Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Create Your Summer!

It's no secret: this audition season was tough. Now that the deluge of contracts or PFO's (rejections) are abating, it's time to look at your calendar. If you were lucky enough to land a gig in the coming months, you have some preparing to do. But what if all you have to show for all of that work is a pile of rejection emails in your inbox? You could just feel dejected and say, "Well, I guess I've got nothing to do this summer!" Wrong! Time to put on your grown-up pants and create the summer you want!

Do a role study. Is there a role that's perfect for you, but you've never had the chance to sing? What's keeping you from learning it? Get with a coach and your voice teacher and really hit the score hard. Also, guess what? When you have that role under your belt, you can put it on your resume under "Roles Learned." If you have a group of friends who are all interested in studying a new role, pick an opera that you can all learn and work on recitatives and ensembles together.

Take a class. Are you one of those singers who says they can't dance? Why not check out your local dance studio? Many studios have classes for adult beginners. You'll get in touch with your body and improve your coordination. You could also try a ballroom class, which will come in handy when you find yourself doing an opera with a big party scene! Or, you could go in a dramatic, new direction by taking a scene study or monologue class (lots of YAPs are asking for monologues these days!). Learn some new acting techniques that you can apply to your audition arias - or that new role you're working on.

Create new performance opportunities. Take a look around your community. Are there other opera singers who are hungry for more experience? Do you know some instrumentalists with whom you could collaborate? Put together a recital, concert, or maybe even a small production. Pick some new chamber works you'd like to perform, or a small chamber opera that you could produce with minimal sets and props. It might take a bit of entrepreneurial skill, but it could be a great experience for everyone involved. 

Pick up a new instrument, or dust off an old one! There's nothing more fun than jamming out with friends around a piano or having a sing-along with a guitar. Isn't it satisfying to actually play the accompaniment for yourself and your voice students rather than just plunking out the melody? Add some structured practice time into your calendar and you'll start to see progress.

You don't have to get a gig or pay thousands of dollars at a summer program to grow as an artist. A musical and productive summer is in your future - make a plan and stick to it!