John Cage pointed out they’re different processes. Doing one will interfere with the other.
What will you create today? You can analyze it tomorrow.
Years ago, I took a writing workshop that said, “You can’t be a writer and an editor at the same time.” I applied that to music as well, and went home and put a picture of the then-Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel music critic, Tom Strini, on my music stand …. with an X through his face.
This wasn’t because I disliked Tom Strini. On the contrary, I liked him quite well. He was always good to me, even on one or two occasions where I didn’t deserve it. And he had been my downstairs neighbor for a time.
The point was – you can’t be a performer and a music critic at the same time. You’ll never get anything done if, in the moment, you are analyzing, criticizing, evaluating, and self-shaming. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t evaluate your performance. That’s what practice is for. That’s what building technique is for. That’s what your lessons are for – and in your lessons, I’m the one who is analyzing and evaluating so that you can take the feedback with you to work on further improvement.
But when it comes time to perform, you have to do it. You have to create, express, and just be. Put the editor, critic, and analyst aside. For that moment, anyway.
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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