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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