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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Learn your music!

Late May is crunch time for singers heading off to summer programs all around the world - Chautauqua, AIMS, Central City, Banff, Brevard, Aspen, Santa Fe, DMMO, Ash Lawn, Merola, etc.

"Crunch time?" Yes - because it's all about showing up with music learned. If the music is learned (especially the CHORUS music!), there'll be a great first impression made. That first impression can make or break a singer's reputation and it is a rather lasting impression because of the intensity and short duration of many of these summer programs.

In fact, I believe strongly that one of THE factors to success in the business (particularly if one is moving through the ranks of the various young artist programs) is whether or not a singer shows up with their chorus assignments learned and memorized. This basic, simple notion - to be prepared as requested - shows so much about a singer: their level of professionalism, their work ethic, their musicianship skills, their seriousness about pursuing an opera career, and their time management. I'm not talking about scenes, small roles, or cover assignments - it's the ones who show up with the CHORUS music learned that have, in my experience, gone on to secure management and start their careers.

Lots of great voices, tons of talented aspiring singers, loads of great actors, dozens of six-pack baritones, two actual basses, and a few potential Verdi sopranos are out there right now preparing for their exciting summer programs. Many will be thinking "is it really cold up in New Mexico at night? Do I pack all of my belts? Do I need my suit? What about audition dresses in the summer? Will they like me? Will I meet a soulmate? Will I like the other singers? Will the director be organic or organized? etc." However, the real question should be "have I learned my music - all of it?" or at least "have I learned my chorus part?"

Seriously, this is a HUGE HINT ABOUT SUCCESS. Please don't ignore it. Get off the internet right now and Hie Thee To A PRACTICE ROOM!!

Speaking of, I need to learn how Pirates of Penzance ends... Conducting G&S is not like conducting Bluebeard's Castle -- it's harder!