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Choosing Authentic Repertoire

I have several rising seniors who will be auditioning for college in the upcoming year, as well as younger students who will be considering this as well in the not-too-distant future. The most important thing we need to do in the next few weeks is to select repertoire for their auditions. Specifically, repertoire that shows them in their best possible light, and in which they can find something authentic that speaks to them as expressive human beings.

In listening to Dr. Nicholas Perna on the January 31 episode of The VocalFri podcast,  I was struck by a particular quote and had to stop walking the dog for a second so I could listen to it again and dictate it to my Notes file on my phone for use in this very blog. The quote was:

“When we see a genuine performance, we see an artist taking hold of their own repertoire.”

(FYI, I was listening to this in June – I was really behind on my podcasts, so I wasn’t stopping on an icy pavement.)

For me, the most authentic repertoire I have chosen has been music for themed programs, whether those are classical recitals (my Joan of Arc concert at HCC in 2016, the “Woman’s Life & Love, Yesterday & Today” concert of music by Schumann and Maury Yeston a year or so later) or my cabaret shows (Oh! to be a movie starIf music be the food of loveThe Not Here Cabaret, I can definitely say that I took hold of my repertoire in those performances. And I was very satisfied with those performances.

But then again, by that point, I was not a teenager or an undergrad,  and I’d had the life experiences to know what was going to work for me.

For the students I’m referring to, they can choose their own repertoire to a certain extent, but I’m expected to guide them in those choices. I am looking for songs that are

  • age appropriate
  • voice appropriate
  • ethnically/racially appropriate (no cultural appropriation!)
  • emotionally appropriate
      • And ones that they like.

Because if they don’t like it, they’re not going to learn it. At least not as deeply and truly as they would a song that speaks to them.

And sometimes they might like it, or think they like it, and it checks all the boxes as far as appropriateness, but for some reason, it does not work.

Case in point – I sang on a spring-themed Baltimore Musicale program a few years ago. I chose three songs for myself, and one was by Brahms. I’ve sung a lot of Brahms in my life. I love Brahms and I think his music fits my voice perfectly.

I could not memorize the words to that song for love or money. I wound up making a joke about how I was reviving the tradition (according to Anna Russell) of the German lieder singer not memorizing lyrics, “but carry[ing] them on the platform written in a little book.”

It did not feel authentic. And the joke fell a little flat, TBH.

The other two songs did, but that one did not. Not only because it wasn’t memorized, but it didn’t speak to me. I didn’t sing badly on any of the songs, but I wasn’t emotionally attached to that song, and I think that’s why I simply could not memorize it.

My goal as a singer and as a teacher is to select music that not only will feel authentic, but allow the singer to be their most authentic self. Not a copy of someone else (cough Lea Michele cough) but to find their emotional truth in the telling of the story of the song. 

Take hold of your performance and choose authentic repertoire for yourself. If you are working with a teacher, work with your teacher to find those pieces.

I’m not telling you to reject songs outright – a song that might not seem right for you at first may turn out to be the most impressive song in your audition package. Keep an open mind and an open heart. But ultimately, know yourself and be your own advocate.

Choosing authentic repertoire

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If you are curious about how to find the emotional truth in your song
(particularly in a classic or Golden Age song), click here to receive info
about an upcoming masterclass featuring a well-known conductor/composer
(as well as two other valuable workshops in the series)

Amateur or … Duck?

As I was preparing to write this, I was looking for graphics for the word, “Amateur,” and the word “Dabbler.” I was able to find pictures of the former, but for the latter I found a picture of a … duck.

Amateur or Dabbler

A few weeks ago, I started working with an adult student whose husband had bought her a 4-pack of lessons for Christmas 2019 (pre-pandemic). Both of them are also friends of ours, and her husband is a professional musician as well. When I contacted her to set up lessons, she told me that she had felt a little nervous because she knew how I felt about dabblers.

And that made me feel like a terrible snob. And made re-examine what I mean and what I’m putting out there – and how it might discourage someone from taking lessons, or singing at all, for that matter.

Merriam-Webster defines an amateur as 

one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession

The word “amateur” comes from the Latin “amatore”, meaning “lover.” On Quota, self-proclaimed amateur writer Dushka Zapata defined the word as “someone who does something for love rather than money” or “someone motivated by love rather than money.” That is something that is to be acclaimed and is often valued more than those who are doing something for a living. For example, as a professional church musician, I have had multiple people say to me, “You sing at church for money? You should be singing for the love of G-d!” (That’s a whole ‘nother blogpost.)

Synonyms for amateur include admirer, devotee, but also less positive ones such as dilettante, putterer, and, yes, dabbler.

But “amateur” is not what I mean when I say I don’t enjoy working with “dabblers.”

Again, turning to Merriam-Webster:

Definition of dabbler
Someone who is a lover of something, who pursues it, studies it,  engages with it, is not a dabbler. That is not a person who is approaching something because it’s a lark or something different to do. Dabblers are the people, for the most part, with whom I’ve worked in the past who have lost interest because they’re not fully invested. In fact, the definition for “dabbling” on Merriam-Webster refers to it as being “superficial” or “intermittent.”

I did not know that “dabbling” also means to feed in shallow water, either just below the surface, or occasionally going in headfirst, but never too deeply.

Mallard Pair Dabbling

Can a dabbler become a devotée? Of course. There are many things people “dabble in” before they decide what to focus on, whether it’s for a career choice or a hobby.

If you truly love to sing but don’t want to do it for a living, I say, more power to you because making a career from singing alone is extremely difficult. If you are devoted to singing, and want to learn how to do it better for your own sake and betterment, you are an amateur in the best possible sense. And those singers motivated for love of singing and expressing themselves through singing are the ones I want to work with.

So if you are considering voice lessons, and you know that you love singing and want to put the time in to develop your craft, and you don’t want to duck the responsibility involved (see what I did there?), don’t feel that there’s no place for you. Sing. Join a choir. Sing at parties with friends. Take lessons from someone who also loves the craft and wants to help you develop your skill.

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And with that mind, if you are looking for a teacher, I have some openings
for the 2021-2022 term, starting September 7.
You can either commit to a 20-lesson “Busy Professional” Package,
a “Pick-4” Package, or drop-in from time to time.
Find out how to work with me

 

Tune Up and Tune In

(Yes, I forgot to write yesterday so this is a day late)

Do you anticipate returning to auditions/rehearsals for:

    • School?
    • Choir?
    • Community (or professional) theater?
    • College?

And you really haven’t done all that much over the past year of pandemic? Or even if you have, you feel like there’s more you can do?

Do you need a tune-up?

Or do you feel like you need to tune IN to your craft?

Because I can’t go more than a few weeks without planning something, I will be holding three back-to-whatever workshops/masterclasses the week before Labor Day. There will be no lessons that week, but there will be things happening. The tentative time slot will be 6-7:30pm EDT on each day.

I’m still in the process of figuring them out. I have someone lined up for the Wednesday slot, but we haven’t made it official. I have reached out to a nationally known conductor/performer/composer for the Thursday slot. I am planning to have Tuesday be a vocal boot camp of sorts featuring two other teachers and myself.

Cost is also still TBD. People can spring for all three days or individual days. Performing in the masterclass will, of course, be more expensive than just auditing.

In other words, more info to come – in the meantime, save the dates!

Bac

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If you want to tune up and tune in, but want to do it one-on-one,
you can work with me! Taking new students for the
remainder of summer and for the 2021-2022 term.

What is a plagiarized performance?

Yesterday I was watching a Facebook Live done by my business coach, Michelle Markwart Deveaux (of faithculturekiss studio for voice and acting and the Speakeasy Cooperative), and she was talking about the difference between teaching and coaching.

As voice teachers, our job is to give information to our students. This is fine – this is the reason why many/most of our students come to us in the first place. Coaching, on the other hand, is intended to give specific prescriptive advice to clients based on their individual needs.

I’ll write more about the specifics of coaching at another time, but one of the points was that a coach helps people through a process of self-discovery and, in the case of voice lessons, have them learn to trust their own sound. While mimicry might be a tool to find out where different sounds “live in your mouth,” we need to make certain we aren’t giving “plagiarized performances.”

A plagiarized performance is one that is taken by listening to/watching a singer and imitating everything that they do – phrasing, dynamics, even diction choices – in a public performance. The term comes from Michelle via Meredith Pyle Pedley, another voice teacher (and recent NATS Intern) from Los Angeles.

Many young singers are guilty of this because they listen obsessively to a song and sing it just like the artist who created it. And there is something to be said for historically informed performance practice, particularly in classical music. It very well may be part of the process and the journey to finding your own voice as well as the voice of the storyteller. But when you become a professional, you need to be able to make choices that reflect your own abilities as a performer and storyteller and not as a mimic. And, unfortunately, some professionals don’t always know the difference.

Take, for example, this performance of Barbra Streisand in the 1968 movie Funny Girl, singing “Don’t rain on my parade.” (As I’ve mentioned before in my very first blogpost, this is the song that set me on my own journey to becoming a singer.) Her phrasing, her diction, her dynamic choices, are all what makes her an artist.

In 2009,  Lea Michele sang the same song on the TV show Glee. Not only did she sing the same song, she sang every phrase, every syllable, very dynamic exactly the same way that Barbra Streisand sang it.

And not only did she sing it that way on Glee (in which her character was, admittedly, inspired by Barbra Streisand), she sang it that way at the 2010 Tony awards (can we talk chutzpah?) and again at a concert in San Francisco just three years ago.

This is a plagiarized performance. 

Here’s another example of a singer who makes this same song her own. The late Naya Rivera also sang this song as Santana on Glee in season 5 (by which point, I will admit, I had stopped watching). While there are a few similarities in phrasing (and perhaps you could call those historically informed performance practice), she takes risks and makes choices that make the song her own and not a transparent rip-off of the original (too harsh?). It is an homage to the original, but goes in a new direction that is Naya’s/Santana’s.

This is not a plagiarized performance. It is an original performance – she is not telling Someone Else’s Story – she is telling her own.

Because when it comes right down to it, we have to find our own voices and we have to trust them.


Don't plagiarize your performance - make your own kind of music.

As Mama Cass sang, you’ve gotta “make your own kind of music – sing your own special song.” (And yeah, she did it a little flat, to be honest, but it’s still an authentic and honest piece of storytelling.)

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If you’re curious about how to find (and ultimately trust) your own voice,
find out how you can work with me!
At Mezzoid Voice Studio, you’ll get not only the tools
to build your technique, but someone who will help guide you through
the storytelling process to make a song your own.

Exciting Changes for 2021-2022

I am pleased to announce some exciting changes coming for the 2021-22 year!

The first change is that I have decided to move all lessons to a 50-minute length. For my 45-minute students, this is a 5 minute increase. For my 60-minute students, we’ll be done 10 minutes earlier. (I have just violated my cardinal rule of not doing maths in public.)50 minute lessons in 2021-2022

 

There are a few reasons I’m doing this:

    1. I tend to run over with my 45 minute lessons, which then means I start the next lesson late, which means I end late at the end of the day, sometimes by as much as 15 minutes.
    2. It will make it easier for people to book their lessons.
    3. My dog needs to be fed and/or be let out. He will come and stare at me at about 4:50pm. If I don’t feed him by 5, the barking begins. (He has a very reliable inner clock.)
    4. Sometimes I have to go to the bathroom. I am, after all, mortal.

As a result of this, there will be a slight increase in cost for the former 45-minute students (and a decrease for the 60-minute ones).

Like last year, lessons will be offered over a 40 week period, starting after Labor Day (which is also Rosh Hashanah).

The 2021-2022 year will go from September 7 through June 11 (I always take off birthday week!). More specific information will be forthcoming when I find out what the scoop will be about my various temple/church/opera gigs and possible vacation.

In the event that I am cast in and decide to do Carmen with WNO, I will be extending this as needed based on those conflicts.

Also, based on the last two years of offering package options, I have decided to increase the number of lessons for the 2021-2022 year from 30 to 32.

The majority of people have had several weeks left at the end of the year after they’d finished their packages. Since we still had a recital coming up, just about everyone did a set of bridge lessons to cover the time till the summer session began, or began the summer session early.

This will also add the cost of two lessons to the package, so there will be a slight increase for that as well.

This applies to the Performers Package. The Busy Professional package will remain at 20 lessons, and it will be for 50 minute lessons instead of 60, so there actually may be a price decrease or it might stay the same. (Although I haven’t done the math yet, so don’t hold me to that – see public math, above.)

Another change – I will be offering two payment options instead of three.

(No one took the three-payment option last year for the Performers Package last year anyway.) Going forward, payment may be made:

    • In a lump sum upfront (Best Value)
    • Over 9 months, September-May

But the biggest new change of all is that I am introducing an MVP package for those students who are planning on going into music or musical theater.

Don’t get me wrong. All my students are valuable. MVP doesn’t stand for Most Valuable Player. It stands for Musically Vibrant Performer.

Musically Vibrant Performer
Announcing the MVP Package for Serious Singers

This is going to be an offering for people who really want to focus on the discipline and devotion (which, BTW, is going to be a blogpost theme later this month) that is required of any kind of serious practice, singing or otherwise. Like the performer’s package, it’ll include 32 lessons, but it’ll go beyond that. Full details will be sent out to invitees on July  10.

Become an MVS MVP
MVS Package

It’ll be kind of like going to an all-inclusive resort – except you’ll have to put in some work, instead of just lying by the pool (you’ll be neck deep in the pool instead).

All-inclusive MVP packages
BYO Tasty Beverage

At this point, this is an offering by invitation only for students who have indicated that they intend to go into these fields. But if you’re thinking of exploring that kind of training and would like to know more about this, drop me an email and we can talk about whether this is right for you.

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If you missed the treasure trove of information that was the College Audition Panel Discussion last week, it’s not too late to contact me to see if you can get the PDF and video link. The latter will be available through August 31.
(Cost: $25)

My latest obsession

My latest obsession is a musical that I just discovered this past weekend and I want to share it with all of you.

My latest obsession - the musical My Favorite Year by Ahrens and Flaherty

Last week I heard the opening number from My Favorite Year on On Broadway on SiriusXM and I was enchanted. I had to know more, so I added it to my Apple Music Library, and I’ll tell you, I keep re-listening to it. I am absolutely obsessed with it.

It tells the story of a 1950s-era sketch comedy/variety show that goes live once a week (think an early version of Saturday Night Live, but really it’s based on Your Show of Shows, which starred Sid Caesar – which was also the basis for another obsession of mine, The Dick Van Dyke Show). A young writer, played by Evan Pappas, has the opportunity to meet his movie star idol, swashbuckling hero Alan Swann (based on Errol Flynn, played by the great and gorgeous Tim Curry). Even though it only lasted a month on Broadway, it was nominated for three Tonys, for Ms. Kazan, Mr. Curry, and the great Andrea Martin, who won for best actress in a featured role in her Broadway debut.

It’s so charming – Evan Pappas said in an interview that if the show had opened in the spring, he was sure it would’ve been a success, but that the knives were out for it with a fall opening. There are several songs I’ve already earmarked for my students (and myself) to teach/learn:

  1. Larger than Life – young tenor/baritenor
  2. Funny – soprano/belter
  3. Rookie in the Ring – mezzo/belter
  4. If the world were like the movies – baritone (that’s going into my movie cabaret, if I get to do it again)
  5. Shut up and dance – duet for soprano/baritenor
  6. Professional Comedy Show Business – duet I’m going to put on a cabaret show somewhere
    AND
  7. My Favorite Year – tenor/baritenor (although I’m going to need to rewrite the last page as a solo in a higher key, because in the show it becomes an ensemble number)

You can check out some of the songs in this video (the clips are too short, IMO – they just get to the good part and then they segue to the next one):

The opening number (not included in this video) reminds me, structurally, of the Prologue to Ragtime – introducing all the characters and giving us an idea of what their relationship is right off the bat. In fact, Evan Pappas sounds like Little Boy in Ragtime, even though he’s a grown man – it’s his timbre, I guess.

I started watching the 1982 movie on which it’s based a month or so ago, but my husband came down and said, “What is this? I don’t want to watch this,” and I haven’t gotten back to it. (Note to self: Finish watching it.)

Have you heard this musical? I’d love to hear what you think of it in the comments. I really think this show deserves to be performed – at the very least, its songs do. You can find them on MusicNotes. Check them out!

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If you missed What To Know/What I Wish I’d Known About College Auditions, 
you may still get access to the video and the accompanying PDF I created.
Just send $25 to @MVSBaltimore via Venmo (along with your email address)
and I’ll send you the video link (good through 8/31) and the PDF!

 

Post-Panel Postmortem

(FYI, I am using the word “postmortem” as it is defined secondarily by Merriam-Webster, i.e., “an analysis or discussion of an event after it is over,” as opposed to the primary definition, AUTOPSY. Because there was nothing “deadly” about the event.)

And also, because alliteration is my jam.

Yesterday’s panel discussion – I think I might have mentioned once or twice or three or four times – went extremely well except for the fact that Zoom decided that when I changed my email from my personal one to my studio one, my account was now Basic and that I could hold meetings with 3 or more people for a maximum of 40 minutes. So I logged in 15 minutes early and we got knocked off at 25 minutes into the meeting, and then again 35 minutes later (I logged off so that we wouldn’t be in mid-question when we were disconnected), and again right after we finished, when there were just 3 of us chatting. This meant I had three separate videos that I had to piece together for the video that everyone who registered got to watch.

(The Zoom issue will be dealt with another time.)

I have not yet watched the video in its entirety, but here are a few TAKEAWAYS.

  1. Matt Edwards, Shenandoah: ” TAKE TOP 10 LISTS AS A LIST OF SCHOOLS GETTING THE MOST APPLICANTS, not a list of the best schools.”
  2. Karla Hughes, Viterbo: “GO WHERE YOU FIT BEST. Go where the experience is best for you.”
  3. Elizabeth Futral, Peabody: “BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Believe in the fact that you love to sing and want to sing and have to sing and have to perform. And we will see that and help you grow that germ of an idea that just can’t be suppressed.”
  4. Andrew Ryker, Ohio University: “OPENNESS [TO DIRECTION] and the ability to turn on a dime is definitely something that has saved several students that we weren’t sure about.”

The questions submitted by the registrants were fantastic. Many were variations on “how do I stand out?” but there were some that made me wonder “What happened to make you ask that?” Some really great, insightful questions. We couldn’t get to them all – and some of them were questions that would vary from school to school, or that you can find on the website.

One I didn’t think about until later today was – what if you take a gap year? What if you decide to work for a year to save money, to get experience, to mature a little more, to really focus on solidifying your technique? Do schools look on that favorably or askance?

If you weren’t there, and have any burning questions about college auditions, please let me know in the comments and I will see if they were answered in the panel discussion. And if they weren’t, I’ll be glad to steer you to the right place to answer them.

Here’s a lovely screenshot of the full panel near the beginning of the discussion.

Panel discussion screenshot
Top Row: Matt Edwards, Christine Thomas-O’Meally, Iyana Johnson Second Row: Lauren Manna, Olive DeVille, Elizabeth Futral Bottom Row: Karla Hughes, Andrew Ryker

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It may come as a surprise to any of you who have spoken to me for more than 5 minutes, but I actually don’t know everything (I know, I was shocked, too!). If I don’t know something, I reach out to people who do. If you’d like to be a part of the Curiously Strong Singing journey, find out how you can work with me.

 

Last call for registration

Registration is closing for tomorrow’s panel discussion! Have you registered yet?

I auditioned for one college when I auditioned for colleges.

My students in Milwaukee from 1998-2013 started out auditioning for two or three schools. By the time I left, musical theater was getting to the point where you had to audition for about five to guarantee they were getting into one. Things have changed. RADICALLY.

This article, from 2014, says that classical students should audition for between five and ten schools to get into one. It refers to three categories:

      1. Reach schools
      2. Probable schools
      3. Safety schools

I have heard that, for musical theater, you need to audition for between 15 and 25 schools. The competition is fierce. Even before COVID, schools started doing pre-screens to filter out who would get called in for an actual audition. It used to be just the top-tier schools, but now it’s all of them.

(I blame it on Glee.)

This will be an opportunity to find out what it takes to get into a well-regarded university. Our faculty panelists come from:

*Both listed in the top 30 programs

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Don’t miss this opportunity!
Register HERE

Any Questions?

As part of the registration process for What To Know/What I Wish I’d Known About College AuditionsI have had people fill out an intake form asking, specifically, what burning questions they have about the college audition process. I will be compiling those questions into some organized format to posit to the panel.

Some of the questions I’ve received so far include the following (which I’ve divided into categories):

  • Repertoire
    • Is it ok to use songs outside of the originally intended gender of who the song was written for in college rep?
    • How important is it to you to choose rep that is not ‘overdone’?
    • What is on the Classical Do Not Sing list?
    • Do you have repertoire you never want to hear again ?
    • Are self-composed songs appropriate for the pop song selection?
    • What are the most over-sung audition songs for MT, CCM, and Classical?
    • If you absolutely had to choose, does it matter more if students sing songs that are relevant to their age or their range?
    • Since Music Theater encompasses so many styles of music, are singers choosing just a few to show or are they still expect to have representation from many they “auditions books” (Golden Age, 50s, 60s, rock, pop, rap, legit, belt, etc et?)
    • What is the best way to form your audition repertoire?
  • Demeanor/Dress
    • Is weight/body type a consideration for your program?
    • What is the appropriate dress code for MT/CCM programs vs. Classical?
    • In a live setting, do you want the individual to approach the panelists and shake hands?
    • How should students interact with faculty outside of and inside an audition – asking questions, advocating for their needs, etc.
  • Prescreen videos
    • What makes a prescreen really stand out?
    • What’s the strangest wildcard video you’ve received? Has a wildcard video ever changed your mind about a student?
  • The Audition Process
    • BA vs BFA MT programs– do auditions differ?
    • Flow of a typical audition
    • Tips/tricks to auditioning in person v. virtual
    • Do you think that virtual auditions will remain? Or will in-person auditions resume?
    • Did you prefer virtual auditions over live auditions?
    • For the student: What do you wish you’d known before your audition?
    • For the student (I think):How do you deal with performance anxiety and feel confident in your performances?
  • The Interview
    • For the student: What was the most shocking/strange question you were asked in the audition process? [I didn’t know this was a thing]
    • What should classical students prepare for interview questions?
    • How do I best prepare for conversations with the people behind the table?
  • Admission
    • How important is sight singing and music theory in the admissions process for MT, CCM, and Classical?
    • How are schools dealing with the over saturation of singers in the music industry? How does each school help students prepare for a market that’s in transition especially in classical music?
    • If you have three equally talented voices for one role and you have to make a final decision, what’s the one thing you look for when making your final decision
    • How do you think college acceptances are going to change since the pandemic has stolen 2 years worth of performance opportunities away from so many high schoolers? This will inevitably create a gap in their resumes and I know I for one am somewhat anxious about how to present myself after losing so much time and experience.
    • What are typical acceptance rates?
  • The Decision-Making 
    • Will the lack of a strong dance background prevent the student from getting into a musical theater program?
    • What is the truth about how valuable it is to be a triple threat? (When going into Musical Theatre)
    • What are some of the most surprising moments in an audition that helped a student stand out and ultimately get accepted?
    • Are there any big NO’s in auditioning? Dealbreakers?
    • How can you make an impression without trying too hard?
    • What makes certain auditions stand out from others?
    • And what are the true expectations of high school aged students in their auditions?

And my FAVORITE question:

Tell me about an audition that EXCITED you!

I have 21 people registered so far, and there is plenty of room for more! The sooner you register, the more likely it is that I’ll be able to include your question, especially if it’s an juicy one. You can register HERE.

So – as Dr. Pangloss asks at the end of Bernstein’s Candide – any questions? (FYI, this video is supposed to be copied to start at 4 minutes in but if it doesn’t, either advance yourself over there or enjoy the whole song, because it’s my favorite choral piece in the world anyway.)

When To Take Things to Heart

Last Thursday, I wrote about Taking Things Personally, and how you needed to accept that rejection in an audition doesn’t mean it’s a rejection of you.

(And I just realized now that I had written a blogpost with that exact title back in November. Oops. Although that blogpost was a little emotionally naked than last Thursday’s, so I was only unoriginal as far as title.)

There was more that I’d written on Thursday that I thought was necessary. to write about but not include in that particular blogpost When should you take things personally? Or rather, take them to heart? (There’s a difference, and I’ll explain that below.)

If you consistently

    • aren’t getting the gig;

    • aren’t placing in the competitions;

    • aren’t filling the halls;

    • aren’t selling the class;

perhaps there is something that you need to accept feedback about and make some changes. If the feedback is honest and the source is someone you trust (a teacher, an adjudicator, a business coach, a parent or colleague), figure out what you need to implement those tweaks/changes to your process. It doesn’t mean you’re compromising your identity. You’re doing what you need to do in order to achieve a goal.

Maybe you need to:

    • address some technical issues

    • change out your audition material (what? cool obscure songs might not win that competition? impossible!)

    • tweak your marketing

    • do some market research (of course people want to sit in front of Zoom for two days after being online for a year! who wouldn’t?)

If implementing these changes doesn’t feel organic or natural, or you feel like you are compromising your identity, examine your actions and/or your goals. Is it resistance to something new just because it’s something new? Is it uncomfortable? A lot of things are uncomfortable when you first do them. If they stay uncomfortable or go to the point of pain, then, yeah, it’s probably not good for you.

Zumba didn’t feel good at first. Now it’s my favorite form of exercise. Barre, on the other hand, really aggravates my knee arthritis, and I let that go because it’s not ever going to feel better.  And there other ways to get the same results that don’t hurt me.

I had a voice teacher who told me that the secret to singing was to pull in my lower lip when I went for high notes. That didn’t feel good. My first teacher told me that I should hold my larynx down when I sang to get a rich, dark, mature sound. I sounded like an old woman. Those are things that I was able to recognize weren’t working for me and let go in favor of things that did work for me (like, say, healthy, science-based technique.)

There are ways of taking things to heart without taking them personally. According to Guillaume Hervé,

Taking something to heart means that you care about and are committed to the purpose and the outcome. It also means that you have a high level of conviction that what you are doing has meaning and can make a difference. Because you are taking this to heart, you are able to bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm to the task at hand.

Taking things personally makes it about you.Emoji of myself cursing

 

Taking things to heart makes it about the work. Emoji of myself taking things to heartWhich do you think is healthier for you and more productive?

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