning anything...

Perhaps it's not just the "teacher" that needs a therapist...

Abuse comes in all forms.  Mind games, language, actions.  Recognize it for what it is.

It is NOT your fault that you were assigned that teacher, should you be in a college or university program.

It is NOT your fault that you put your trust into working with someone who has turned out to be someone or something they are not.

It is NOT your fault that said person has decided they can take advantage of said trust by either being blatantly abusive or control hungry,  or slying so.

It is NOT your fault you didn't see it right away.  Abusers are often very good at disguising their game.

It is NOT your fault.

However, it IS your responsibility to take care of YOU.  It is your responsibility to call out for help if you can't help yourself.

Trust me,  I have been in abusive relationships - in the studio and out.  Yes, I am using the word abuse.  Does it sound harsh?  It should.  Why?  because it IS.

There are MANY teachers out there.  You are not beholden to ANYBODY.  Your responsibility is to YOU.  YOU are responsible for your talent, your development, your health - physical, psychological and emotional.

You are NOT responsible for a "teacher". 

You are NOT responsible to "keep the peace".

You are NOT responsible for behavior that is not yours.

You are NOT responsible to make excuses for behavior that is not yours.

You ARE responsible to yourself.  If you find yourself making excuses for the person who is supposed to be the professional you place your singing development with,  it is time to stand back, and take a long, close look.

This is first and foremost, a professional relationship.  Working one on one does create a level of intimacy.  That intimacy needs to be respected by BOTH parties.  There is no CLAIM.  There should be no FEAR.

You do NOT "make the best of the situation".  If you are being damaged, abused, confused, YOU LEAVE.  You do not need to make an excuse.  You do not need to say ANYTHING.

You are not burning bridges.

Do you honestly think that you are the only one who knows about this abuse?  Trust me,  crazy is very clearly revealed in any faculty of music or in the business itself.

Teachers are there to create a safe place to learn.  Teachers are there to challenge, to share knowledge, to help the student who seeks his/her truth FIND IT.

Teaching is not about the teacher.  The focus is already outward from the teacher and inward into the singer.  That session is about the singer.

This intimacy has to be respected and held in the most sacred place.

BOTH parties have to that.

If a singer does not have that respect,  trust me,  a teacher is going to say they simply do not have time to work with them anymore.

If a TEACHER does not respect that sacred time and space, does not respect the incredible responsibility she or he has,  then the singer MUST LEAVE.

The decision does not have to be emotional, even though one feels emotional.  Like leaving ANY relationship of abuse or control,  the decision has to be intellectual and clear as to why.  The feelings will follow later.

Abuse is abuse is abuse.

Power hungry and control is not about the singer - it is an issue that so-called teacher has.

It is not about you.  It is made to look like it is about you.  That is part of the control.

You should not leave a lesson in tears because you have been made to feel like you are worthless.

You might leave with more questions and needing time with yourself to discover what you can do to challenge YOURSELF to find your best self.

You might leave feeling physically exhausted after discovering how much further you can explore the athleticism of singing.

You might leave frustrated because you thought you had something that you realize you do not yet.

You might leave feeling elated and full of promise and hope.

YOU are in control.  OF YOU.

You shouldn't be looking over your shoulder.

You shouldn't be asking permission to pee.

You shouldn't be worried of repercussions of cancelling a lesson.

You shouldn't have to make excuses about YOU.

You shouldn't have to make excuses for how your "teacher" treats you.

You are not beholden to said teacher.

You are not responsible for said teacher.

You are responsible for YOU.  If you were listening to what you say about your present situation of excuses,  what would you tell YOU?  Stay?  or leave?

The decision is YOURS.

It is your voice.

It is your life.

It is your decision.

It takes guts.  It takes decision.  It takes strength.

If you can take a breath and sing a phrase, you can take a breath and make a decision that does not include an excuse.


Find someone who is willing to help you, not harm you.  DECIDE to do it!


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Otherwise, ENJOY the newsletter!  Just a small taste of all we do in the studio and out and of the many wonderful beings and artists I work with, or have worked with!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Shameless Self Promotion!

My castle my rules!

One of the things I have been trying to recoup from the accident is my artistic voice.

I simply do not have the physical ability I had before. So performing is going to be inhibited.

So,  what do I DO?!  I will not allow someone to take that away from me.

I turned to voiceover work.  Studied,  continue to develop my craft, and booked several audio books this year!

It allows me to keep my acting chops and my voice in shape and gives me creative license to explore the art of story telling.  I am loving it!

Two of three books have now been released.
A third will be released in the next 2 weeks.
I am about to begin another one for a fall release.

Here are the links!

The first,  Secrets of the Red Box by Vickie Hall
available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes!

The second, Love is in the Air by Devon Vaughn Archer
available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes!

The third is ROUGE VOLUME 1 by Leigh Talbert Moore
and will be released in audio format in the next two weeks!

I am excited to be doing this professionally now - and hope to do more!

Finding those things that keep your artistic voice growing and residing somewhere is so crucial to our ongoing development.

I am finding new and wonderful ways of exploring my artistic and actor roots and using my voice in new but familiar ways! It makes life worth living and gives me more HOPE.  I am not done yet!

Thanks for letting me promote my new work!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Artistic Energy

We are back from Brasil!

We worked with some marvelous young singers, met some great human beings and artists and will forever hold that tightly.

On my final day there,  I held a seminar that morphed into a great many things about being an artist. Today, I am simply musing on that energy.

Artistic energy.

If you are an artist, you are forever one, from the moment you wake up to your last breath.  Whether you make a living making your art is a completely separate issue.

So, how you feed that artistic energy? 

Some days, the body, the psyche, the spirit simply does not want to pursue, or practice, or move.  Sometimes, we are just TIRED.  Tired from what doesn't even matter.  We are just tired. Period.

Is it okay? Of course it is.  We must remain sensitive to allow for your artistic lives to grow, and in being sensitive, we often take in more than we can actually deal with. 

On the days you are exhausted, depleted, discouraged, just don't wanna...what do you DO?

Giving yourself permission just to be where you are is difficult.  Trust me, I know.  However, the stillness is crucial to rejuvenate and replenish what we need to continue to thrive. 

We are encouraged to do something for our business each day, and for our artistry, and yes, in a perfect day that works.  But some days,  we simply need to sit still.  We need to experience NOT doing.  We need the space both physically and psychologically to allow a decompression and re-entry to occur.  This is why we often get sick.  Our energy has been over-taxed and our bodies simply say NO.  NO MORE.  You gotta sit down and nurture yourself.

It seems so simple doesn't it?  HA!  I know it all too well. 

So how can you NOT do and replenish?  Do you have your rituals in place to allow for YOU time? If it is YOUR time and YOUR choice and YOUR decision,  it will feed your soul, psyche and your artistic life.

Give yourself permission NOT to practice.   NOT to go to that audition.  NOT to sing full out at a rehearsal.  NOT to try to please all of the time!

Give yourself permission to spend a little more time sleeping, having another cup of coffee, looking at a magazine,  browsing the Internet.

Replenishing could simply mean reading a book,  looking at a painting, putting your headphones on and listening to something that simply moves you to tears, or revs you up, or calms you down. 

When we slow down enough to allow ourselves to be transported in that stillness, THIS is when the energy reveals itself to us.  THIS is when artistic energy meets artistic temperament and allows for growth, AND stillness. 

"I have no energy"  should be a red flag that you simply need YOU for a little while.  And guess what?  You is kinda wonderful. 

The artistic energy of YOU needs as much care and attention as technical behavior you are developing in your craft;  as the score you are studying;  as the monologue you are developing.  The artistic energy of YOU needs the focus and realization that you give working out passaggio, or your breathing,  or your resonance as you work the transitions of registers!

So replenish often.  Otherwise you are living on fumes.  No transformation of any kind can last on that.

Permission granted.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Observations after a week in Brazil

Greetings from Brazil!

Thomas and I are here with FioAmericas teaching...

Our first week is complete, with all of its challenges and frustrations, and also its revelations, some wonderful students and my first performance since before the accident.

Sometimes you simply just have to DO it.  Am I the same? No.  Could I sustain a full show? No. But could I still summon my craft and deliver? I believe I did.

It was a personal triumph.  THIS is what allows for growth and confidence.  It is not comparison to anything but your previous self.

Two years ago to the date of the Gala in Brazil, I was still in a Rehab Hospital learning how to walk with a cane.  I still had many pins and staples in my body. I had many surgeries and procedures and more to come.  I was on heavy pain meds, still bruised and swollen, with many breaks still healing, and very little ability of any kind. I was only trying to walk with a cane in the PT room with a therapist on either side of me. Five steps was exhausting and I would have to sit again in my wheelchair.  I had no use of my right hand and arm.

The day of the Gala, just a few days ago, I wondered if I had lost my mind trying to perform.  I had not even tried to walk for long in a concert heel, and had not performed my beloved Kurt Weill. In over 2 years. But I decided this was for ME. I needed to know if I could still do it.

I walked out onto that stage in my heels. I did not have any spasms.  I summoned the craft I have been building my whole life, claimed what I had and committed to it.

Was it a success? yes. Why? because I have overcome a life threatening circumstance. Because I refuse to have someone else take from me something they have no authority or power over.

Because I have the same insecurities and concerns as every one of you.  Because I want to find the BEST me no matter what.  Because I will bring 100% of whatever I have. If it is only 30% or 70%, I will not dial it in.  I will bring all 30 or all 70.

I dare myself to commit to that craft.  I dare myself to improve upon it.  I dare myself to rediscover it, know my limitations and find my better self.

If I can, YOU can.

Go get it!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Find the JOY!

As we take on Fathers' Day weekend,  I muse about my wonderful Dad.

We lost him in 2009 and I miss him every day.  He had a rare form of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma called Mantle Cell.  Yet, he remained so full of joy for each moment.  He lived his life, his craft and his passions like that.

I remember that joy.  He embodied it through his teaching, his directing, his interactions with others, his painting,  his children and his grandchildren.

He was always learning, always reading, always thinking, always discovering.  He never said "that's it", or "it is a chore", or "I'm bored".  In fact, if he heard you say "I'm bored" his answer was this:
boredom comes from within.

So often,  we as artists,  as performers,  in the murky business of show often lose sight of the JOY.  We are constantly working to work, to be seen, to be hired,  and there is exhaustion with that.  It can often take over to the point that we forget WHY we do what we do in the first place.

There is nothing wrong with goals.  I believe in them.  They keep us focused.  However, if we set ourselves up to fall,  where is the joy in that?

If our expectations have nothing to do with the reality that we find ourselves in,  then perhaps our view is skewed. 

Looking too far ahead often defeats the joy that is standing right in front of you.

Why do you do what you do?  Have you lost sight of it? 

What gives you joy anyway?

Perhaps we need to get back to those basics from time to time.  It doesn't have to be sophisticated or polished or perfect.  It just has to be real.

Infusing JOY back into our lives makes everything possible.  It often doesn't have ANYTHING to do with our craft per se, although it can.  It will, however, direct and influence it.

The old saying of "all work and no play"  sometimes needs to be taken to heart.

Constant worry,  constant thoughts of "it's not enough" "I'm not enough" or even "why aren't they hiring me?"  suck the joy right out of what we say gives us that joy in the first place.

So today,  dare to find out what brings you back to joy.  What about your craft is real to you and makes you feel complete?  What lifts you up?  What makes you feel like you can breathe?  What eliminates worry or concern even for a few minutes?  What makes you laugh?  What makes you feel passionate?  What gives you possibility, not excuse?

We need to feed our joy to keep it blooming.  Just as we need to develop our craft,  our technique,  and our business skills.  If the joy doesn't buoy all we do,  it is simply work.  Dull, disappointing and exhausting.

As artists and performers,  we have to respect ourselves more than that.  We cannot allow things we cannot change to suck the joy out of our lives.  We have to commit to finding that joy and claiming it vehemently each day.

I for one,  plan to do just that!  A renewed commitment to JOY.  Because my Dad taught me how!
My wonderful Dad in his workspace where he painted!

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Triple Threat of Apology

Friday night musings...

Such a fine line between the apology,  the excuse and the attitude.

How do we ride it?

All three can be devastating in the studio, in the audition room and on the stage.
IF it gets to the stage.

The triple threat of apology/excuse/attitude can become a passive-aggressive step-ball-change throughout the pursuit of a career.

And now, to pull a Dr Phil - how's that working for you?

Apology works when you've actually done something WRONG.  Apology is unnecessary if you've simply made a choice that doesn't work while exploring your craft.

Apologizing or excusing in the audition room completely negates your audition.

Did you hear that?


Who did that?  The CD?  The artistic director?  Nope,  that was you.  Perhaps an apology to self is in order.

And what about the attitude?  It often happens due to insecurity,  due to being out of your depth, due to plain old fear: of being found out,  of not being prepared or ready,  of the truth.

The room doesn't care.  These issues could maybe use a different kind of professional help that has a medical slant to it.

The room and the people in it want to see YOU CLAIM YOU!

Make your choices.  Be BOLD.  Be honest.  DO IT. 

"I'm sorry but..."
"I really cannot..."

Those are NOT choices. 

When a teacher or a coach asks for something else and why,  ask for clarification if needed, and JUST DO IT!  Don't apologize for what you didn't do or make an excuse about why you didn't do what they have just asked you to do!  That is NOT WHY YOU ARE THERE!

You are there to EXPLORE!  to GROW!  To drop it on the floor and break it, or crack it - and say - oh well - and pick it up and dust it off and do it again!

Leave the apology and the excuse at the door.  OUTSIDE the door.
Leave the attitude there too.  They can all stay in the hallway in the same bag.

If the attitude prevents you from discovering what you COULD do,  why are you there?

If you walk into a lesson or coaching,  a class or an audition,  why would you give 'tude and build a stone wall around you and alienate a possibility????

What is the point?


If you just want someone to tell you that you are wonderful,  ask your grandmother.

If you want to LEARN, find those people who can TEACH you and take it all in!  Do not apologize for being there!  Do not make excuses as to why it took you so long!

If you want to WORK,  get to those auditions!  Show them the TRUTH of who you are and what you do RIGHT NOW.  Do not make excuses of what you cannot do,  do not give attitude when asked if you can do something else.  Be BOLD.  Know what you are capable of!  Do not try to please, but instead,  stay true to yourself and find the unique power in that!

"I'm sorry..."
"It's just that..."
"I don't think I can do that today because..."

Leave that triple threat outside the door.  Frankly, kick it to the curb. 

Do not apologize for what you didn't do.  Just come in prepared,  ready to work,  and honest in that work. 

There's your NEW triple threat!

Preparation/Work Ethic/Honesty

Aren't you worth that? 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Shameless studio promotion!

I am proud of all my singers - and several have participated by application to 54BELOW's vocal competition called THE CALLBACK.

It is won by votes on youtube.  When singers move to the next round,  they have a chance to win the opportunity to have their own solo show at 54Below.  This club/cabaret room is now THE place to be seen in NYC and is located where the infamous "STUDIO 54" was in the late 70s and early 80s.

My lovely Ashley Dillard has participated,  the delightful Meg Buzzard has moved onto the semi finals.

And my own daughter, Erin Elizabeth Eichhorn, performed last night and could use your vote!  Just follow the link, log into youtube and "like" to help her along!

If you go to the 54Below Online youtube channel,  you can look for Ashley and Meg as well and hear their fantastic performances!

Thanks for taking a look and listen!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Physicality of CRAFT!

My apologies for being often gets in the way!

A week has gone by since Mother's Day.  I spent a wonderful day with my beautiful daughter, Erin, doing mom-daughter things.

One of the activities we have always done together, since Erin was a little girl, is to go to theatre performances of all kinds together.

For Mother's Day, we got tickets to see Alan Cumming in his one-man Macbeth on Broadway.

Great theatre follows you out the door.  It resides in the fore of your mind and spirit,  or lingers in the dusty corners through the week and re-appears constantly as you walk through your day.

This is what happened with Alan Cumming's performance for me.

So many things I could talk about with this tour de force, but perhaps what absolutely stood out, was his absolute integration of the physicality of craft.

Often, many of my singers will comment during a lesson that they are physically exhausted, or sweating, or they are experiencing muscles they didn't know they had or forgot about.

Singing is PHYSICAL.  It is ATHLETIC.  It demands respect of the body.

I am always surprised when I comment on the post-accident me, that I am just now beginning to explore my voice again.  I have been asked "did it affect your voice? what happened???"

Really?  It affected MY BODY.  My body is my instrument.  If my body is not 100%,  it will not allow my voice to inhabit it.  My voice is an intangible made tangible by the physicality of my craft.
My "voice" is fine - it is my body that is no longer the same.

Committing to the physicality of your craft means committing to your BODY.  It means developing that tangibility until it has EASE.  That doesn't mean EASY.

The physicality of craft reveals itself in so many magnificent ways.  I go back to Alan Cumming's performance.  No, he didn't sing,  but he used his voice AND his body.  He did it without amplification.  He physicalized his breath, his body, his language so thoroughly and seamlessly that each character morphed with what seemed to be effortlessness.

The true magic of craft is when the physical demands are so integrated that it looks spontaneous.  It should never BE spontaneous or on the fly;  it should be so practiced, so developed, that it looks like it is happening for the first time.

This is craft.  When you have developed it to the point of not having to THINK each movement through, or hope for the best,  then craft has now become a part of your being.

Watching Cumming embody all of Shakespeare's characters in Macbeth was liberating, and sad.  Why?  I knew that in my present physical state, even though to the observing eye, I "look fine", I am not.  I could not, at this point, inhabit that space of physicality to be on stage...yet.  If ever again.
However, it gives me hope in teaching and demanding from myself and my performers and artists to go further; to sweat more;  to explore deeply;  to push the boundaries;

It gave me hope that true craft still has the ability to change lives.  That language can reside in the physical demands of the breath and the body.  That the human body can follow the direction of the imagination.  That the imagination of the true artistic spirit will DEMAND to be physicalized and revealed fully!

But it's work!!!  Yes, my gentle snowflakes, it is.  (thanks Lewis!)

And when you WORK,  when you embody,  when reveal, when you are willing and able to get your hands into the dirt and create something is worth ALL the sweat,  the fatigue,  the time,  the agony,  the energy.

It will reveal an integrity and liberation you will find no where else.  It will draw you in and you will only want MORE.

Make it BURN. Release the physical and artistic endorphins and SOAR.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Are you up at 5 a.m. because you are right for that audition?

Happy April all!

We are and have been in the thick of music theatre audition season.  Whether you have an appointment, or are standing in line to get a time at an open call,  it's an exhausting, focused, tiring and exhilarating time of year!

In NYC,  we have the early birds who somehow stay up all night to begin an unofficial list with 20 of their closest friends on a yellow legal pad piece of paper at 5 a.m. on the door of the building where that day's audition is held.

I have one word: "WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!"

Many CDs are simply not accepting unofficial lists, or if they do, are only signing people up if they are physically there.

What are you doing????

Why are you there????

How do we see the difference between posers and real theatre gypsies?

Here's a list you might want to consider:

Real gypsies take the audition process seriously. They study, they practice,  they study some more.  They work hard at their craft.  This is not American Idol.

Real gypsies know that their instrument needs rest and hydration - they do not see the need to be lined up on the street at 5 a.m. if they want to truly book a callback.  They are willing to take the risk of arriving when the CD has published the call time for the audition and get a time and come back.

Real gypsies don't talk non-stop about this audition/that audition and about how great they are while waiting in the holding room.  They are focused on the task at hand.

Real gypsies do not go to EVERY DAMN CALL!!!  They understand that CDs remember if you keep showing up for something you aren't right for. Ergo, you aren't getting hired. Real gypsies use discretion about the auditions they submit for or sign up for;  the auditions they attend are the ones that they legitimately are right for.

Real gypsies study...REGULARLY.  They walk into each and every audition and callback PREPARED.  They study:  voice, acting, dance and more.  They never stop discovering more about their craft.  They understand what is needed,  what they need to show,  how they need to show it and they deliver consistently.

Real gypsies do not walk into an audition unprepared.  They are developing artists and craftsmen/women who take their craft SERIOUSLY.  This is what they want in their lives:  to work, to discover,  to build a career;  not to gossip, or be famous.

60% of those in that open call line should really go home:  they are not right for the show,  they do not have the training or expertise for the show or the business,  and may simply not have the level of raw talent and ability to develop into an artist that truly deserves a chance to pursue a career.


Imagine if that 60% would simply stay in bed, and those of you who are the 40% showed up at 10 a.m. to get your audition time.  Imagine how simpler things would be.  How happy CDs would be having real emerging and developing artists presenting real craft and a true audition in front of them instead of wannabes and wishIwases screaming at them, thinking they are belting?

Imagine having a 40% of artists/performers who could possibly be right for the show instead of wading through a 60% who aren't in any way right and being so tired you might miss the ones that are?

Imagine your business and craft having the respect that only those who have the training, understanding, development and delivery showed up to share it, and apply for the job?

Imagine each person in the room knowing what the dance combination was,  and how to re-produce it?  Imagine each person in the room singing something that shows what they do well, because they have technique, and the ability to use it properly.  Imagine each singer having acting intelligence,  and depth of character while singing?  Imagine just singing in TUNE?!

Imagine an artist who says:  I am simply not right for that show.  I choose to sleep in.

Imagine an artist who says:  I am positively right for this show!   And I know I don't need to get up at 5 a.m. to have a chance to be seen!

If you are REALLY sure you should be in this business - then you must know why.  You must know in what capacity.  You must be studying.  You must be growing.

You must sleep in past 5 a.m.  Give that voice time to wake up so you can bring everything you have for that show you are right for!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Self-Awareness and a Sprinkle of Delusion!

Happy Friday!

This theme has been wandering through my world lately in many aspects!

I am finishing up an online course for creatives,  written and lead by the golden inspiration of  warrior woman/life coach and more, Erin Stutland called "Magical Manifesters".

I have just put my Voice Over website and commercial demo to begin a more professional journey in that direction!


Dream big.

I've written about the dreams versus the delusion.

I wanted to address it again, perhaps a little differently.

Have you ever noticed the people who often seem delusional don't seem to create any roadblocks for themselves?  They really and truly think they are where they want to be.

Those of us who are more self-aware,  tend to be more aware of where we are too.  We can dream big, but we tend to say "yeah, but.." and the self-doubt that is very much a part of being an artist often paralyzes us,  sabotages us,  and creates such inner turmoil we can't release ourselves and fully discover what we COULD do.

One of the reasons "THE BOOK" hasn't been written...YET.  One of the reasons I decided Erin Stutland's Magical Manifesters was for me.  It was time to get unstuck.

Since the car accident,  I knew it would be awhile before I would be able to do what I used to in the studio and on stage.  Now I know it will never be the same.  What I will be able to do will make itself known in time,  but what CAN I do now?

Voice Over was always something that I was interested in - but there was that "yeah, but..."

So, when I began a more disciplined study with my now mentor, Charles Michel,  I realized I COULD do this.  I COULD dream big.  I COULD dream bigger.

Oh, there's that self-awareness voice again - "can you really?" "yeah, but..."

I cannot tell you the number of teachers and mentors and friends and colleagues who, over the years, have said "You are over-thinking."  "Get out of your head."  "You are in your own way."

Sound familiar?

There's that voice again...self-doubt.  Wanting to find the complexities and riddle them out.  Striving for more.

Yet,  as my singing mentor,  Ted Baerg would say to me :"Could you just breathe and sing dumb?"

Self-awareness and self-knowledge are so important.  We need to know where we are,  what we have, how we can embrace that.  HOWEVER,  how many times can we over-complicate the journey or the path simply by over thinking?  being overly-critical?  questioning too much?

These are the moments that I look to the delusional ones for ideas!

Have you noticed (and you have, because you know PRECISELY who I am speaking about) these snow flakes never say "can I?"  They just plow ahead.  Now,  being delusional doesn't mean there isn't talent there, or skill, or ability,  but they dream big,  and have no roadblocks THEY erect!   They don't usually have many boundaries either, so self-awareness is ambiguous at best,  and realities shift from landscape to landscape - a great deal of BLUR in this world...

They are ALWAYS at those auditions, at 5 a.m.  They continue to tell EVERYBODY how wonderful they are in all aspects of their lives, unapologetically.  They see themselves a particular way and COMMIT to it!

We laugh.  We shake our heads.  They drive us mad.  They suck energy.  Yet, somehow they manage to land on their feet.

What is that?!?!

A sprinkle of that "delusion" could go a long way for those of us who are cripplingly self-aware.

I don't want to call it delusion now...not when you are not.  Let's change the language and discover something more magical.  How about a sprinkle of "ta-da!"

We have all wondered, mystified at these creatures.  They have no boundaries,  no questions,  no sense of how anybody else sees them.

A little of that goes a long way.  HOWEVER,  a sprinkle of "ta-da"  could perhaps give your self-awareness more permission to sparkle;  to take a risk;  to abandon safety for a moment and be in the moment;  to dream big without a "yeah, but".

Self doubt is part of the complexity of being an artist.  Our pursuit of truth, beauty, honesty,  and revealing of all of that DEMANDS a tenacity and a willingness and ability to look deep within ourselves and our craft to discover and reveal.  We work to uncover more.  We are never done.

Perhaps now,  we can learn something from the delusional ones.  Perhaps a little sprinkle of "ta-da"  when we discover something,  achieve something,  recall something,  journey somewhere,  is allowed once in awhile!

So, as you dream big,  allow the reality to create the boundaries to work WITH you, not against you.  "Yeah but" has no room in a dream.  It has no room in a complex reality either.
I challenge you (and every time I say "you",  I mean "me" too) to change your language with YOURSELF.  "Yeah but" needs to change to "What if..."

Possibilities.  Boundaries to explore within,  and push a little.

Create your sprinkle of "ta-da"!  It's okay to be a little scared,  it's energy waiting to be harnessed!