Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Managing Rejection: The importance of a healthy delusion BONUS: How to select your auditions!

All singers have to handle rejection practically every day, but how do you avoid letting the rejection hurt so badly that it inhibits you from picking yourself back up to continue pursuing this wildly difficult career?

First of all, it’s important to have an amazing amount of self-belief or what’s called a “healthy delusion”. You must think you are amazing enough to perform glorious music composed by genius musicians for thousands of people!  Let’s face it, if YOU don’t think you’re awesome, no one else will!  Singers are like warriors, running into battle every day, when all the odds are completely against them (this metaphor may be disrespectful to warriors, a healthy delusion is important!). The truth is, every day we have to put ourselves out there, whether it’s in an audition, during an application for an audition, or in a rehearsal. Every day we are faced with the possibility of hearing the words “I’m sorry, you’re not good enough,” which faced without a healthy dose of “it doesn’t matter what you say, I’m amazing,” could be quite daunting.

Think about it: how many other people have to interview as many times to get one job that will not even pay well enough to cover expenses for the interview? How much time, money and energy have you spent in the last year filling out applications, uploading your materials, recording new arias and uploading them to YouTube, paying for new headshots, hair-do’s, make-up, shoes, clothes, lessons, vocal coaching, musicahh…the list goes on and on. How many auditions did you apply for, and receive last year? How many offers did you receive from those auditions and how much money did you make from those gigs? A pittance, right?

So, do you feel rejected yet? As we stated before, if you’re still jumping into the fire to pursue this career, then you’re probably already managing a healthy delusion. We applaud you for your courage, because you are courageous! However, even the best and most courageous of us all have days where we feel like there is no hope.  Hang on!

One way to monitor the amount of rejection you will inevitably receive is to choose the right companies for you at this exact moment in time.  It will give you a better chance at success if you strategically plan the where and why?   If you do not know which auditions are right for you, ask a well-trusted colleague to point you in the right direction, or follow these tips:

Firstly: narrow down the search by asking yourself these questions:

1) Do you want to audition for pay-to-sing or no-pay companies?
2) Can you afford to go to the pay-to-sing program you’re applying for?
3) Are you ready to sing for the big houses? and finally,
4) Mainstage or Young Artist?

 Once you’ve answered these questions, narrow down your search to the companies that meet your criteria.

Next ask yourself:

 1) Are they performing operas that you would actually get cast in?
 2) Are they casting an opera you’ve been in and sung a role from? You would have a                      better shot of getting cast in this case.
 3) Are they are only casting roles that you would never sing? Then don’t bother.                         Applying for an audition that you will most likely get rejected from is a waste of your time and resources.

Now that you’ve determined the company you are applying to is playing your song and needs you more than anything, research the company. 

And then…

 - Who runs it? 
 - Who did they cast last season? Listen to their casts to find out what types of voices                they are interested in.
 - Where is the company located?
 - Are they conservative or liberal? 
 - What type of productions do they normally do? 
 -Does anyone who works there speak another language fluently? 
 -Can you find YouTube videos of the conductor conducting the piece you will be                                  auditioning with?  This will enable you to understand their preferred style and                        tempo choices, giving you that certain “extra edge” when you audition.

We promise when you answer these questions for yourself and delete the audition notices that don’t apply to you, you will drastically limit the rejection, save time, money, and stress, and ultimately you will feel happier about your career decisions. The more you know about who you are auditioning for, the more prepared you will be to give them what they want, and the more likely you will be able to succeed. Set yourself up to do your best. Be honest with yourself about where you are and what you want!


Remember that healthy delusion.  Don’t stifle yourself, keep reaching for unreachable goals, and believe that you can do anything! Be grateful for your amazing talent, as well as the teachers, coaches, friends, and family who have helped you along the way. Know that everyone is going through the exact same thing, and be happy when your friends get amazing opportunities! Keep on keeping on. Never say, “die.” Let the delusion set you free!  And every once in awhile, sing a solo at your local church, or audition for a musical theater company.  Sing for people who appreciate your talents and let them remind you how wonderful you are!