Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm Just Another Lyric Soprano...

Friday musings...

I worked with a talented, beautiful lyric soprano in Toronto last week (she knows who she is!) for the first time. She introduced herself thus:"...and I'm just another lyric soprano..."

I challenged her - on her language, and then on into her technique and body - and we had a FABULOUS session and discovered MORE of herself!!! She is anything but "just"!

So, I am using her language as a defining moment for many singers.

Often, we are frustrated by being told we have "potential" and "just isn't ready yet" and we seem to dance that dance in circles til we are dizzy!!! How do we break that dance and move forward?

As young artists, and emerging artists, we are often not aware how our LANGUAGE - verbal and physical/body - reveals more about where we are than our voices! It is our LANGUAGE that reveals, and dismisses us more quickly than anything else.

Okay, so the reality is if you are a lyric soprano, there are many in that fach. And my question is: so what???? Why should that eliminate you from the possibility of development, of work?

There is only one YOU. Therefore, your life force, your energy, your thought, your process, your experience infuses your talent and artistry. Your voice is unique because YOU are unique. You belittle your uniqueness when you make a decision to eliminate your potential by your language. You are never "just". YOU ARE. It is enough.

Claim what you are, what you have, what you could be. NEVER APOLOGIZE for it!!! You can achieve much if you claim and are proud of what you are, instead of making excuses for it. Potential turns into reality when we quit hiding behind a possibility and actually make it ACTION.

So if you find yourself in a fach that is overwhelmingly full - what will you do with it? Give up? Make excuses? Wallow? Apologize? Or will you CLAIM THAT FACH AS YOURS????

What does your voice represent? What does it DO? What does it POSSESS? How does it function? How do you engage it and release it and live it? THIS is uniquely yours. No other lyric soprano does this exactly like you. And if no other singer DOES like you, then you are NEVER JUST anything!!

What do you take into that audition room with you in your thought? Have you sabotaged and apologized for yourself before you even start singing?

It is time to claim fully, and apologetically WHO you are and what you represent in the artistic world, and in the business of singing!!! You must find it, acknowledge it, bolster it and live it. It must claim you, and you must claim it. The integration of artistic self is what needs to walk into an audition or a rehearsal.

"just another" is potentially a cop out, or an imposed outside influence that is trying to get to your core!! Do not ALLOW that negativity to hold your potential back from a full development of reality.

So, my suggestion with all respect is this: begin to challenge your vocabulary. How do you speak to yourself? How does your body react to that language? How do you speak with others when introducing yourself? How do you lead? How do you stand? Where do you look? How does it make you feel? If you could be anywhere, would it be there or somewhere else? Why?

Take out the excuse. Take out the potential. Claim the reality. Subtle changes are real ones.

Are you a lyric soprano? Then CLAIM IT. I am a lyric soprano. I AM a lyric soprano. What does that mean for YOUR voice? What does your voice DO well? Do uniquely? What does your voice represent about YOU? What does your voice respond to in your repertoire?

Do you have to sing that aria like EVERY OTHER lyric? Absolutely NOT! What are the stylistic decisions as it relates to what your voice DOES? How do you claim them, technically, behaviorally, emotionally, dramatically, intellectually, physically? How does the full dimensional YOU claim the vocal and dramatic decisions you choose?

This is when you begin to BE the artist you are becoming. When you claim to BE, there is never "not ready" and "one of many". There is the uniqueness of you ready to sing! When you are ready to sing, the truth reveals itself.

Be ready. Don't be "just". And then just DO.


  1. Yes. This resonates with me! Thanks Susan.

  2. I am entering into my grad school auditions, and reading this was so inspiring! I am a one-of-a-kind FABULOUS lyric soprano with a very special and completely unique story to tell! And when the numbers start to weigh me down, I'll have to remind myself of this.

    Thank you so very much for your help!