Friday, May 31, 2013

The Triple Threat of Apology

Friday night musings...

Such a fine line between the apology,  the excuse and the attitude.

How do we ride it?

All three can be devastating in the studio, in the audition room and on the stage.
IF it gets to the stage.

The triple threat of apology/excuse/attitude can become a passive-aggressive step-ball-change throughout the pursuit of a career.

And now, to pull a Dr Phil - how's that working for you?

Apology works when you've actually done something WRONG.  Apology is unnecessary if you've simply made a choice that doesn't work while exploring your craft.

Apologizing or excusing in the audition room completely negates your audition.

Did you hear that?


Who did that?  The CD?  The artistic director?  Nope,  that was you.  Perhaps an apology to self is in order.

And what about the attitude?  It often happens due to insecurity,  due to being out of your depth, due to plain old fear: of being found out,  of not being prepared or ready,  of the truth.

The room doesn't care.  These issues could maybe use a different kind of professional help that has a medical slant to it.

The room and the people in it want to see YOU CLAIM YOU!

Make your choices.  Be BOLD.  Be honest.  DO IT. 

"I'm sorry but..."
"I really cannot..."

Those are NOT choices. 

When a teacher or a coach asks for something else and why,  ask for clarification if needed, and JUST DO IT!  Don't apologize for what you didn't do or make an excuse about why you didn't do what they have just asked you to do!  That is NOT WHY YOU ARE THERE!

You are there to EXPLORE!  to GROW!  To drop it on the floor and break it, or crack it - and say - oh well - and pick it up and dust it off and do it again!

Leave the apology and the excuse at the door.  OUTSIDE the door.
Leave the attitude there too.  They can all stay in the hallway in the same bag.

If the attitude prevents you from discovering what you COULD do,  why are you there?

If you walk into a lesson or coaching,  a class or an audition,  why would you give 'tude and build a stone wall around you and alienate a possibility????

What is the point?


If you just want someone to tell you that you are wonderful,  ask your grandmother.

If you want to LEARN, find those people who can TEACH you and take it all in!  Do not apologize for being there!  Do not make excuses as to why it took you so long!

If you want to WORK,  get to those auditions!  Show them the TRUTH of who you are and what you do RIGHT NOW.  Do not make excuses of what you cannot do,  do not give attitude when asked if you can do something else.  Be BOLD.  Know what you are capable of!  Do not try to please, but instead,  stay true to yourself and find the unique power in that!

"I'm sorry..."
"It's just that..."
"I don't think I can do that today because..."

Leave that triple threat outside the door.  Frankly, kick it to the curb. 

Do not apologize for what you didn't do.  Just come in prepared,  ready to work,  and honest in that work. 

There's your NEW triple threat!

Preparation/Work Ethic/Honesty

Aren't you worth that? 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Shameless studio promotion!

I am proud of all my singers - and several have participated by application to 54BELOW's vocal competition called THE CALLBACK.

It is won by votes on youtube.  When singers move to the next round,  they have a chance to win the opportunity to have their own solo show at 54Below.  This club/cabaret room is now THE place to be seen in NYC and is located where the infamous "STUDIO 54" was in the late 70s and early 80s.

My lovely Ashley Dillard has participated,  the delightful Meg Buzzard has moved onto the semi finals.

And my own daughter, Erin Elizabeth Eichhorn, performed last night and could use your vote!  Just follow the link, log into youtube and "like" to help her along!

If you go to the 54Below Online youtube channel,  you can look for Ashley and Meg as well and hear their fantastic performances!

Thanks for taking a look and listen!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Physicality of CRAFT!

My apologies for being often gets in the way!

A week has gone by since Mother's Day.  I spent a wonderful day with my beautiful daughter, Erin, doing mom-daughter things.

One of the activities we have always done together, since Erin was a little girl, is to go to theatre performances of all kinds together.

For Mother's Day, we got tickets to see Alan Cumming in his one-man Macbeth on Broadway.

Great theatre follows you out the door.  It resides in the fore of your mind and spirit,  or lingers in the dusty corners through the week and re-appears constantly as you walk through your day.

This is what happened with Alan Cumming's performance for me.

So many things I could talk about with this tour de force, but perhaps what absolutely stood out, was his absolute integration of the physicality of craft.

Often, many of my singers will comment during a lesson that they are physically exhausted, or sweating, or they are experiencing muscles they didn't know they had or forgot about.

Singing is PHYSICAL.  It is ATHLETIC.  It demands respect of the body.

I am always surprised when I comment on the post-accident me, that I am just now beginning to explore my voice again.  I have been asked "did it affect your voice? what happened???"

Really?  It affected MY BODY.  My body is my instrument.  If my body is not 100%,  it will not allow my voice to inhabit it.  My voice is an intangible made tangible by the physicality of my craft.
My "voice" is fine - it is my body that is no longer the same.

Committing to the physicality of your craft means committing to your BODY.  It means developing that tangibility until it has EASE.  That doesn't mean EASY.

The physicality of craft reveals itself in so many magnificent ways.  I go back to Alan Cumming's performance.  No, he didn't sing,  but he used his voice AND his body.  He did it without amplification.  He physicalized his breath, his body, his language so thoroughly and seamlessly that each character morphed with what seemed to be effortlessness.

The true magic of craft is when the physical demands are so integrated that it looks spontaneous.  It should never BE spontaneous or on the fly;  it should be so practiced, so developed, that it looks like it is happening for the first time.

This is craft.  When you have developed it to the point of not having to THINK each movement through, or hope for the best,  then craft has now become a part of your being.

Watching Cumming embody all of Shakespeare's characters in Macbeth was liberating, and sad.  Why?  I knew that in my present physical state, even though to the observing eye, I "look fine", I am not.  I could not, at this point, inhabit that space of physicality to be on stage...yet.  If ever again.
However, it gives me hope in teaching and demanding from myself and my performers and artists to go further; to sweat more;  to explore deeply;  to push the boundaries;

It gave me hope that true craft still has the ability to change lives.  That language can reside in the physical demands of the breath and the body.  That the human body can follow the direction of the imagination.  That the imagination of the true artistic spirit will DEMAND to be physicalized and revealed fully!

But it's work!!!  Yes, my gentle snowflakes, it is.  (thanks Lewis!)

And when you WORK,  when you embody,  when reveal, when you are willing and able to get your hands into the dirt and create something is worth ALL the sweat,  the fatigue,  the time,  the agony,  the energy.

It will reveal an integrity and liberation you will find no where else.  It will draw you in and you will only want MORE.

Make it BURN. Release the physical and artistic endorphins and SOAR.