Money Notes

Wikipedias definition:

money note is a music industry slang term which refers to a part of a live or recorded singing performance which is subjectively judged to be very dramatic or emotionally stirring.

Mezzoid’s definition:

A note you sing that is so fantastic, that sits in just the right place, that you’ve infused with so much emotion and strength and power, that people will throw money at you to keep doing it (and is hopefully not the opposite, where they’ll throw money at you to make you stop).

Perfection is not attainable. In Power Performance for Singers by Shirlee Emmons and Alma Thomas, the authors liken preparation for singing to the preparation done by athletes. An athlete prepares by practicing, by knowing the field on which they’re going to play, by mentally rehearsing the game, by packing their gear. They do not expect to make every shot, hit every ball, catch every ball, but they are going to create the conditions that will facilitate this so that they’re going to miss every shot or every ball that comes their way.

Let’s look at baseball. Mike Trout plays for the Oakland As and is considered the best player right now. His lifetime batting average is .308 and he has been up to bat 3902 times. This means that he has actually hit the ball almost 1,202 times, or 3 times out of every 10 times he’s been up at bat. (Math is not my strong suit – feel free to recheck my numbers).

This doesn’t seem all that impressive. But of those 1,200+ hits, 245 have been home runs (money notes) and 660 have been runs batted in.

As a performer, I think we’d all like to hit more than 3 out of every 10 notes right in order to consider ourselves successful. And all notes matter, not just the money notes.

Idina Menzel said in an interview, “There are about 
3 million notes in a two-and-a-half-hour musical; being a perfectionist, it took me a long time 
to realize that if I’m hitting 75 percent of them, 
I’m succeeding. “

That is true. And I think if we’re batting .750 as singers, we’re doing great.


  • If Mike Trout comes up to the plate at the bottom of the 9th inning and the other team is ahead one run, and the bases are loaded and he strikes out; OR
  • If the note that people are paying you to sing (i.e., the money note and subject of the blog) is not among the 75%;

Both of you might as well have stayed home.

I submit for your consideration:

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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