Sunday, September 27, 2009

What is this thing called SUPPORT?

Sunday musings...

Discussing technical issues on this blog is not my primary focus, however, from time to time,  I will share certain ideas and philosophies regarding same.

Today is one of those days!  First it is important to recognize that vocal pedagogy is NOT an exact science.  And, as a teaching practitioner, reading about something, and DOING it are very different!  You ultimately don't know HOW to do by reading, you learn HOW by DOING.  It is the physical embodiment that makes technical behavior real.

So, with that, I will begin to walk the tightrope of that mysterious thing we call "support".

As every "body" is different, so each has to experience support and its development and variations individually.  The combination of the physical body and the physical voice indicate how the support is developed.  There is not a magic bullet, one answer, or one book, that will develop this for the singer!  The singer him/herself must find the answers!

Information is nothing unless it is explored and adjusted to become individually claimed.

So, if each body and each psyche and each voice is unique so must be the pursuit of how the support informs each!

I believe vehemently that singers are athletes!  And the technical work we do is physical and mental training and in the training creates behavior that the physical, mental, psychological, emotional and spiritual bodies begin to realize as "home".  It is not "put on" but rather, developed and lived in.

As we explore physical support of breath and sound,  we are creating a physical construct for an intangible movement.  Sound is manifested vibration - and vibration by nature is in motion;  Breath is air in motion and while in motion has the ability to give life - and in a singer, it has the great power of moving that manifest vibration of sound to create VOICE.  The physical body either enhances this power, or diminishes it.  

Again, as each body is unique, and where each singer finds him/herself in development, so the support must begin where they are!  There are no easy fixes or quick answers.  It is about trial and error, discovery and work, focus and practice to create physical behavior!

Ultimately we must find strength without rigidity,  elasticity and buoyancy without collapse, flexibility and power without overpowering, anchoring without gripping...all at the same time with a body that is tied to gravity!!!

Support is never done.  Our physicality change day to day - and so our support needs to be acknowledged each day.  Recognition and observation is key to developing this ongoing physical manifestation of our voice's "home", otherwise, we compromise that which allows our voice to sing!

The ENTIRE body is involved in the support of our voice.  We cannot train everything at once, and so being patient to find out what behaviors need focus NOW is key.  

I view support as a strength and an elasticity.  My students hear about elasticity A LOT!!  But elasticity cannot release without being connected to something.  Therefore, I often talk about the physicality of support as an intricate pulley-system of muscle and bone - where something releases, somewhere else it tugs to create that elastic buoyancy that allows for CHANGE and MOVEMENT to embody the movement of vibration!

I believe in a strong CORE.  If the core is not strong, the pulley system will tighten and will not release with power.  With a strong core there is ACTIVITY and ENERGY as opposed to pressure or flabbiness!  Strength is not about push or jerk, but rather, discovering length, movement and balance in the muscles and in doing so, also incorporates the bones that create structure for that system!

If your goal is to develop a "full bodied voice" in the truest sense of the word, then you must developed a full bodied support.  As with ANY physical training, this takes time, patience, focus and creating a training plan.  Physical behavior needs focus and work, but it also needs rest and recovery.  I often use gym training as an example.  Trainers will tell you never to build on the same muscle group 2 days in row; they need time to recover and in the recovery is the development!  Voice and support is no different.  Build behavior so it is reliable and exists without thought.  It exists because you have made a DECISION to build it.

The physical manifestation of support balances, anchors, stretches, shapes and flexes in order to stay pliable for the intensity of your breath and vibration.  As that physicality develops reliability, the intangibles of breath and vibration begin to feel tangible.  And then the entire body sings!

Find out where you are.  Find out what you need.  Read, explore, gain knowledge, learn your terms, find those muscles and what they are meant to do.  And THEN, the real discovery begins!!  What does YOUR body do?  Reading about it will not develop it. DOING it will develop it. What does your body do with your sound and your breath? Have you discovered the differences between tension and release? Between pressure and tug? Between holding and strength? How do you create the best possible elasticity and strength for your voice to inhabit?Can you describe it? Can you change it? Can you develop it?  THAT is up to you!  One step at a time...One day at a time!

Friday, September 25, 2009

What is Fair?

Friday musings...

As a child and teenager, when frustrated, I remember saying "This isn't fair!!!!" and my father very calmly responding simply, "Who said life was fair?"

As we develop our craft and our artistry, if we decide we want to pursue a career in this business, we must begin to recognize the reality within the dream.

Our business is not objective.  Our business is subjective and full of human beings.  Human beings are fallible. They make mistakes; they have egos; they lack imagination or knowledge; they are biased or prejudiced; 

Our business is subjective and full of human beings.  They are open to change; they can embrace new ideas; they are creative; they are open; they adjust and respond.

So ultimately, ANYTHING is possible and NOTHING is possible.  How do you choose to deal with it?

Is it fair? What is fair?  Who said it would be fair?

So, how do we maneuver the mine field?  How do we find our place?

If we recognize the realities we need to face, it isn't about fairness but how we choose to function within these realities.

Are you willing and able to recognize the reality of where you are?  If you are a lyric soprano - guess what? You are in a talent pool that is one of the largest.  Is it fair? Who cares! IT IS. So are you going to complain and whine, or are you going to be the best lyric you can be?  There is no commerce in whining and complaining that tenors are hired if they have a pulse and you can't get arrested because their voice type is more rare.  The tenor is never going to be in competition with you!  You are wasting energy and time and not dealing with a reality!!! So, if you are a lyric soprano like everybody else, how are you going to recognize the truth of where you are and where you need to be? How do you create a reality and place for yourself?

Self honesty isn't always easy, but it is CRUCIAL in our business.  Artists must be prepared and prepare for self-honesty, and self-observation.  What are we truly capable of?  Where is our talent best served? Have we developed our potential enough to be working? Where do we find work? If we find ourselves in a fach or type that is saturated, what is it about us that is unique and could set us apart?


If we are not willing to see ourselves, the self-delusion continues and we continue to to spin our wheels.  

This is not about 2nd-guessing, this is about asking the true questions of self and quit making excuses for why you aren't doing what you'd like to do.  

If you want an easy, simple, uncomplicated lifestyle, this business is not for you.  Sing because you love to, but find something else to explore!

If you cannot move past the inconsistencies of this business and refuse to be flexible in discovering your reality, then you are getting in your own way.

If nothing is fair, then everything is fair game.  You discover the reality of the game, and find a way to play it that doesn't compromise your integrity.

Let's continue with the lyric soprano example:  what sets you apart?  What can you develop within your craft and your artistry that is uniquely you?  Perhaps it's your look; perhaps it's your dramatic intelligence; perhaps instead of the usual lyric repertoire, you begin to make a mark in more obscure repertoire for your fach;  

When it isn't fair, it's time to get creative!! It's time to get determined! It's time to challenge the mindset of self and of the business itself!  

We can whine and cry and be childish and say it's unfair, or we can DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  We can DO SOMETHING WITH IT.  

Honesty first.  Where am I? Where do I want to be? Why? Do I have the talent, focus, drive, psyche to be there?  If not, where would my combinations of talent and personality be best served?  Can I accept that and work with it?

Time to get busy.  Time to discover. Time to be real.  Or move on...and know if you move on, it's okay too.  

Dare to discover WHO you are, WHY are you pursuing this, and WHERE you need to be, and HOW you can be there fully.  

REAL is what being an artist is all about.  Delusion is not artistry.  Discover your authentic self and LEAD with that.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Website is LAUNCHED

My new website has launched today!

The multi-talented Natalie Neckyfarow  (who happens to be a student of mine!) has a wonderful website design site called Creative City Design  and she has been patient and professional and has created a wonderful site for me!!!!

Just wanted to share - hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Is it LIFE or are you excuse-ridden?

Sunday musings...

This question comes up in my own life from time to time, so I shall share from a personal perspective to give this context...

I am building a one-woman show. I have been writing and re-writing the context and direction and then setting it aside, coming back to it, re-writing, setting it aside, considering music that will settle in, setting it aside. It is more of a concert with monologue - but it has yet to be finished.

I am getting tired of myself! Am I making excuses for not finishing it and getting it up on its feet and if so, why?! And then my wise husband proceeded to once again, explain how my schedule is 16-18 hour days and my focus is primarily on teaching right now and I commute and I travel to several cities to teach during the year. So there is not open-ended time to work on this show consistently, and if I want it done, it'll get done! I need to be patient with myself. Until there is more than 24 hours in a day, unlimited energy and unlimited muse, I am defined by my life where this process is concerned!

We all need that outside voice to remind us where we are! I am NO exception!!

So - my life takes up - my life!! And I make no excuses for it. I get frustrated sometimes, but I continue to find what I need to do in order to DO it.

So based on my own questions, frustrations, realizations and growth, I came to this blog topic today. Perhaps I will be somebody's "outside voice" as my husband is often mine!

The first question is this: "What are you saying you are doing?" And the follow question is quickly "And what are you ACTUALLY doing?"

If you say you are an actor/singer first - are you living your life that way? Whether you are pursuing a career or whether you are pursuing your artistic spirit with a parallel life, how are living?

Excuses often come from fear or insecurity. Excuses are a protection mechanism of sorts. However, this mechanism can begin to loop and create a false sense of development. Excuses often "protect" a reality we are unwilling, unable or scared to acknowledge.

Then the question is: "Are you ready to pay attention to your behavior and your language?"

If we are artists, developing artists, whether we are pursuing a career or not, we MUST have a capacity to tell the truth - and that capacity has to start with ourselves. If we are unable or unwilling to begin to see what is true in ourselves, we are creating a deception that is not artistically driven. Sometimes the truth is hard to see and take it, but by confronting it, it gives us knowledge and a choice to make a decision and ACT on that knowledge! Artists do not sleep-walk through their lives. They look at the what is most difficult to see and touch it and act on it. Sometimes those realities are more about US than it is about what is out there.

So what is excuse and what is life?

Are you saying you are an artist and that you want to pursue a career? Let's be really obvious. Are you studying? Are you going to classes? How are you answering this? Is your answer yes/I am trying or is your answer giving an excuse? A "but"?

If you recognize that you study when you can because you are still paying rent and need your day job and can't afford to study weekly, then that is LIFE. If you say "I would but..." that is an excuse!

Do you book lessons, classes and then not show? Cancel at the last minute? Is that not an excuse? So the question is simply: What are you afraid of? Start telling the truth to yourself!! If you do not, somebody else will start telling you the truth, and there will be no filter!! If a teacher or coach begins to see the excuse-train, they simply do not have time to keep space for you. They recognize you as someone who has not made a DECISION about WHY you are doing what you are doing, or someone who has not committed to HOW they can do what they say they want to. Wanting to and DOING are not the same thing!!

What about when you are in that lesson or that class? Do you do the work, or do you preface everything with an excuse? As teachers of ANY discipline, we don't need to know why you can't do something - that is why you are there!!! TO LEARN HOW!!

Again, excuses develop out of insecurity. So why are you insecure? What scares you? If you make excuses, you have not confronted that in yourself yet. It's time to acknowledge that and deal with, or it becomes a crutch and will completely debilitate your growth as an artist, as a performer and as a human being.

Excuses are passive and weak. Artists need to ACT - they need to DO. We must learn to take our work seriously and not take ourselves so seriously. It is the WORK that stands.

I have a studio filled with many types of singers from many genres and many lives! Why? Because it doesn't matter if you are a career-building singer, a vocational singer, an actor exploring his/her singing voice, a part-time career singer etc - as long as you are COMMITTED TO YOU.

Your and your life will determine where you need to be. Your work and commitment to that work and that development is determined by YOU.

If you are hiding in your excuses, then what is that telling you? What are you afraid of? Finding out what you are capable of? Finding out maybe this isn't the life for you?

Guess what? It's okay. It's okay to find out you want to be elsewhere and still sing cause you just simply love to sing! Having and pursuing a career isn't for everybody! And it's okay to discover you've been holding yourself back because of fear and insecurity and work through that and make a DECISION to drop the excuses and FIND THE TRUTH!

The truth may not be what you think you want to hear. But what are the excuses doing? The truth will give you an opportunity to have a life and create a life! Again, being an artist and being an artist pursuing a career are NOT the same thing. It is OKAY to be one and not the other. It is OKAY to have YOUR LIFE and not the life you think you should or feel obligated to have. Have the life you have.

DARE TO LIVE YOUR REALITY and quit making excuses for it.

Do you really want to go to lessons and classes? Do you really want to pursue this and if so, to what capacity? DARE TO BE HONEST. Why do you audition? Why do you make excuses about auditions? When you walk into a "professional" space, what is your sense of yourself? What are the first words out of your mouth? Are you apologizing (excuse) or are you ready to work (life!)?

Quit making excuses and LIVE! MAKE A DECISION! Artists cannot be beige - they must live VIBRANTLY. Are you? It is a yes/no question - anything else is an excuse!!! See???

Excuses stop you from growing - but life gives you truth and answers. The truth isn't always comfortable, but you can make a decision to CREATE it into something you LIVE.

Pay attention to your language and your reaction and your action - or lack of it. It will show you very quickly whether life is busy or excuses are stopping you from living. It is up to YOU ALONE to make a decision as to whether you acknowledge it or not, and in acknowledging what action you take to embrace it or change it. Personal responsibility is key.

DARE TO LIVE!!! Even when it's unsure. As you begin to claim your life, the insecurities become unnecessary, and the life you live will become SURE.

A p.s. - since I spoke a little more about "me" today (!!!)
A great colleague of mine, Chris Foley, helped me figure out the upload things so I am sharing with you two songs from my album, Taking My Turn! And these two tunes may make it into my one-woman show!!! Click and enjoy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

So You Say You Teach Voice...

Saturday musings...

This question comes up rhetorically often:" Why in our discipline are there so many who think they can just start teaching, and why do people go to them?"

Is it uniquely voice? Perhaps not, but it often happens in the voice discipline because hacks can hide a little more easily than if they were trying to teach an external instrument like piano or violin or an external discipline like dance. It would become very apparent very quickly if you could actually "do" the discipline you were trying to teach!

Teaching voice isn't just about hanging out your shingle!! What do you know? What can you DO?!

And as the person wanting to study - what are you looking for? Whether you are beginner singer or a budding professional or a professional you need to know what you NEED and what you are SEEKING. If you don't know, then you have some work to do!

If you are looking for the cheapest teacher - you need to do something else. We need to recognize the difference between the COST of something and the VALUE of something. What do you VALUE? Realize that first, and then find what you can afford!

Recognize that cheap doesn't necessarily mean bad, but expensive doesn't necessarily mean good either! The philosophy of a teacher will eliminate any doubts. If they don't have one - there's your answer!! If the value of that teacher's time is what you are looking for, but the cost is out of your price range find out how you could make it work - maybe you will have to study less often, but you will get what you NEED!

What says you can teach voice? A degree? Singing in the church choir? A "pretty" voice? You do well at karaoke? You took a few lessons?

This does not make a voice teacher.

As with any discipline, you need knowledge on many levels and ONGOING KNOWLEDGE. People are putting their vocal lives in your hands. They have one psyche, one set of vocal cords and they are trusting you with that. It is not something to do 'for fun'.

Do you know your vocal and physical terminology? Do you know what it means? Do you know what it sounds like? Do you know how to translate it? Do you know how to demonstrate it? Do you know how to develop it so you are teaching the individual and not material?

If I was studying dance and the dance instructor couldn't explain and/or demonstrate certain steps or positions, I would have a red flag go up; if they couldn't determine what I was doing and give me the instruction of how to make it right or better or stronger, another red flag would go up;

Perhaps one of the reasons there are many "unqualified" voice teachers out there is because this intrinsic instrument is carried with us. We use our voices in most circumstances in some way or other; to someone uninitiated, it doesn't look that difficult (!) or time consuming (!) and you don't need to invest in a piano, a violin, tap shoes, leotards...

Oh how wrong and how naive!

It is simply because voice is so intrinsic that it needs even more professional attention! And that professional attention needs acknowledgement. Singers who are just starting, are young, are from another discipline (acting, dance, instrumentalist) should never assume they don't need an experienced professional teacher!!! These teachers are not just for professional singers! ANY singer pursuing study needs to be with somebody who truly knows what they are doing!

And professional and semi-professional singers need to recognize that it isn't always the "name" teacher that is better than a teacher who has decided not to be so politically savvy!

This is a huge topic - and I am just speaking overview right now...

Perhaps these so-called teachers "teach" because they think it's easy money; and perhaps people go to them because it's cheap, or it's easy, or it makes them feel good. Okay - but that isn't teaching and that isn't studying voice!

The study of voice is a life-long commitment; The teaching of voice is a life-long commitment. COMMITMENT to the development of the discipline is key.

In Canada, (for instance) having your grade 8 voice from the Royal Conservatory doesn't make you ready to teach voice! Having studied the Royal Academy's exam system in voice doesn't mean you are ready to teach voice! Being a soloist in the Honor Choir system doesn't mean you can teach! Even having a degree in voice performance or vocal studies does not make you ready to teach voice or be a voice teacher!

As teachers WE ARE RESPONSIBLE to develop our knowledge and our ability to translate that knowledge. As students WE ARE RESPONSIBLE to seek out that knowledge.

If you say you teach voice - prove it. Don't hide or pretend or make it up as you go. LEARN HOW! COMMIT to it!

If you are looking for a real teacher - really SEEK IT OUT. Don't assume; don't get lazy; find out what you need and look for it and find it!

Great teachers need to be great students! Great teachers keep learning in order to teach! Great teachers keep DOING in order to know! Great teachers require great commitment - from themselves and those that entrust them with their vocal lives. Great teachers KNOW and SEEK KNOWLEDGE and SHARE THAT KNOWLEDGE OPENLY.

Great teachers take this responsibility seriously and takes each singer that enters their studio with care and humanity, and imparts knowledge and reason and clarity. Anything less is worth nothing, no matter what it costs.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Warming Up Vs. Working Out!

Friday musings...

What are the reasons for warming up and for working out the voice?

If singing is an athletic activity, and I truly believe it is, then both warming and up and working out are CRUCIAL for an instrument worthy of singing ANYTHING.

However, it is not the same thing.  Finding out what your instrument needs and how it responds is so important to how it develops and how it stays healthy.  Compare yourself to no one but your previous self!!  Every voice is unique; every body that it inhabits is unique; therefore, how that voice and body respond together will be uniquely yours.  It is your responsibility to discover that.

If we look at the athleticism of singing, warming up is not just about the voice, but about the body.  You would not expect a runner to simply stand on the start line and run the marathons, so,  why should we, as singers, expect the voice to just function without warming up the body?

Warming up is literally that - getting muscles and vibration to begin moving and stretching and creating a space in which to work and function.  Some days it takes longer than others, some days not as long!  The physicality determines this - are you sluggish, tired, rundown? Guess what? Your body will not respond as efficiently and thus, your warm up may take more time and more effort.  Find those warm ups that allow your vibration an opportunity to become tangible gradually, and that allow the entire body to engage in the activity!  

Many of the yoga and t'ai chi movements can be great base lines for vocal warming up.  As well, Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais alignment exercises can be incorporated for this purpose.  

PHYSICAL AWARENESS is KEY to warming up.  Recognize and acknowledge stiffness, tightness, sluggishness, and move through it! Don't value judge!  It is what it is, and wishing it otherwise, will not change a thing!  Whatever your body will give you is enough in that moment.  

The combination of both physical and vibratory stretching is necessary before any vocal work to give a much more honest assessment of how your voice works!  Don't cheat!!!  

Which takes us to the working out of the voice - the actual vocal building, technique development, technical behavior of your voice.  This again, has an athletic and multi-dimensional component!  Voice, in my opinion, is infused with muscular behavior, resonance balance and the psyche of the singer and the life experience of that singer!  This creates the individual "voice" and what it speaks from!  However, if the muscular behavior is not developed, the psyche of the singer will never have an opportunity to be tangible, so this behavioral development is again crucial!

Doing vocalises and exercises for the sake of them is useless.  WHY are you working a specific exercise? Like any athletic behavior, you must know what each exercise is working to achieve and why.  The physical behavior and the mind's direction and the imagination are the three balances to achieve technical behavior of any kind, and singing is no different!  Working out the voice is literally getting to the gym vocally!  What muscles are you working? Why? For what purpose? What is your voice needing?  What are you building toward?

Too many singers run their exercises and still can't sing!!! It's like going to the gym and going through a series of weight machines and seeing no results! IT HAPPENS if you don't know WHY you are doing specific exercises, and don't know how to create correct form and execution.  Muscles are built with specificity and focus.  The work out must be catered specifically to YOU and YOUR needs.  There is no "one size fits all" in vocal behavior, even though we all have the same muscles!  Physical work out has to fit you in physicality and fit you psychologically!!! A singer, as an athlete, is not just about the physicality, but how the psyche informs that physicality.  One cannot be separated from the other.

Warm up, and then work out!  And then...

warm down!!!! 

Ah, we forget about that don't we???? Even at the gym...and we pay for it!!! Give yourself time to release after your vocal workout - stretch and find that vocal and physical elasticity to allow a neutrality to occur and release you into the rest of your day!

Discover and explore!!! Enjoy the journey! Claim your physicality, claim your voice, claim where you are - and BE THERE.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Taking Charge

Saturday evening musings...

Taking charge of your development as a singer has come up in different forms this week.  Why are some singers so stubborn that they refuse to see who they stand in front of and who can help them discover their potential?  And then, why are some singers so timid they feel they need to ask permission to explore their potential?

These are the extremes perhaps, but we see singers that fall into each category and many categories in between.

Has it become the culture of the study of singing to relinquish your intelligence to the person in front of you?  Or has it become the culture of the study of singing to challenge and reject everything the person in front of you, just to prove...what?!

I believe it encouraging and empowering the spirit of artistry - however, let me make it clear:  it is IMPERATIVE each singer recognizes WHERE THEY ARE in the process of development!  Ironically, I often see the timidity and relinquishing coming from singers who actually have more knowledge and understanding of their instruments than they give themselves credit, and often see the attitude and challenge coming from the singers who don't know much yet...

There is no magic bullet in discovering your potential and your ability in your craft.  Whether you are insecure and it comes across as ego, or insecure and it comes across as weak, the key to discovering your potential and your ability in your craft is simply this: WORK.

Singing, developing the craft of singing, the skill of singing, the art of singing, the artistry of singing, takes WORK.  Physical work; intellectual work; emotional work; spiritual work; temperamental work!

Often, those singers who are most "successful" are those whose temperament balances the desire to learn and to be honest and to grow! These temperaments are not followers, but are often stubborn!!!   This stubbornness can move in different ways - can enhance, and can get in the way - but ultimately the desire to WORK and not allow "no" for an answer allows that singer an opportunity to DISCOVER SOMETHING about themselves and their craft!!

We have discussed finding the right teacher "fit" and how that changes throughout your career;  but we also must address the work and responsibility each singer must bring to their study and to the lesson itself.  Do you challenge instead of question?  Challenge YOURSELF, question your teacher to find the REASONS so you CAN challenge yourself!

A teacher or coach or conductor etc has AUTHORITY but they do not have power over you!  You choose to relinquish power or not;  I respectfully suggest you keep your power and recognize the authority.  If you find yourself challenging the authority, perhaps this is not a good match - and the "fit" of teacher/singer; coach/singer might have more to do with YOUR attitude as singer, than it does the teacher's.  Perhaps as you push, the teacher releases; Is that something that works for your development? Perhaps as you push, the teacher pushes back!!  Perhaps the AUTHORITY CHALLENGES YOU!  Are you up to the challenge? Are you willing to be challenged? Can you take what you dish out?

Take responsibility for what you take into your studies.  And then figure out HOW TO WORK.  Your "authorities" do not do the work for you.  They create a space to learn, they provide a knowledge and a basis to discover it - and then YOU THE SINGER must DO YOUR WORK and MAKE IT WORK!!

The timid singer in study who is needy often does not have the self-challenge but rather the self-defeating personality.  This is as damaging as the over-confidence of the challenging singer!  The timid singer needs to learn to WORK and TAKE CHARGE OF SELF or will either be steered and taken advantage of, or will disappear completely.  Authority will either mistreat their authority, or dismiss the singer completely.

It is up to EACH singer to find out WHERE THEY ARE in the psyche and WHERE THEY NEED TO BE!!! In this discovery, the singer needs to recognize their responses and their excuses;  their stubbornness and their pliability; their ability to see and their ability to diffuse;  their ability to recognize authority and delegate that appropriately; their ability to recognize power and strength and know the difference!

We are human. We make mistakes.  We make a CHOICE to fix or change that mistake.  If we have choice to make a change, we have a choice to see the truth about ourselves and our study and where we are!  The truth isn't always comfortable.  Singing isn't always comfortable.  Reality isn't always comfortable.

But if you call yourself an artist - you are RESPONSIBLE to REVEAL TRUTH about the world as it is reflected in your art.  If this is your responsibility, then the truth begins in you and about you!  YOU must be truthful about WHERE YOU ARE and what you NEED and WHERE YOU SEEK IT!

If you are with a teacher that does not challenge you in a way that you need - why are you there? If you are overly-sensitive to constructive criticism and your teacher is abusive, why are you there? If you have a question and you don't ask it, why are you there? If you know you are doing something incorrectly, why are you doing that?!?!?

Why are you not seeking ANSWERS to create the truth?!?!?!!?

This is your responsibility!!! The answers that are esoteric to organic to physical technical behavior are YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!!! Ultimately, YOU FIND YOUR OWN ANSWERS! If you do not, you cannot claim them.  If you cannot claim them, they were never yours.

Singing and the journey of singing is WORK.  It tasks you.  It is YOUR WORK. It is not the work of your teacher or coach.  They will provide the framework.  They will encourage.  They will challenge.  They will create safety in which to explore.

You, the singer, MUST DO THE WORK.  NO EXCUSES.  No complaining.  No work equals no true knowledge and understanding.  

Real champions get mad and they WORK HARDER!!! They don't give up!  They get mad, dig in, and FIND THE ANSWERS FOR THEMSELVES!!!

Yes, find your "team" - but more importantly, FIND YOU.  WORK AT YOU!  Dare to be honest with yourself, dare to get mad and DEMAND FROM YOURSELF THE BEST YOU HAVE!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Talent, Training and then what?

Friday musings...

So you have all this potential;  And you are doing your best to balance paying rent, taking lessons, coachings, and building the training of your craft - and...

How are you feeding yourself as an artist?  If you have all this talent and potential, and you have gone through initial training, and are auditioning and trying to pursue a do you feed the spirit of the artist?

Often we can get so wrapped up in what things cost that we forget what things are worth.

Being "trained talent" is not the same as being a "living artist".  If we want to pursue career as artist, we need both, but we can be running and doing so much that you forget to feed the spirit.  This is truly what 'starving artist' means.

So how do you feed your artistic spirit?  

Do you listen?  What do you listen to? When do you listen?  Feeding the artistic spirit requires time and space.  Do you listen to more than just singers who sing your repertoire?  Do you listen to more than singers? Do you seek out and find the music that moves you? Challenges you? Energizes you? Calms you? Moves you to tears?  Makes you dance?   

Do you listen as a focus and not just as a background?  

Do you create?  Do you find ways of creating and creative process outside of your singing?  Do you cook? Do you bake? Do you have a garden? Herbs? Do you write? Journal? short stories? plays? monologues? poetry?  Do you take time to find these creative outlets that feed your spirit fully?

Running from one audition to another does not feed your artistic spirit.  Running from class to class and lesson to lesson does not feed your artistic spirit.  YOU and ONLY YOU can feed that spirit.  

Do you observe? Do you go to museums? Do you go to art galleries?  Do you explore and discover color and texture and creative development of artists in other mediums?  Do you respond to that? How? Do you take the time to observe yourself, observing?

I cannot take credit for my husband, Thomas Young's brilliance - and he calls it "The 3 Ts - talent, training and temperament."  I shall use it here and share it with you - but I give him thanks publicly!  It is the TEMPERAMENT that separates those pursuing career only or are simply "trained" and those who are truly and deeply an artist.

And yet, an artist's temperament needs nurturing - in depth, in stillness, in breadth, in focus, in creative FORCE - that is beyond the talent and beyond the training.

If we do not recognize the FORCE of that temperament, we will starve it.  And if we starve it, the artistic spirit will shrivel up and die.  We must acknowledge the force of energy that is our artistic spirit and either feed it or abandon it.

You do not need tons of money to feed this spirit.  You need TIME, IMAGINATION and a willingness to EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES of YOUR SPIRIT.  

So you are talented; so you have done your training and continue to explore this as needed; 


Create your space.  Create how your spirit is nurtured and breathes and thrives.  


Create the reality of your temperament which then informs your talent and your training!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Know With Whom You are Studying!

Happy Labour/Labor Day!

This musing is really more geared toward those of you entering post-secondary as the season is upon us! You will be meeting your teachers and coaches for the first time perhaps; you will be auditioning and being placed in choirs, for productions and the like...a very busy time of year, and often overwhelming for those of you are new to this!

I respectfully suggest these things to you, as I believe it can put you further ahead and help you in the long run in your academic studies! Also, if you begin to consider some of these processes, perhaps it can continue on past academia and into real life!

Do you know with whom you are studying?  I don't just mean the name of the teacher, (please learn how to say it and spell it properly - as someone who gets her surname misspelled constantly!)  but what they are about!!

Whether you are entering a school of music, a department of music/drama/theatre with voice component, or a liberal arts college - it is your responsibility to find out who teaches there!  With the Internet at your disposal, there is absolutely no excuses for not having some biographical knowledge of your teachers and coaches! NONE!

I had a freshman walk into his first voice lesson with me, full of bravado, and say to me "So, what have you done?"  Not the best way to meet your teacher.  In fact, one of the absolute worst first impressions you can make!

Ask yourself this: How would you like your first impression to be with your teacher? your coach? your audition within your college experience?

These first impressions are so important and can set up a framework for you that is positive, or negative, depending on how you choose to function!

Getting to know WHO you will be/are working with will also give you a sense of how you want to be seen by them.  Knowledge is power - it is not intimidation!  You are at school, presumably to learn and grow - not to show how much you know!  However, knowing something about those you stand in front of, will put you in a much stronger position in every way!

Chances are, those who are in the position of teacher/coach/professor/conductor, have probably done a few things more than you have!  Leave the attitude at the door!  You might be nervous, feel vulnerable, but if you are prepared to do what you are there to do - then DO IT and show what you are capable of!

As teachers, we'd like to see what you are capable of; what you can do now; what your strengths seem to be;  we want to see pliability; we want to see openness; we want to see honesty;  we want to see promise and potential!  We don't want to see ignorance, attitude, delusion, lies,  defensiveness or plain stupidity!  Sadly, I can say this because I have seen ALL of these things.

When you meet your teacher and coach for the first time - being respectful does not mean clamming up!  Being respectful means being aware!  Know who you are meeting?  What have you found out? What excites you about working with this person? What questions do you have? What do you feel is important that the teacher or coach knows about you?  ASK! SPEAK!  The more communication there is, the better.  

When auditioning for productions/placements etc - know who will be at the table.  And then do your research!  Who are they? What have they done? Where have they been?  What are their expectations?

Present yourself honestly - as dishonest presentation will catch up with you quickly and will haunt you!  If you have little experience - it's okay! That's why you are there!!  

The more honesty you can develop within yourself, the more clarity you will have during lessons, coachings and rehearsals in order to discover fully what you are there to learn!

By taking your education into your hands NOW, you will create habits you can use throughout your artistic journey.  You will research and ask questions of all teachers, coaches, conductors, pianists, directors you come into contact with.  Let the questions you have grow from the research you've done - not from the lack of it!

Present yourself with acquired knowledge and information and keep asking for more!  Learn! Discover!  Every situation has the potential to learn something - never dismiss anything!!

Stay open to discover and you will!  But with all discovery, comes the work which YOU are responsible for!  When I work with a student who has taken to the time to find out a little bit about me as their teacher, I take that student more seriously.  


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ongoing Lessons/Workshops/Group Classes

Just a studio information entry, as my website is being updated and revamped.

My primary studio is in NYC.  I am always consulting with potential clients, so don't hesitate to contact me if you are looking for private lessons!

I have a satellite studio in Toronto Ontario Canada and am there 4 or 5 times a year for intensives as well as workshops.  Next "round" will be in early November.

I am in Los Angeles in mid-October - private sessions are filling quickly!

I am coming to Boston before the snow flies!!! Private sessions and one or two workshops - 
"Dramatic Character for the Opera Aria" and "Music Theatre Presentation" which will include opera singers working to include this genre in their audition work!

I have also been approached by many about teaching younger students.  I am considering this in group settings in NYC and would be by audition only as I want to keep the classes small.

If you are interested in any of these, please message me/email me privately for more information!

Best for the upcoming fall season!

What Do I Sing? Part 3: And with Whom?

Sunday musings...

As you begin to truly discover your LIFE and thus, your artistry, with whom do you sing?

And I am not talking colleagues, I am talking teachers and coaches.

If you speak to anybody who has been in our industry for more than a minute (!) - singers, actors, directors, conductors, teachers and coaches - you will find that we have ALL survived a teacher or coach who did not have our best interests at heart.

The key word is survive.  If we do not survive, we are doomed.  Sadly, it happens.  I have seen the collateral damage of this business all too often and it disgusts me and saddens me.

The collateral damage of spirit and talent does not come from an innate flaw in the artist, but rather, a vulnerability that was taken advantage of in such a way that there was no repair.  To me, this is criminal.  No person or institution has the right to do this, yet we see it all the time.

So, how do we survive?

We must know what we are entering and with whom.  We cannot trust blindly.  Trust is earned. We must DARE to ask questions of ourselves - and be aware EVERY step of our journey.  We cannot assume because somebody calls themselves a teacher, a coach, a school of music, that they are about providing for the singer what that singer needs.

Survival, and then, the ability to thrive, has to do with the ability to SEE CLEARLY, and in spite of what is thrown at us, we can move through and forward.

A marvellous dramatic soprano with whom I have the honour of working, Kristine Dandavino, was telling me this morning how she is canning tomatoes out of her garden today (her garden is one of her many passions!) and how she was seeing so many links between how plants grow and how it relates to singing:  a plant will try to find a way to grow - if one way doesn't work, it will bend another in order to get what it needs!  And ironically, she was finding the best tomatoes in the less than ideal locations and the tomatoes she had planted in what seemed to be ideal locations, were actually not thriving.

Why do I share this with you?  To simply illustrate the point, that just because it seems the best place to be as a singer, isn't always the case.  That it is up to YOU to determine where you need to be and where you ARE and who you put your trust in.  Nobody can do that for you.  And if you misplace your trust, (welcome to the real world!) you must have to fortitude to recognize that, and walk away or run screaming - whatever is appropriate!

There are marvellous teachers and coaches everywhere.  Also lurking in plain sight are those that are not there for the best interest of the singer.  Be it in private practice or at an institution, our business attracts all of them.  You , the singer are not responsible for the sanctity of an institution - you are responsible for yourself and your education!  You, the singer are not responsible for the mental or emotional well-being, or ego, of a teacher or coach over your development as an artist!!

This has nothing to do with fairness, cause guess what? When was life fair?  This has to do with morality, ethic and ultimately the survival and growth and development of you, the artist.

Lack of experience, vulnerabilities, insecurities can all feed into the teacher or coach or institution that does not look out for the singer's best interests.  

We all have vulnerabilities and insecurities.  No matter our experience, we must be willing and able to recognize them as fully as possible in order for that not to be a liability in our development!  

We can get played; we can be taken advantage of; but we ultimately must be honest with ourselves in order to find that survival energy that removes us from that situation swiftly and cleanly in order to heal and move on.

As important as it is to discover these mentors through private work or within the walls of an institution, as is it also imperative that we as singers discover truth about ourselves ON OUR OWN!!!!  If we do not, we will continually fall into traps and potholes.  After awhile, the exhaustion of those falls can collapse us and make decisions for us.

No one decides your life but YOU!  Ultimately, your artistic path and your artistic choices are YOURS! You decide where and with whom.  YOU DECIDE.  With decision comes great personal RESPONSIBILITY.  With responsibility comes KNOWLEDGE.  Knowledge is power.  Delusion is easy.  Knowledge takes time, takes work, and it often means getting dirt under your nails and sweating a bit.  Delusion is a facade that is created in order to project falsely.  Knowledge and truth is rooted and grounded and will survive, and when given the conditions, will thrive!

Do not put your vulnerabilities in the hands of an institution or a human being that does not treat them with respect and care.  Your artistic life and growth is yours.  Take charge of it fully. See clearly, look carefully.  Recognize that not everything that seems to be there is actually there.  Dare to stare at it until the glamour disappears and the reality emerges.  Dare to take the time and energy to find the soil that will allow you survival.  

Where do you need to be as an artist?  NEED TO BE??? Not where do you want to be, or would like to be, or are told to be, but where DO YOU NEED TO BE?

Dare to be there.  Dare to be honest and tell the truth to yourself about yourself.  You  then have the power to survive.  If you do not learn to survive, you will not.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What Do I Sing? Part 2: NOT YET!

Saturday musings...

how ironic that a young singer emailed me last night as I was thinking about part 2, only to ask me about the very thing I am blogging about today!

What do coaches and teachers mean when they say/suggest to you "not quite ready", "not yet"? In reference to auditioning/packaging/presenting/etc etc.

Those of you who are frustrated with that, we see you! Those of us who know why, are smiling.  We've all been there.  

I cannot be as specific as I might be one-on-one with this, nor as blunt (!) but I will definitely try to get the point!

First of all - if you have not ASKED why a coach and/or teacher says "not yet", then of COURSE you aren't ready!!!!  You are still in "student" mode, and have not yet moved into singer mode who is in charge of her/his  destiny!  Chances are, you don't ask questions in other aspects of your life either...which means, ultimately, no you aren't ready!

SO ASK!!!  But,  before doing so, make sure you are truly ready to hear the answer.  As singers, and artists, we must have and develop the capacity to see and hear the truth - ABOUT OURSELVES.  If we cannot, not only are we not ready, but we need to move elsewhere.  Being an artist is about discovery of self and discovery of truth.  It is not about delusion, it is not about "poor me".

The "not yet" could be a technical thing.  Perhaps the technical behavior of your voice isn't ready yet for the repertoire your voice should be singing at this point in your development.  Remember, voice is like fine wine - it matures with AGE as far as the physical behavior is concerned.   What are you working on in the technical realm to prepare you fully?

The "not yet" could be a repertoire decision.  Perhaps your voice has made an interesting journey and the choice of repertoire is still something that is up in the air.  Making choices for fach/type without sub-categorizing can take time!  Making choices to detail where you are in your career - just beginning, grad school, artists programs, emerging artist, C/D/B/A houses - all can play into that choice!  

The "not yet" could be a musical and stylistic decision.  Perhaps you need time to discover the musicality and the musicianship skills of your repertoire. Perhaps shaping a phrase has not become an organic response yet, even though your technical legato is developed, for example.  Perhaps the stylistic concerns are not yet informed enough for performance.

The "not yet" could be a dramatic and presentational decision.  Perhaps your technical skills are strong and the choice of repertoire infuses  well with your technical ability.  And perhaps you on stage is like watching paint dry.  Or worse.  Or just beige.  Perhaps you haven't found the multi-dimensional and multi-layered art of performance and presentation yet, thus whatever you "gifts" are and strengths are will be lost in the lack of the communication of those strengths!

And, what is the "not yet" for?  What are you presenting for? For whom? Why? Why not?

You need to ask the questions of yourself, and your coaches/teachers in order to discover where you are and what you DO!

Artistry is also something that needs nurturing.  But it needs nurturing and growth from more than just practicing every day!  It needs to be fed from LIVING!  Living takes TIME and it takes EXPERIENCE!

Just because you can read the words for the characters of Hamlet, or Lady M, or King Lear doesn't mean you are ready to play them!  Why?  What life experience informs those characters to allow them to be given full life on stage?  Do you have that yet? Can you inform a character fully because you have experienced not what the character has, but have experienced LIFE?

So too, as a singer, you must give yourself time to experience/time to live!

If all you do is go to a day job or go to class and come home and practice - I must say, with all due respect, you aren't living yet! You are creating a narrow existence that has nothing to do with artistry or craft.  You are doing nothing to inform what you say you want to do - that is - be a singer and an artist!

Your art is informed by what you do and experience or the lack of it.  Your VOICE is informed not just by its physicality but the life that resides in that psyche that is YOU!

TAKE THE TIME TO LIVE!!!!  You are not "behind" or "on hiatus" and no, ADs, conductors, GMs will not wonder if you've had a "hole" in your career - because they don't care WHEN they want to hear NOW!  Can you sing/can you create NOW?!  Can you excite/can you stir NOW?!

Have you loved? Have you had your heart broken? Have you mended? Have you lusted? Have you followed through with that?!?!?  Do you know what loss is? Do you know what pain is? Do you know what finding true love is? Do you know contentment? Have you laughed/cried hysterically? Have you birthed a child? Have you fathered a child? Have you mentored? Have you been responsible for something or someone besides yourself? Have you had to choose?and the list goes on and on and on...Have you developed your sensuality - in the truest sense of that word - through taste and smell and sight and touch and listening!  We don't have to experience the same things, but we have to EXPERIENCE SOMETHING!!!  

Do you do MORE than listen to your arias and operas or your music theatre shows?  How vast is your musical understanding?

Do you spend time going to museums and art galleries and allowing a great painting of Monet or Van Gogh, or a sculpture of the 15th century touch you?  

Do you travel?  Do you read?  If you can't afford to travel, where do you go in your mind?!  Do you read about places? About lifestyles?  About people?  

Do you go to plays? Concerts? Shows? That have NOTHING to do with what you are pursuing?

Do you have other passions in your world? Cooking? Sailing? Sports? T'ai chi? Wine tasting? Interior design? Animals? Car racing? Football? Film noir?  Photography? what??!?!

What excites you????  What makes you MAD?!?!??!  What sparks you and energizes you?

More often than not, "not yet" simply means - go DO something this season that is NOT singing.   LIVE A LIFE!  Live truth; Live passionately; do not sleepwalk; do not create a rut; dare to make a mistake; dare to make a choice! dare to enjoy and discover and see outside the box...

Living life takes time and experience.  Only when you discover HOW to live your life will your voice be informed fully.  And, the beauty is, it continues to inform it and morph with that life being lived!

If your coaches/teachers are saying "not yet" - perhaps its time to discover for yourself WHO you are and who you want to be - and claim ALL of it.  Quit making excuses!  By developing your life fully, your voice responds; your technique responds; your musicality responds; your authenticity is on stage AND off.  If you have to ask "why not yet" then ask it.  Be open to the response.  The truth is important, and what is more important, is what you DO with it.  If you have to ask at all - then you must discover your "not yet" fully!

It is never too late, and never too early - so the challenge is simply this: are you ready to start claiming your LIFE - because that's what an artist does - LIVES.  

Friday, September 4, 2009

So What Do I Sing? Vocal Physicality...

Friday looks like this is going to be the first of several in this series...

I look at the fall season as my "new year" - an opportunity to re-invent, to observe, to clear out, to re-focus...

Even though I consult with singers year-round, the fall often is a time to re-evaluate and re-discover and thus, a discussion like this seems appropriate...

Often I am asked "can I sing anything I want?"  The short answer is "sure", and my next question is "Why?" and  then the reality needs to intervene!!!

Let's be clear: if your technique is built well, your voice will be able to sing the notes of anything you choose!  HOWEVER, that doesn't make it a good idea!!!

Your voice is physical and it's athletic!  As singers, we must be willing and able to be realistic about what that physicality can do successfully.  If you want to pursue a career, you need to discover what that instrument can do,  and then what you need to do to continue to develop into the singer you choose to be within the best destiny of that instrument!

The physicality of the instrument determines much, but it also  takes time to fully discover.  Singing is not instant.  It is physical behavior and as it is muscular, it needs time to develop and work properly.  Just like going to the gym!!! One trip ain't gonna give you muscle definition or fat reduction!!!  No matter how much you want it, if you don't put in the time, it's just not happening!

The physical development of the voice and the athleticism it demands will take dedication, time, and consistent work and thought!

As the physicality of the instrument develops, the physicality will determine what the voice could be best suited for...

Not all voices are operatic voices, just like not all voices are R&B voices, or theatre voices, or jazz voices!  Some voices have the physicality to sing several genres, but some do not.  

Have the courage to discover WHAT YOU HAVE!!!  What you might want may not be reasonable.  Dare to be realistic and dare to be truthful with yourself.

Just because you want it, doesn't make it a good idea.

It is your responsibility to really discover and and BUILD that instrument!  Find out what it can do!  Find out what you need to do to build it, to develop it, to sustain it.  

Repertoire is simply notes on a page, until you have an instrument developed enough to lift those notes off the page and breathe life into it!  You will not know what notes to lift until the instrument has developed substantially enough to give you a true sense of what you can actually DO.

The vocal physicality of an instrument has to do with the mechanism and its development, with the shape of the resonators,  with the physical athleticism of the body, with the body's ability to suspend, to support, to elasticize, to create buoyancy, to develop intrinsic muscle groups as well as larger muscle be AWARE and to create physical behavior.

What can the instrument do in its natural state, and what is it capable of doing in its developed state? This is your goal - to determine by work and TIME and development WHAT YOUR VOICE CAN DO!!!

Often when we discover the TRUTH of our instrument, the reality of what to sing becomes much more acceptable responsibility!  

The truth of vocal physicality takes time, dedication, and focus.  It isn't going to suddenly "happen"! There is no "instant" in vocal physicality, no matter how badly you want it.

Knowing what to sing means you have to INVEST IN YOURSELF.  Invest in your body, your mind, your spirit, your study, your development!  Investment takes time - there is not instant gratification.  The gratification comes from knowing you are on a path of discovery that will lead you toward a recognition and understanding of what you are truly capable of, a truthful assessment of what could BE.

Dare to discover THAT.  

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dealing With Rejection

Thursday evening musings...

Be it music theatre, straight theatre or opera - we have chosen a profession that has has an unemployment rate of 95% according to SAG statistics.  We are over-saturated by people wanting and trying to be in the business and the number of jobs vs the number of us out there is ridiculously not in our favor!

Now, don't get me started on how many people are there and shouldn't be...this whole "I wanna be famous" and no craft drives me to drink! But I digress...

Given our odds, and the nature of our business, what we can almost bank on is the rejection we face.  NOT getting the job happens much more often than getting it.

NOT getting seen for an audition happens daily.  NOT being heard for an audition happens daily.  NOT finding an audition we are actually 'right' for happens daily.  

Then, IF we get seen/heard,  getting a callback isn't guaranteed.  And then IF that callback comes, or heaven forbid, several callbacks for the same show come, and THEN you are told, "Thanks, but we've gone another way", the rejection can be, interesting.

How are you dealing with that?  

This is PRECISELY why I DEMAND a professionalism and a sense of proportion from my corner of the business.  This is why I think it is morally and ethically wrong to not recognize and respect the sanctity of the audition room.  Performers are vulnerable in the moment of audition.  They are sharing and evoking, not just interviewing, and deserve the respect of just having the guts to walk in and stand in front of somebody who will make a yay or naye decision about what they see/hear in 60 seconds.  

First, and foremost: I applaud you as artists.  What we do is unique and full of risks.  Those risks allow you to create, to feel, to BE, but they also allow you to discover self-doubt, darkness of spirit, fatigue, disappointment, disillusionment, vulnerability and bitterness.

Allowing ourselves to feel all of that and be open to it all takes GREAT COURAGE.  YOU HAVE GREAT COURAGE to DO and BE WHO YOU ARE!!!!!

It takes great courage to walk into an audition space and open up.  As I am consulting with singers during this season, it takes great courage to walk into a studio and speak to a teacher about WHO you are and what you want to discover and then SING!

Dealing with rejection in this business can be tricky.  We are told not to take it personally, and on an intellectual level, we can understand that, but it still can get under your skin, and itch or tug a bit.  

Learning HOW to acknowledge the reality of what we DO within the business is primary.  

Again, I say to you - being an artist is one thing;  being an artist trying to make a living in this business is something else.  They are different beasts.  If you truly are an artist, then NO MATTER WHAT, YOU ARE AN ARTIST.  You do not need a job to validate that.

Dealing with rejection within the business of singing, has to remain there - in the business.  We must acknowledge that it stings, it bites, and then in the acknowledgement, we can release it.  However, the rejection is NOT about the artist within.  It is about the external business.

Decisions in business, and ours is no different, are made in ways and for reasons we are not privy to and have no control over.

We can either bitch about it and get drawn into the mire of mediocrity and whine about it, and  "poor me" a lot, or we can MAKE A DECISION to live our lives, and thus, our craft, in a particular way, that leads us.  It may not get us the job, but it will create an energy that is more positive around us, draw the people we need to us, and allow us to live with AUTHENTICITY!
It's okay to be irked by rejection, even when you know it's not personal.  Pretending it doesn't bug you isn't real either.  Recognition of self is the KEY.  Respond and then learn where that response is best served.  

When I was a growing up and had a disappointment, I went through a ritual of "blowing out the fuses" that my parents always supported and allowed.  I screamed, I cried, I made blanket statements of "I hate this! I am never doing it again! I am doing something else!"  and then I went for a walk, or slammed my bedroom door, and within an hour, I was right back at the piano working on something else.  My father was so patient with me but he knew I NEEDED to do that.  I couldn't say "oh well" because that wasn't me.  It isn't me now - but I believe I have evolved a little over the last 30 years!!!!  My responses still respond!! They are just a little more appropriate to my age and experience!

So, RESPOND to the sense of rejection.  Acknowledge it.  Put it in the perspective it deserves and then leave it there.  It does not deserve more weight than it needs.  It does not need brooding or days or what-ifs;  it needs proper balance and proper acknowledgement.  

Often by saying - "wow that sucked."  and everything else you need to say (!) you put that rejection into perspective IMMEDIATELY.  When that happens, it releases you fully.  You have the power of perspective and perception.  You are being honest, and you are being true to the situation and your feelings, and your place in the moment.

If you are the artist you say you are, rejection will NOT hold you back if you find a place to let it rest.

Artistry is a way of BEING.  That creative spirit will want to move and morph and develop.  There is no time limit or expiry date for artistry!!!  

If you keep your business and your artistry very clearly defined, when it intersects, you will not be side-swiped when a rejection comes your way.

Remember, YOU HAVE CHOSEN THIS LIFE.  Rejection is part of the fine print. 

Acknowledge it; feel it; release it;

Taking is seriously - fine.  Taking it personally - not fine.  

When I was adjudicating a music festival one year, I overheard a singer say "I am not winning - she hates me!"

I addressed it publicly.  I simply said this: "These are my decisions, based on what I hear, based on my expertise.  I cannot hate you, because I simply do not know you well enough to hate you!!"

Rejection is business. Rejection is NOT personal.  It is NOT about you.  It is NOT about artistry.  It is about BUSINESS.  Business is NOT artistry.  Business is business.