Friday, December 17, 2010

Is it too late?

Friday evening musings...

Often, singers ask me that it too late?

My answer begins with "too late for what?"

Often, singers who say they want a career, really don't know what that means and what it entails.

Often, singers who say they want a career, don't realize how many "careers" could be had under that umbrella!

It is never too late to do SOMETHING.  What that something is has many many factors.

Is it too late to pursue an international career as an opera singer?

That depends on your training, your talent, your temperament, your fach, your resume, your age, the universe, the business and the combination of all of it!!

 Is it too late to learn how to sing well?

To sing as well as YOU can, at any given age?  never too late.

 Is it too late to have a regional career as a singer?

Is it too late to be in music theatre?

Is it too late...

The question tires me and makes me tense.

The question has a panic about it and sense of desperation.  Panic and desperation do not bode well for success at anything, for anything.

Perhaps it is time to ask ourselves - what do I want and why?  And is it feasible to pursue it? And if it doesn't work out, am I comfortable to look at other possibilities?

I believe, if there are possibilities,  there is forward motion.

I would like to hear a singer ask me "what do you think my possibilities are?"

Now THAT is a question!!!! That has breath, and space and a forward looking optimism that will allow for a realistic view!

Are you, the singer, willing to consider the possibilities within the boundaries of YOU?  Are you willing to consider the possibilities of you within the boundaries of the business?  Are you willing to consider the possibilities of what "career" actually means?

Talent, ability, or not - some personalities are not best suited for a career as a professional singer on the international or national scene.  Some are better suited at the regional level, or even at the local and community level.  Professional comes from attitude and ethic no matter what level you are on!  Perhaps learning to sing well does not necessarily take you down the singer career-path.  Perhaps you find a place for yourself in other aspects of theatre.  Perhaps you are a teacher who sings!

Maybe you find a place in the classroom, or in a choir, or conducting a choir.

Perhaps you have a world class instrument, but you choose to have a family and build a business as a manager, or create an opera company or a theatre company and inspire and lead others into performance.

If there is a possibility, it is never too late.

Often, there are simply those who choose to create unrealistic goals for themselves.  It is almost as if they create and stage a self-sabotaged drama around themselves.

And then there are the oblivious who believe they are somewhere they are not.  They ask questions, but they don't really want to the answers, nor hear or listen to them.

So, before you go directly to "is it too late" - ask yourself what you want and what the possibilities are?  Then are you simply prepared to do what it takes to seize that possibility - and is it a REAL possibility?

It is NEVER too late to claim the truth of YOU - and then, and only then, are the possibilities real and true.

We all need that reminder from time to time in order to keep the path clear and uncluttered, to reclaim a path, or simply walk a new one.

Wherever you are, BE there.  Consider the possibilities and the realistic view and then, claim the possibility by doing whatever it takes to make it REAL.


  1. This is an excellent post.

    Our relationships with the arts are three dimensional and full of variety. You're right: we don't need to self-sabotage ourselves with fixations on one version of it.

  2. Thank you for your posting.
    I recently had a negative experience that has caused me to lose confidence in my musical abilities. I am slowly realizing that I can only be the best vocal me I am able, and will find another place in which that is exactly right. It is not 'too late' for me, (although someone told me it was) and I am looking forward to finding the peace and joy of that again.

  3. Boy, sopralto! You could be my twin.

    I recently had a negative experience that has caused me to lose confidence in my musical abilities!

    I just left a situation, the first time I had been cast in "someone else's opera production" in 30 years, that was just that. As I wasn't getting paid, had a small role, and didn't want to be a punching bag, I left.

    I ask myself the "is it too late" question all the time.

    I began singing operatic rep seriously when I was 54. (I had sort of played around with it in my 20s, including singing roles with "the opera underground" but I wouldn't have said I was serious).

    I ask my teacher the question all the time. OK, I'm 60 (although my voice doesn't sound "old"). So how many more years can I continue to sing better and better? I am singing better and better, well enough to sing this rep in concerts I produce myself, for the enjoyment of people who know something about music, about singing, but are generous enough not to care that I am obviously over 40 and who don't know that I learned most of the music by ear.

    After that bad experience I ran, did not walk, back to my high level avocational choir where I am looked up to as one of the leaders and get to be a soloist, where the director is nice, manages to get a professional sound out of a group of people with diverse abilities, without ever making anyone feel badly.

    I suppose what bothers me the most is I feel there's a stratum of people who don't respect me or take me seriously because I'm older and don't have a music degree.

  4. A good coach presents possibilities and poses questions, balancing with realities.

    I tell you what. When I read your post, I kept on thinking:"It's not too late for you to be an exceptional coach/counselor/teacher.

    Well done!

  5. I thank you! I am a teacher and coach so this is a lovely compliment!