Monday, February 28, 2011


Just a quick plug!
My affiliation with TRUE VOICE NYC
has allowed me to create a group class for spring!
Susan Eichhorn Studio is housed at TRUE VOICE NYC!
is a 3 week exploration of the voice as INSTRUMENT
beginning APRIL 7th, 2011
set up to introduce the voice from an actor's perspective, this class will also be accessible to dancers who need to learn about the voice, and perspective singers who need a refresher or just want a tune up!
See the website for more details: cost, registering et al
and email TIFFANY QUIST, Director of TRUE VOICE NYC

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Some Exciting NEWS!

just a little plug...

My NYC studio is affiliated and located at TRUE VOICE NYC.

TRUE VOICE NYC is a marvellous singers' studio - to study,  to record,  to discover...classes, coachings and more...

TRUE VOICE NYC will be featured this spring on the OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK and we are thrilled to announce it!

TRUE VOICE NYC is owned by Tiffany Quist, Claudia Johnson and Michael Ferraiuolo.

It is a Zen space in the middle of the hustle and bustle of NYC's Little Korea where singers from every walk of the business come to study!

With my affiliation and rocknroll coach extraordinaire SHERI SANDERS' affiliation - we have a hub of singing second to none in the city!!  Opera, classical, music theatre, rock n roll, pop, jazz and MORE!

The recording studio space is beautifully acoustic and every singer is made to feel as important as they are!! TRUE VOICE NYC creates atmosphere and relationships through integrity of work ethic and fabulous facilities!

Now back to our regular blogging...Sunday's blog "The Intimacy of Voice" is below...

The Intimacy of Voice

Sunday musings...

A singer acquaintance used this term this week,  and I thank her for it!  I have been thinking about it and wanted to share more thoughts here...

She spoke from the position of being a dramatic operatic voice and that her goal each day was to find the intimacy of her voice.

What does the intimacy of our voice teach us?  What are we capable of finding and discovering?

We are often too fascinated in "bigger is better" with voice.  We confuse "shiny" with "substance".

The truth of voice, and how it is built and how it produced,  how it functions and how it truly fills a space and gets into the crevices of our pores,  comes from an intimate discovery that builds from the inside out - not the outside "outer"!

Vocal intimacy dares to strip away the style and patina and dares to discover the nakedness of core.

Anything built well,  is structured on a strong foundational core.  Why would voice be any different?

Louder and bigger cannot exist in a vacuum.  The intensity of voice does not come from a scattered, loud and unfocused place, but rather from a still, intimate, energized core that shows dynamic, flexibility, elasticity and control.

Often, I see voices come into the studio that simply have never discovered the POWER of the intimate voice.  When stripped down,  the core simply does not exist,  or if it does,  is not built with a balance that can carry the weight of fach,  type,  or number shows demanded of it.

We as singers get caught up in the trappings of singing - the packaging,  the shiny, the final product.  Sadly,  we forget that packaging means NOTHING if there is not a core of sound that stabilizes underneath.

Discovering the intimacy of voice,  requires commitment,  truth,  and letting go of shiny every day.  It is the grunt work;  the sweat work;  it means we forsake "pretty" to really get to the bottom of things and find out how they function!

Intimacy of voice isn't always going to be pretty;  it isn't going to be fun;  it isn't going to be easy;  but it will reveal a truth of how the voice functions at its core.  How it DOES function, and how it SHOULD function.

As I often say in the studio,  our job together is to discover the balanced nakedness of the voice.  We accessorize later!

Yes, to achieve a truly balanced and intimate instrument,  we have to be ready to see it as it is;  we have to be ready to CLAIM it as it is,  and then know how to build the power, strength and intimacy from the inside out.

The intimacy of voice provides a microcosm of what WILL fill a space;  of what WILL achieve true fach/type;  of what WILL carry you through a production and/or 8 shows a week, week after week.

Louder is not better if you cannot sing softly with intensity.  Bigger is not better if you cannot sing a lullaby and not scare the baby!  Belting is not screaming and cannot be achieved if the voice cannot move into a gentle intensified mix on the same note.

We need to discover the intimacy of our voice each day.  It may not be pretty;  it may not be ready for public consumption;  it may not be shiny and bright;  but it WILL lead to healthy, true, and COMPLETE vocal production.  It will lead to expressive singing,  and the possibilities that allows for us in EVERY venue we find ourselves.  It will lead to a healthy core of sound that is build from the centre OUT and not patched together in a hurry in order to get a job.  It will allow us to SUSTAIN a job and ultimately to have a workable instrument for the long haul.

Intimacy reveals.  We don't always have to share it! We simply need to know what is there and how to deal with it.  Intimacy requires truth and not superficiality.

Dare to discover that intimacy of voice.  Take the time to find it and let it reveal itself to you.  Intimacy of voice then has the possibility of taking you many more places than you realized you could go.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Armchair "Pedagogues" and Egotists!

Sunday musings...

I've "run into" several what I call "armchair pedagogues" this week - those that spout their rhetoric stupidly and expect the rest of us to jump and listen and obey.

These to me are the frightening teachers.  They have a little bit of knowledge that has been twisted and distorted and have decided to brand themselves and hype themselves from that tiny grain of truth.  The rest is just packaging and smoke and mirrors.

Like armchair quarterbacks,  armchair pedagogues will tell you have fabulous THEY are.  They will tell you how fabulous YOU will be if you only do what they say,  and congratulate you when you DO achieve something, but put it back on themselves "well obviously you are doing MY exercises" etc etc.

They have all the answers,  they know all the questions,  they require no further development, and never demonstrate a thing.  hmmm....

The armchair pedagogue can be deceiving.  So much so, in fact, that they have a self-delusion.  They are not all trying to be deceiving - they honestly believe they know.  This is beyond frightening.  And it's beyond egotistical.

As singers,  we need to pay attention!

It is a scary place out there trying to find a teacher that really understands the voice,  how it functions, how it is built and developed and how the body and breath are aligned to achieve a healthy instrument over someone who THINKS they know and makes it sound like they know what to do.

Are there some telltale signs?  I think least these would be a few red flags for me:

1. One size fits all technique.  This is someone who treats every "body" and every voice the same.  Someone who believes we all have to the parts and they should respond in the same manner to achieve the same end.  This someone has a read a pedagogy book about anatomy and that's it.  No space to discover the person standing in front of him/her because that would take actual KNOWLEDGE.  One size does NOT fit all.  PERIOD.

2.  Exercises with no reason.  As a singer, you need to know WHY.  WHY are you being asked to do each exercise?  And if you cannot do it, is there an alternative or is it one way or the highway?

3.  Can the so-called teacher demonstrate the skill?  demonstrate the exercise?  demonstrate the stylistic and technical balance being asked for?  Successfully??   Obviously there is latitude somewhat here if you are a male singer studying with a female teacher and vice versa!!!  However,  if the teacher cannot demonstrate with enough professional prowess to accentuate the request, then again...

4.  Are you welcome to ask questions or are your questions squelched?  Real teachers welcome questions, and are the first to be honest if they don't know the answer.  Armchair pedagogues know all the questions BEFORE you ask them (!!) and do not allow for discussion.  Period.  They spout rhetoric that is memorized out of context,  or simply made up.

5.  Hype and Props.  Are they over the top?  Perhaps ego,  perhaps smoke and mirrors.  Or a combination of both.   Too much hype,  and too many props should send off some type of flag.  It could simply be ego, but as with any great stage production:  props should be USED.  If they are not,  something's up.

Bottom line - YOU the singer, need to be comfortable - psychically, emotionally, physically and vocally.  If you leave a lesson more confused,  vocally fatigued lesson after lesson,  finding no improvement (and are practicing said exercises at home regularly),  then perhaps it's time to explore another teacher.

Poor teaching, bad teaching,  egotistical teaching and armchair teaching are not serving the art and the craft of vocal pedagogy, and certainly not serving the singers there to learn and discover THEIR voice.

Singers need to be challenged,  encouraged and SAFE.  Singers need to be treated as the individuals they are.  You do not fit into a box,  and so your study should be uniquely YOURS.  Your voice and your physicality and athleticism is uniquely YOURS and needs to be treated with the respect it deserves - from YOU and from your teacher.

If it doesn't feel like it is - then RUN and find someone else who sees you truly.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Who Said it was Fair?

Sunday musings...

I remember my Dad saying that to me in response to my whining about something many many moons ago...

I hear that "whining" from some;  sheer confusion from others;  utter disbelief from yet more;  exhaustion from some;

"Why am I not..."

fill in the blank...getting a callback, getting an audition,  booking the job,  finding an agent, and the list goes on and on and on...

There are no pat answers.  There is no direct path to whatever you "want".   The variables are many and who said it was fair?

"Fair" has absolutely nothing to do with anything.  Period.  Business doesn't look at fair.  It doesn't care about fair. It doesn't even acknowledge fair.

You have decided you want to be in this business.  A business that is beyond over-saturated by great talent,  good talent, okay talent, mediocre talent, and no talent at all.

The sooner you quit whining the sooner you discover what you need to do for YOU!

It is easy to get distracted by others;  I hear this a lot too "All my friends are booking shows;  all my friends are booking tours;  all my friends are on Broadway."

That's nice for them.  That isn't YOU.  If you are so busy looking at what your friends are doing,  who is paying attention to YOU?

Nothing is fair in business.  You have to figure out what is needed to be seen,  when, how and why.

There are many who are talented that are never acknowledged fully or at all.

Business is about business.  If you happen to be talented,  bonus!

Do not take it personally.  We hear that a great deal.  Of course it IS personal, but perhaps not the way you are taking it.  If you are stolen from, lied to,  taken advantage of - of course that's personal.  However, you not booking the job may not be personal at all.

The more you whine,  get frustrated and not DO anything about it,  the more you wallow in yourself.  Nobody wants to hire or even see THAT.

It isn't fair.  So what are you going to do about it?  Not fair is a given.  It is not going to change.


What do you DO?

Focus has to go back to YOU.  What are you doing to make yourself marketable? To make yourself seen?

Are you truly the best YOU you can be in the business?  Are you really ready to step up and take stage and be the one to be hired?

Are you studying?  Are you exploring cross-disciplines as fully as you need to?  Are you invested in the technique of your craft?  Do you know how you are seen/how you choose to be seen, and is that coming through essentially?

Are you investing in learning about business?  How it functions?  What the game is?  No one of us is going to change the game.  We learn to play, negotiate the land mines and make it work.

Are you refusing to take the advice from people who simply know better, because "it's not fair, and I want it my way?"

Well, time to give your head a hard shake and sit down in your dizzying self-delusional importance!

Time to ask some REAL questions and get some REAL answers.  Don't ask your friends!  Ask yourself and then invest in asking people in the business that MAKE IT their business to give real answers.

Why are you pursuing this?

What do you want to do?

What are you strengths?

How do you want to be seen?

How can your strengths be enhanced?

Have you committed to developing that enhancement?

How's that working?

What is your trump card?   What is that "uniquely you" quality that sets you apart?  That WILL set you apart if you find it?

Then, the questioning is asked of the business person OF you...what do they see?  Where do they see you NOW?  How do you achieve the next level?  Are you delusional or are you being realistic in your goals, your abilities, your talents,  your...?

And simply, will you listen to the truth when it stands in front of you, or will you dismiss it and continue to say it's not fair?

The beauty of artistic pursuit, is that it can be developed ANY where.  It doesn't have to be in one venue. It has many levels of consciousness and evolution.  How it is fulfilled with one, maybe something very different for another.

Are you finding out where you are?  Where you could be?  Where you want to be?  Where you should be?  In THAT development?

Is the business ready to recognize you in any of those?  Yet? Now? Later? Maybe not?

If we truly take on the responsibility of asking the right questions,  seeking the right people,  seeking the truth and discovering the answers, there is no time to whine or say it's not fair.

Who said it was fair?  No one I know.  We are all too busy trying to find our way and answer our own questions.  If you have time on your hands to mope around about what your friends are doing and what you are not - there's a whole other set of questions you need to start asking!!