Saturday, December 31, 2011

Career Consultations Available in 2012

Susan Eichhorn Voice Studio will be offering Career Consultations in 2012.

What is offered:

An informed and objective evaluation of your present state of development.

An opportunity to have access to other professionals in the field of your choice - be it opera, classical music, theatre, music theatre.

 Are you able to articulate and visualize your goals?

What else do you THINK you need to do to get closer to those goals?

Are you prepared for the business? Do you know what the business requires of you?

Have you accessed all you can to have a complete package to present?

Are you aware of short term vs long term goals?  Artistic vs business goals?

Are you being realistic about your goals? Why? What makes you think so?

Are you ready?  If not,  what do you need to DO to attain the next level?

This consultation will meet you where YOU are!

It will help you to re-evaluate where you are, and if need be,  make adjustments to your perceptions about YOU and your relationship to the business and about YOU and your relationship to your craft.

I work to help you to create more objectivity in the development of YOU as artist and YOU as business-person.

I work to help you find more definition in your goals,  more definition in where you are now,  more definition in where you hope to be.

We assess TOGETHER.  We discuss and create scenarios and  possibilities,  learn what is needed in study, business, and how to develop good instincts.  We begin to discover what can happen NOW and begin to uncover that reality  as it pertains to YOUR ability, YOUR development, YOUR talent and YOUR career.

These assessments will lead to what you reveal vocally, artistically, dramatically;

Are you presenting yourself in the best possible light? Do you know what you want? What is that?

Are you projecting what you really want to project?
If you are not, what do you think is getting in your way?
How do you remove road blocks honestly and truthfully to  reveal your own path?

You are unique.  We will address how to make that an asset.

Consultations are available in person through my New York City studio,  and via Skype for those out of town.

I will be offering Career Consultations in other cities in 2012.

For more information on fees,  availability and to book a consultation time,  please contact me via email: with your head shot and resume.

Friday, December 30, 2011

the conversation you have with your teacher

pre-New Year musings...

I cannot speak for all voice teachers.  I can only speak for myself. 

I can speak for myself as a teacher,  and as a singer and student of singing and what has gone on with my mentors and teachers I hold in the highest regard.

I talk a great deal about the conversation you need to have with yourself as an artist,  but we don't often speak of the conversation we have with our teachers and how we need to understand it.

We as artists, are in competition with our previous selves.  If the teacher understands competition, the conversation develops thus.  I know mine does.

As singers,  we cannot and should not interpret  "good work"  with "you are ready for Broadway" or "you are ready for the Met" or any other house or company or role you deem as something you would want.

I love seeing my singers get it!  I love seeing them develop, begin to put the pieces together,  discover their instruments,  claim their voices and find out their possibilities.

However,  in discovering these possibilities,  the conversation can be misunderstood.

No one can guarantee anything.  A teacher can render a professional opinion,  but their primary focus is to help you help yourself.  A teacher needs to be there to support your journey,  not give you a destination!  As a singer,  you need to be sure you are not misinterpreting what a teacher is saying during a lesson.

I believe in honesty.  I also believe in positive reinforcement.  However,  when I encourage, build up and motivate a singer it is from a place of discovery.  It is from a place of where were you, and where are you NOW?

"You have made significant progress"  cannot be translated to "I am ready to be a professional singer".  "You had a great lesson today"  does not mean you don't need more work!

See where I am going with this?  I love watching my singers leave the studio with a spring in their step when they know they are DOING the work,  they are developing their craft, and on a path to become a better SELF. 

The process of journey does not equal arrival,  nor does it equal desire.

A teacher can be honest and still be supportive and encouraging.  Supportive and encouraging to discover what needs to be done,  and also to remind you how far you have come.  It is so important to remind yourself of that.  Looking back doesn't mean dragging baggage - but often it is a reminder of the journey thus far:  that you HAVE developed,  and in what ways,  and you ARE developing and moving forward.

I encourage you to really ask questions,  and to really LISTEN to your conversation with your teacher.  Do not assume your translation is what that teacher said,  if you do not hear those exact words.  Words of encouragement,  words of specificity of what you are discovering and accomplishing cannot mean anything else but what is SAID.

What you WANT to hear isn't always what you NEED to hear.

Encouragement and reality is a balance we need to establish as teacher and singer in order to find the truth of YOU in your studies and in your pursuit of where you want to discover and what you want to discover.

Nobody can guarantee a career.  Nobody can guarantee a path.  There are no guarantees.  What you choose to pursue has to be your choice.  A teacher is there to help you discover your best self within your ability,  your development,  your natural endowments and your attributes and how you can find truth in technique,  in craft and in artistry. 

We aren't after perfection.   What is that anyway?  We aren't after disillusionment.  What is the point?  We are after TRUTH.  We are after REALITY.  We are after DEVELOPMENT as it relates to YOU. 

How you then relate that truth and reality and development and READINESS to the development and possibility of a career is up to how the business works. 

Do not confuse your conversation with your teacher in pursuit of vocal development with a conversation for business purposes.  These are simply not the same conversation and cannot be interchangeable.

So have those conversations with your teacher.  Listen to what they are SAYING and WHY.  Do not substitute anyone's judgement for your own,  but know who you are entrusting what to and what expertise you are standing in front of.

If you are not sure what the conversation is,  then pay closer attention.  Ask.  As a teacher,  we need to be honest and supportive.  As a singer, we need to be real and open to the answers we ask for.

The path still belongs to the singer.  The teacher is simply there to guide, illuminate and keep you on the straight and narrow.  You as singer still have a choice to participate with a real conversation, or let the new translation take over in your own head!

What is being said?  Why is it being said? Are you hearing?  Are you listening? 

It IS your choice.  To converse, to listen and to hear.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why you study

happy holidays!

As we get closer to the new year,  and clear out the old and start fresh,  here's a quote I found today:

“A coach is someone who tells you what you don't want to hear, who has you see what you don't want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.” -- Tom Landry
This quote works for football,  but it is also so very relevant to singing and the study of voice.  A coach or  teacher can tell you these things and see you before you see yourself.
So my question to all of us as we approach the new year,  why do you study?  Have you discussed this with your coaches and teacher and team of professionals you trust? 
We all have different reasons for studying,  and study at different points in our careers and development.  Have you simply sat down to actually verbalize and codify WHY you study NOW?  
Often, the clearer we are about WHY we do what we do,  the more focused we become to discover what we need and how to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.  If we lose touch with WHY we often can get lost,  get confused,  get delusional,  create road blocks that do not exist,  become self-involved and full of excuses - and on and on.  We can give up,  get angry,  and sadly, often attract the WRONG people into our space that will say what we WANT to hear, not what we NEED to hear.
Perhaps as the new year approaches,  you sit down with yourself and answer "Why do I study?"  "Why do I want to study?"  as honestly as you can.  Or perhaps you should ask in some cases, "Should I study?"
If the answer is YES,  then WHY?  and if the answer is YES and you aren't - then WHY NOT?  
Often the first answer is "I can't afford it".  Cop out.  Sorry, but it is.  If you WANT to study,  if you know you NEED to study,  then you simply have to find a WAY to study.
It's not all or nothing.  Finding a teacher or a class that clearly is about craft,  to help you see what you NEED to in order to find and claim the BEST of yourself is not about signing your life away.  That used car salesman tactic of "sign up for 6 lessons now and pay upfront" is a red flag to me.  As an artist,  I am not looking for that.  I want to know I can study and LEARN,  and learn how to make that study LAST.  
True teaching teaches you how to teach yourself by revealing the truths you NEED.
If you can only afford and save for one lesson a month,  then find that teacher or that class that will hone in,  and WORK WITH YOU!  Yes, you might want to work more often, but it doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Find what you CAN do and work to be prepared,  work to find your answers between lessons,  so those lessons are FULL and give you much to think about and work with between!
If you do not know why you study,  why you want to study,  you aren't going to get out of lessons or classes what is truly possible whether you study weekly, biweekly, or once a month, or once every 6 weeks.  Knowing WHY is going to clear up so much in the misconception department if you are simply willing to do the work to get there.
If you've been on automatic pilot and your "why" isn't clear anymore,  chances are some riff-raff has found its way into your space to keep you confused, to keep you closed, to keep you unseeing.  Some of that riff-raff is self-created,  and some is literally people who pose as teachers or mentors or coaches who are truly not about anything but to keep the myth alive!
Once your "why" is clear,  you are able to clear and de-clutter your space and your reasons for doing.
Asking WHY means you are waiting for and in need of an answer.  It's a big question.   You are the one who needs to answer it - truthfully, honestly and without hesitation.  This then allows the coaches, teachers and mentors to enter your space and SEE you and work with you to see yourself.  That space isn't about the coach or teacher or mentor. That space is about YOU. 
Happy de-cluttering!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dear Students of Voice

If we are singing,  no matter the level we remain students of the discipline.

However,  this is specifically to you,  the student who is at the beginning of this journey.

The discipline of singing REQUIRES discipline.  That discipline has to come from YOU the singer.

There is a great deal of entitlement in our society these days.  However,  the expectation of having things done FOR you as a singer just doesn't fly.  You and ONLY YOU have to do the work. Nobody is going to cut up your food and feed you.  Those of you who expect that are simply in the wrong arena. 

Discipline comes from SELF.  It is guided by outside sources until you understand what is needed to get the work done yourself.

How can you honor that discipline and learn how to embrace it fully?


There is nothing more frustrating for a teacher than to take the time to create a written document with everything clearly set out and then have a student respond and ask for an exception; or to simply not read it and ask a question that is clearly communicated already; or to make a decision NOT to follow instructions and wonder why they are penalized; or to continue to be excuse-ridden and never do the work.

Now, don't misunderstand me.  Not all of you are like that.  In fact, many of you who read this blog are not!!  However, you have colleagues who are.  My suggestion:  if you think someone needs to read this - forward it through the holiday season!  It might allow them to have a moment of clarity!

5 basic principles to begin your study of voice DISCIPLINE.

1.  READ:  what are the instructions.  This is the recipe you have to follow.  If you try to change it, the end result will NOT be favorable.

2.  COMPREHEND:  what are the instructions SAYING?!  There is little to no room to re-interpret.  If a class requires you to be ready to sing a jury for marks and the music MUST be memorized, that doesn't mean you can have the score there!  If it says you MUST be there at XY o'clock to perform at AB o'clock,   then that's the discipline.  You can't re-adjust that.  Your entitlement doesn't exist in this arena.  Be there or fail.  Pretty simple.  Still your choice,  but the parameters are clear.  Comprehension skills don't need to interpret.

3.  FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS:  what does the course require of you?  Again,  your actual existence in the world may be enough for your mother or father or grandparents, but if you are in school,  just being alive isn't getting you a passing grade!  The discipline of following instructions is a very simple process.  Do what you need to do to get the course!  If the process means the paper has to be X number of pages or more,  doing less doesn't win you points.  If the process says you need to sing 3 songs by memory and you sing 2 - you haven't followed the instructions and will be penalized.  You have no right to get holier than thou if you simply haven't followed the instructions. 

4.  MAKE NO EXCUSES:  but...I didn't know...and I thought if...

Excuses don't fly.  Period.  If you read, understood and followed direction,  there is no room for excuses.  Period.  If you have enough energy to create excuses you could have used that energy and done what was required in the first place. 

5.  DO THE WORK.  Imagine,  just following the instructions,  comprehend it, and getting to work and DOING THE WORK!!!  The requirement is doing the work.  Do the work to the best of your ability.  Part of the discipline of voice is the self-discipline of preparation and performance.  If you have chosen the discipline of singing as a course of study, then STUDY and do the work.  This is not a study that is for the faint of heart.  This is a course of study that requires focus,  concentration,  consistency,  specificity,  and detail.  There is no room for complacency. 

The study of voice will give you an opportunity to develop a work ethic that will serve you well throughout your life,  whether singing becomes a professional pursuit or not. 

It is called a discipline because that is what it requires.  If you don't discover and practice this discipline,  it will not suddenly appear.  Teachers and mentors can encourage and guide, but they cannot do the work for you.  That is up to you.  Your successes are then yours,  and so are your failures.  How you choose to explore and take on the discipline is up to you.  If the expectation is set out for you clearly and you choose not to respect that - you take the result.  Don't delude yourself into thinking it's someone else's fault.

Those singers who simply follow the instructions will begin to discover how to discipline,  how to explore the discipline and how to grow within the discipline.  The work will get done;  the comprehension will deepen;  the truth will be revealed and understood.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Singers and Actors: how's your SPEAKING voice?

Sunday musings...

As singers,  we are often so focused on the singing voice,  we forget how connected and absolutely crucial a healthy speaking voice is!!

Singers are not the only ones who neglect this part of their instrument.  Ironically, many "actors" do too.  I use "actors" as so many in this business really don't work on craft, but only work on business.  I have had many "actors" contact me with vocal problems because they have never really done any breath work, any alignment work, any voice work for resonance, or vocal health and think screaming is emoting. They have taken every business class and have no clue as to how to use their instrument effectively.

Your voice is your instrument.  Period.  As an actor, as a singer,  you are using that instrument regularly and the physicality in which is resides.  I am always amazed at the disconnect.  How you speak in your day to day life truly affects how you use your voice on stage, on set, and in your singing life.

Why ignore it?  Often, speaking habits are poor and then the shift into "singing voice" or "acting voice" doesn't happen comfortably, or at all.

Again, our society of "instant satisfaction" has permeated the business too and dismissed craft success for goal oriented success.

Getting the gig isn't craft.  And if you get the gig, can you actually DO the gig and sustain what is demanded of you via your instrument?

So, how aware of your speaking voice are you?  Do you tire easily?  Can you project without pressure?  Can you access different balances of resonance?  Can you speak in different dynamics without yelling or without losing core of sound?  Can you utilize different pitch in your speaking voice or are you limited?  Are you breathing to speak?  Are you supporting while speaking?  Is your body aware of its alignment and balance as you negotiate your day?

Perhaps you laugh, but let me sum it up this way:  Can you SPEAK?

(and when you laughed was it supported?!?!?)

However, honestly truthfully, so many singers and actors simply cannot.  They have not made the conscious connection between their speaking voice to their singing or acting voice.  THIS is part of the craft.  This is also part of living your instrument daily.  The more connected you become to the freedom of that speaking voice,  the more you are consistently and consciously available to your instrument throughout your day:"putting on" your singer's voice or actor's voice will not feel so dislocated if your speaking voice is simply healthy, aligned, free and available.

SO what are you DOING?  Perhaps the first thing you can do is OBSERVE!  Be aware of what you DO before you begin to change anything.  Triple redundancy is key - look in the mirror;  record yourself,  and physicalize the sensations fully.  Then, can you describe it?  What do you see?  What do you hear?  What do you feel?

There are NO value judgements!!!!  This is observation in order to learn how to access YOU more fully. 

Sit down and evaluate what issues you deal with as an actor and as a singer - what are the notes you continually get?  What are the things you are working on in your lessons?  What happens on stage?  Often,  many of these issues are VOICE related,  BODY related and simply can be addressed first through the nature of how you SPEAK.

Imagine discovering the balance of all things VOICE by working on the balance of the speaking voice! What a liberating discovery it would be!!  The craft of VOICE as instrument needs much more focus than what we often allow for.

What do you do to warm up your voice? Period?  What do you do for your BODY in order to integrate breath with alignment with balance with co-ordination? 

Dare to discover the state of your speaking voice as you function through the day,  and dare to find a more optimal balance by observing,  by study,  by integration of breath work, body work, resonance work and language work.

I am still amazed, after all this time in the business,  how many "actors" simply can't speak.  They have never observed long enough to acknowledge they are unable to truly articulate language fully.  They haven't been corrected in actual pronunciation.  The more we KNOW they more there is to know!! 

If you call yourself an actor, a singer,  a user of WORDS,  then learn HOW to use them effectively and how to use the instrument as CRAFT and as FUNCTION so it is painless (literally AND figuratively) moving from your day to day to the audition room, to the stage, to the rehearsal hall and back again.

Darn, it might take some time.  It might take some effort.  It might take some application.  It might take some change, and thought and focus and WORK. 

That's called craft.  That's called daring yourself to BE what you say you are.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

International Musicians, Singers, Actors, Dancers who want to work in the USA

I want to give you an excellent resource in NYC!  

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I know the owner/operators of this business, who happens to study voice with me,  and is a brilliant triple threat with broadway credits.

VisaPaq helps you create your VisaPaq Portfolio

FREE Consultation

Attorney has a 99% SUCCESS RATE!

Go to their website and contact them TODAY!!!

Phone: 917-886-7801

Let them know you got the information from my blog!