Hidden Rules of the Professional World of Performance
"A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials." - Seneca
How do you prepare to be “part of the process” when you are hired to do a role? It is just a job after all, not a popularity contest or a stage for a pity party when things go wrong. Going to do a job, means you are thoroughly prepared in every aspect of your mind, body and spirit. The better you know how you tick, what your self-sabotage triggers are and how to handle them, how to deal with others in a professional manner if they want to intimidate or bully you even if it is the conductor or stage director, plus how to handle any subtle or even aggressive unwanted physical attention from others, is of paramount importance. You have to go prepared by having some already worked out dialogue for supporting your position that is not just a reaction but you taking action on your behalf in a way that lets others know where you stand without it becoming emotional or personal.
So, know that doing your job is not just about singing beautifully. Certainly, it is part of the package, but knowing how to handle yourself in differing circumstances and venues is also very important. Your job is to put butts in seats, go to the gig knowing your music, words, character and having that all down cold, plus winning the hearts and minds of not only the audience, but your colleagues, the staff, and those who hired you to perform and to help them sell their product.
You need to stay out of any company politics, and get along with everyone. Doesn't that sound like a job in and of itself? You bet, but that is also being a professional no matter what business you are in. It’s never personal or emotional. It’s about you doing your job to the best of your ability, right this minute, right now, right where you are vocally as you tell your story through your character. Sure you will make mistakes and occasionally even fall of the horse, but you need to have the self assurance and confidence in your own brand to get right back on and continue to do your job.
Know that the first few times you do a new role or do your first professional jobs, you will have doubts and insecurities. We have all been there and done that; you are not the lone ranger here. But remember, those that get rehired are the ones that work at creating and maintaining strong professional relationships, are great colleagues, and work to help build a powerful performance that brings success not only to you, but to the company you are working for.
So spend some time working with your inner “Brat”, that voice that talks to you in your head usually in a not so nice tone, and any family, friend or foe issues so you can continue to grow your brand as you move forward. It’s just a job, but it’s your job, so do it well!!
Avanti and ciao until next time. Carol
The world of opera and classical singing has given me over 45 years of living the dream—world travel, meeting and working with some of the most famous singers, conductors and stage directors of yesterday, today and tomorrow. It’s been a successful and very satisfying journey for me.
Success means something different to everyone…..so let me ask you, what does success mean to you? It is different for everyone. Most people are afraid of both success and failure. What are you afraid of and why? Once you know the reality of what a singing career demands, are you still interested in pursuing this dream and why? And last but not least, how is your current career plan working out for you? Need some help? You’ve come to the right spot.
Here are my four key cornerstones, the necessary foundation upon which to build and support your career:
- First and foremost, having a solid and consistently dependable vocal technique.
- Knowing who you are, from the inside out.
- Having a destination and a solid plan to get there.
- Maintaining personal accountability in all areas of your life.
Let me help you review where you are in your career, confirm what you already have in place and honestly works well for you. Together we can define any areas that might need some adjusting. Let’s set up a plan to make your career foundation whole and solid knowing there is no progress without change.
Before you leave this website, make sure you check out my Newsletter Archive. If you find one that really resonates with you, let me know about it. Or if you have an idea for a subject that you would like me to discuss, let me know that as well. And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE Aria Ready Monthly Newsletter to help keep you on track and inspired.
Check out the completely revised and updated 2nd edition of my book, “Aria Ready, The Business of Singing”. There are many books out there about singing and many books out there about business, but this is the only one available that explains the Personal & Business Aspects of building a singing career. I not only tell you what to do, but how to do it by giving you the tools and skills to create your very own personalized path to successful career building. It’s a great resource and reminder of how to do what needs to be done. To have an achievable purpose, creates motivation to get you where you want to go, even if and when you stumble and fall or just don’t have the vision for a while. You will be able to actually go into the book to read some of the materials to see if this might be a good resource for you.
Thanks for stopping by. Bookmark this site so that it will be easy to use as a resource, as well as a place to discuss and digest subjects that you are interested in. Let me hear from you.
Finding Your Tribe
"Worrying is your imagination creating something you don’t want." - Esther Hicks
I am often told stories by singers about the difficulty they have in finding a community of like minded people with whom they can create dialogue that is meaningful to them as well as developing a support group.
Where to begin…
Becoming a performer is an individual sport. Sure you have a voice teacher and coach; perhaps a drama and movement coach and an accompanist that you might work with or that you use when you can for auditions. But, for the most part you are basically on your own. Because no two people are wired the same way, some people are naturally inclined toward wanting to belong to a tribe or group while others are not. So, if you are someone who knows you work better within a group, it’s up to you to find those of like mind. Often that means perhaps stepping out of your comfort zone. And that in turn might mean getting to know and exchange text messages or tweets with the singer that comes before or after your lesson or coachings. Or if you are in a particular studio, you can ask your teacher for the best way to get to know the rest of the students in their studio as you are looking for a community of singers to get involved with.
Another idea is that most big cities and even smaller towns have several venues where singers get up and perform in a more relaxed situation like a bar, restaurant or club. It’s a great place to not only experience other singers perform and perhaps perform yourself, but also a mecca for networking and schmoozing with new and interesting people who do what you do and it gives you an opportunity to create new relationships. Then it’s up to you to follow through with keeping in touch.
Often there are organizations in bigger cities that are specifically for opera singers where you can go to their programs or meetings to meet other singers, patrons or those who simply love this art form and support it. In NYC there is The National Opera America Center which is a huge organization and they have a beautiful new home on 330 7th Ave. You can become a member for a very nominal fee which entitles you to attend their many venues and master classes or brose their library. They often have recitals and auditions there. They can also often help you with particular questions about our industry if you need that kind of help. And I’m sure other big cities have something similar.
What Folder Are You In?
"One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks. ~ Jack Penn
What’s one of the first things we as humans think about when we meet someone new? How much of my time, energy, or money, my resources, do I want to spend with this person, at this time?” The next thing we do is to make distinctions by deleting, distorting and generalizing all conversation and impressions of this person, so we can create a label for this person and put them in a “Them and Us” zone, or context. Yes, we all do this and it’s an unconscious process at this point in your life. The three big “Them and Us” folders in most minds are usually: gender, race, and religion. Then you quickly break them down into many sub-categories as you continue to discover how you are similar and how you are different from one another. You ask the question, do we have any “quick” connections with which to create rapport. You first look for commonalities, then notice where you run into conflicting, contradictory opinions and principles. From this information you start creating stories, perceptions and interpretations of reality so there is some context and they can then be sorted and filed for future use.
We all want to be part of a tribe, a group of like minds. Finding if you are in rapport, and have more commonalities than contradictory points of view, is the first part of everyone’s agenda. You often do this by asking others questions about where they are from, what schools they went to, who they study with, their degrees and then quickly devolve all the way down to favorite sports teams.