I’ve noticed that so many singers today burn out before they even begin their careers. We lose some really great voices before they even begin because they simply give up. They get tired of trying to figure out how to get their foot in the door that will really take them to the next step of their careers. They seem overwhelmed by the many choices available and they are not sure which one is right for them, so they do a buck shot approach – trying a little of this and a little of that. They soon grow tired of getting excited about a workshop or class they just spent time, energy and money on, realizing all they got from it was what to do. Often times they already know what to do, but not how to do it. They grow weary from putting themselves out there and getting nowhere. Frustration sets in. They become discouraged and depressed at their seeming lack of judgment. So, how does one go about creating a career path that keeps you in possession of your own power, and moves you toward your goal of having the type of singing career you want?
“People who fail to achieve their goals usually get stopped by frustration. They allow frustration to keep them from taking the necessary actions that would support them in achieving their desire. You get through this roadblock by plowing through frustration, taking each setback as feedback you can learn from, and pushing ahead. I doubt you’ll find many successful people who have not experienced this. All successful people learn that success is buried on the other side of frustration.”
~ Tony Robins
There are many programs and services out there for singers today, but too much of a good thing can also be overwhelming. I’ve heard from my own students that they feel confused and unsure which programs are worth their time, energy and money. As with my students, most aspiring artists are supplementing their income with either a full or part time job, and they feel that adding something else to their plate is a real financial challenge. Yet there is a sense that you have to try to do everything right now or be left behind. Here’s a newsflash – just because it is there, doesn’t mean that you need to partake!
Stop. Stop this stressful spinning of your wheels. Breathe. Take the time you need to truly evaluate where you are right now on your career path, and what you really need to help you move forward. Give yourself a sense of direction unique to your needs. What would be useful for you right now? Create your own path to follow, your plan of action; one that is just right for you. Your plan should fit in with your life and your schedule, even if it becomes a little crowded. Once you have that in place you need to stay the course and not become seduced with something new until you have completed your present plan. Then you can reevaluate, once again, where you are right now and what your needs are right now. It then becomes one positive step at a time.
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
~ Gilda Radner
So, take the first step and ask yourself – “What is the missing link for me personally?” Let’s look realistically at what one really needs to do or possess to have a career.
- Know who you are. Conduct an honest evaluation of yourself and learn who you are.
- Possess a great natural instrument.
- Possess intrinsic musical instincts.
- Learn a solid vocal technique.
- Acquire comprehension and appreciation of languages.
- Have knowledge of and comfort in your fach – prepare several roles.
- Gain performance experience.
- Think clearly and make the right choices for yourself.
- Don’t give your power away to someone or something outside of yourself.
- Utilize organizational skills.
- Write a plan of action.
- Put together a PR Packet.
- Acquire resources to find proper venues for you to audition for.
- Commit to following through and staying the course.
- Have the knack and balls to think outside the box.
- Develop great relationships.
- Maintain good health – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- Value Commitment, Self Discipline, Consistency and Balance.
This list may seem daunting at first, but face it, no matter what profession you choose, you need many of these same skills and tools to start and maintain a career. And here’s the good news. You already have all the resources you will ever need to be who you really are and follow your dream. You know your wants, your needs, your capabilities, your strengths and your weaknesses. You know instinctively when you can trust someone and when you can’t. Deep down you know when something is right for you or not. So start believing in yourself. As a singer, you already have a head start. You already have all the notes you will ever have. Maybe you aren’t sure of how exactly to approach them yet, but they are there. You have an innate sense to express music in a way that moves and thrills you. So after reviewing the list above, analyze what you are personally in need of gaining, honing or nurturing to be successful, and one by one, find the workshop(s) or contacts that will help you accomplish these things. And remember, as you travel along your individualized path that you are not competing against any other singer. We are unique in our path and in what we have to offer. There is no competition. Singing is a matter of allowing the words, music and emotion to come out through the sound of your voice. Then it’s up to those hiring to make a choice on what is a fit for their company. Beware of competing with others. It can throw you off course and set those wheels spinning in place again as you worry about where you are in comparison to those around you instead of concentrating on what you need to do to get where you are going.
Have you ever thought about how you would look at your career as a singer if you knew you had only 6 months to live? Would you even want to continue with a career or would you just sing for your own pleasure? Would you audition differently? Would you feel freer to express yourself and thrill yourself from head to toe and set every molecule in your body aflame with your joyful sound? Would singing be more or less of a competition? It’s an interesting exercise.
“Focus on competition has always been a formula for mediocrity.”
~ Daniel Burrus
Here is another interesting bit of information about competition. Did you know according to Alfie Kohn in his book “No Contest: The Case Against Competition”, that America is the only country that is almost totally based on competition rather than cooperation? Do we see ourselves during an audition as competing against someone else? Do we have to prove to the world, performance after performance, audition after audition, that we are better than everyone else? Competition means that someone wins and everyone else loses. Does that sound artistic in any way? NO WONDER THERE IS SO MUCH STRESS!!!! Do not forget why you love to sing and perform. It’s not a competition. When you practice, thrill yourself to the very core. It’s an art form like no other. You are your instrument. Therefore anyone who sings, whether it’s one looking for a serious career, or the singing in the shower, has the ability to help heal themselves and keep healthy with their own vibrations. When we sing and someone else is present or when we perform with an audience present, we share in an amazing exchange of cooperative energy. We are partners with pianist, colleagues, orchestra, and the audience. Isn’t it nice to know that something this human still exists in today’s harried world?
“Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense.”
~ Thomas Arnold Bennett
And yes, you have to make sacrifices above and beyond what most anyone else working toward a career has to face. But if it’s what you want, suck it up and do the work. Don’t use excuses. Like Yoda says, “There’s no trying, either do it or don’t.” Use your resources in a consistent manner and your time, energy and money will get you to your goal much faster then if you “try” hard for 2 weeks and then slack off for a month.
So, start putting all the pieces of your puzzle together and stick to your own plan of action with clarity and conviction. You will cut through the chaos and frenetic feeding frenzy of everything and everybody else that is going on around you. You may feel you are moving in slow motion, but remain steady and true to your path. When you make this kind of educated commitment to the process that works for you, you cut the time of transition from aspiring artist to young professional in half.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
~ from “Light” by Marianne Williamson
In conclusion I would like to propose a New Years Resolution:
I resolve to:
- Take the time to find exactly where I am right now on my career path and exactly what it is that I need right now to move forward.
- Not get caught up in the chaos and frenetic feeding frenzy of activity that many others looking for a singing career seems to be involved in.
- Trust my gut level instincts.
- Take guardianship of and responsibility in maintaining my own power.
- Do it my way and stay the course.
- Figure out how much I can comfortably put on my plate physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially.
- Not be like everyone else.
- Stop looking at singing as a competition, but instead appreciate it as an art form I feel compelled to participate in.
- Remain passionate, joyful and empowered by singing.
- Know I am a winner because I have taken back my power.
- Know I am a success because I realize I don’t have to beat anyone at anything to reach my own goals and dreams. It is all up to me.
“The road to success is lined with many tempting parking spaces.”
~ Source Unknown
If my Aria Ready Bootcamp February 4 & 5, 2006 is something you feel is a good fit for your career path right now, please sign up. Because I give much personal attention, the number of participants is limited, so Sign Up Now.
ARIA READY BOOTCAMP! SIGN UP NOW! Because this Bootcamp is in such demand, I have time for only one in NYC this next year. It is open to only 6 – 12 participants which means you each will have my full and personal attention. It’s intense, interactive, and fun. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Don’t forget, singing is a business, and requires more than knowing how to put a resume and PR Packet together.
Here’s what you get!
A PERSONAL BRAND & MISSION STATEMENT – every business has a product to sell. That product has a brand name and is backed by the company’s mission statement. You are the business, the product, and the brand. Getting that part right makes every other aspect of running your business a lot easier.
EXPANDED RAPPORT & COMMUNICATION SKILLS – Learn to communicate off stage as well as you do when you are performing. Get comfortable networking and schmoozing. It’s all part of having a successful career.
A PERSONALIZED PLAN OF ACTION – You might have goals, but if you don’t have a personalized plan of action to carry them out, it’s a no brainer that it going to be harder to make them happen.
BUSINESS STRATEGIES & TACTICS – put your new tools and skills to work for you as you learn to understand the action necessary to having a singing career.
“I absolutely LOVED this workshop. I learned so many functional tips to help me manage my career. I’ve often felt overwhelmed by all of the business aspects of singing but now feel prepared to take control of every aspect of my career. The first night was almost spiritual. We go to peer into our souls and those of our colleagues. It was obvious that you were passionate about your teachings and genuinely cared about each one of us. You are truly inspiring!”
Nicole Ameduri, Opera Institute, Boston University
This 12 hour Bootcamp will give you a clear understanding of what needs to be done and how to do it. It will get the singing career ball rolling. New York Opera Studio run by Carol and Nico Castel are the sponsors. You can sign now up by clicking the “Buy Now” button below.
Here is the pertinent information.
Aria Ready Bootcamp
Dates: February 4-5, 2006
Time: 10 am to 5:30 pm each day
Place: Joria Productions
– 260 W 36th Street, 3rd floor, NY 10018
I wish you all a Happy and Empowered New Year! Stay the course and I will talk with you next month.