What if you were your own ideal client

I’m currently taking Sara Campbell’s Branding Bootcamp™ course in order to get some more clarity on what I have to offer students – identify just what my message is and how my message can come across most efficiently to my ideal clients.

The first thing we did in Class #1 is identify an avatar for our ideal clients. If you are working with younger students, you identify not only your ideal client/student, but also the ideal client/parent (since they’re paying the bills). We also identified any other types of ideal clients we had – in my case, the adult avocational student – as well as the ideal online client. Our instruction was to use real people with whom we work/have worked as our avatars.

That was easy for me. But one of my classmates was having some trouble with that, so he decided to work from the point of view of the ideal client being his younger self. Who was he? What did he want? What did he need? Where were his challenges? Sara decided that this was a great idea, and now we all had homework. (Thanks, dude.)

So this is my homework.

This is young Chrissie, with dreams of singing on stage. I think I’m 4 here. The ugly sofa is my stage, my mom’s slip (which I still own) is my concert gown, the ill-positioned upside Romper Room horse is my microphone, there are “pearls,” and I’m wearing Mickey Mouse ears, to boot.

(Already knew my good side)

I did not take voice lessons until I was 18 years old, in college. In the working class Milwaukee neighborhood in which I grew up, voice lessons were not a thing. I wanted to sing so much (I don’t want to say “so badly,” because I once said to someone, “oh, X is still working on a lot of things, but she wants to sing so badly,” and the person responded with, “and so she does”) but I had no idea what vocal technique was. I was good enough to get into the top choirs and premium ensembles (swing choir, girls quartet) in high school and to be cast in plays, but I really had no idea what to do to get better. I had no support from my parents in my ambitions. Ever. Not even after I became a performer and a teacher.

[Clearly, my parents do not fall into my ideal client/parent avatar]

I wanted people to take me and my goals as an artist seriously. I wanted to be a performer and a voice teacher, even though I had never taken lessons before.

I needed guidance and I needed someone to help me clarify those goals for myself because I had no idea exactly what they were and how to get there.

My challenges were:

  • my financial limitations – my parents would not pay for my education in a field of which they did not approve, which meant I had to work a lot in order to afford college and lessons at all (and doing any summer programs was out of the question – not that I knew anything about them – because that’s when I really had to work multiple jobs in order to afford the following year)
  • time – see “working multiple jobs”
  • lack of emotional support – financial support was not the only missing element as far as my vocal studies were concerned; my parents and the neighborhood in which I grew up all thought this was a ridiculous goal for a person of my background and that I should do something “normal”
  • self-esteem – see all of the above

When I look at my young self as an ideal client, in many ways, I fall far short from what I want in a student. I want a student who knows what they want, who has the financial and emotional support of their family, and who has the self-esteem to accept that they actually might be good.

But when I look at what that girl accomplished despite the odds being against her?

Hell, yeah, she’s my ideal client.

If you have challenges that you think you can overcome with the support of a voice studio that values community and curiosity over elitism (and honestly, I think those values are pretty elite in the best possible way), maybe Mezzoid Voice Studio is the place for you. Find out how to work with me.

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.

What do you think?

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