Monday, November 9, 2009


Monday morning musings...

What constitutes honesty in performance?

As many of you hit the audition season - be it opera or music theatre - what is the underlying truth you work from?

So often, we forget that this truth, this honesty of self, and honesty FOR self! We impose upon, instead of release from within.

Never assume. Assumptions get us all into trouble in that audition room. Assume nothing from the other side. Assumptions and wonderings take the focus and energy away from your preparation and what you are there to do!! "They will want to hear it THIS way" is the biggest fallacy going...

You do not know how they want to hear it/see it/experience it!!! And THEY might not know either!! The questions need to be asked thus, in my opinion: what are you doing this for? what can you do? Are you being authentic and singing from a place of honesty?

If honesty walks into the room - in persona, in preparation, in truth of what your voice IS not what you want it to be or think it SHOULD be, and you connect to that honesty and purpose and truth WHILE you sing, then what they "want" matters not - to you OR them! What they "get" will be real. Real is honest. Real has potential. Real can be worked with and developed.

Finding truth and honesty of self takes time and experience. It takes guts. It takes courage. If you truly are an artist, you must commit to that or you are not truly an artist!! Artists reveal, they do not hide. Artists discover and claim - and the honesty they must claim first and foremost is with self. Self is what infuses the art, and embodies the sound and the character and the VOICE!

Who are you when you walk into the room? Are you an individual, are you unique? Then let us experience that!! No apologies, no excuses, no disappearing...BE YOU.

Perhaps that is the first step - to discovering who "you" is right now - and to BE in that place and frankly, rejoice in it!

Quit "trying", and JUST BE. Be honest with self; be honest with voice; be honest THROUGH voice; be honest with character and intention;

As one allows the honesty of self to come forth, the idea of vulnerability changes. Vulnerability isn't a bad thing!!! It is a safe place of exploration! Honesty fuses that with power, and the creative place of self explodes and radiates and vibrates a reality that holds itself in position!

Don't pretend - for pretend in the audition room reads phony. Phony reads "not ready yet". And you've lost them.

YOU ARE ENOUGH. HONESTLY. Just claim it, develop it, grow it, nurture it, discover it, and don't second-guess it. Claim the potential, claim the flaws and work with both. Just as you find the balance of dark and light in your voice, so find the balance of dark and light in your person and be honest with it fully. If you claim your honesty, then you have the chance to truly discover the voice you say you have. The voice is only honest when YOU are. Otherwise, you are both hiding. And why???? What's so bad about you???

BE YOU when you walk into that room. Who is that? Find out!!! Don't be something you THINK you should be; or something you think they want; They want YOU. So let that lead. That is enough, and that is the beginning!!!

Being you is safer than you think! And it's also freeing and liberating when you can just be you, and just SING!


  1. Thank you so much for this, Sis! That is the most important thing that the singer needs to know. It is amazing how much singers struggle with this issue and consequently change their voices to appear as something they are not, and low and behold the true voice and the true person behind it are so much more interesting and so much more visceral and so much more touching than anything we can put on!

    Yet another awesome post!

  2. Wow... thanks Susan for such inspiring words! Great advice.

  3. And yet, what does one do when one is (somewhat) Buddhist and does not truly believe that the body, the personality (meaning "habitual/predictable behaviors and thoughts"), the mind, beliefs, etc. actually constitute a "self?" Finding a sense of self can be more troublesome if one doesn't believe that a "self" truly exists.

    Who am I? It depends so much on my circumstances. Sometimes I'm a loving, compassionate friend. Sometimes I'm a sarcastic, defensive jerk. How true is it to believe that I must find the behaviors and thoughts that I have the most often, and conclude that those represent my self, and limit myself only to portraying that self?

    I think we all have every part of the human potential within us from Ghandi to Hitler and everything in between, but of course the proportions can differ drastically.

    Having said that, as someone involved in the arts, I still know exactly what you mean by "being yourself." So really my question is, how would a teacher convey the idea of "being your genuine self," whatever that is, to a student who didn't really believe in a "self?" Would such a person simply be unable to perform genuinely and convincingly?

  4. "Self" is a construct - performing genuinely and convincingly would have to be determined by that student. And my question would be - if you don't believe in "self", how would one re-interpret that? And why would you want to be a performer? All rhetorical of course...