Monthly Archives: December 2014

Choose Wisely

I have had time to finally sit and reflect on my time spent on Carmen at the University of Minnesota. I met many new friends and colleagues that changed my life. When you are in a show, you spend so much time with these new people in a short amount of time that you get to know them quickly, and sometimes really deeply. You devote so much of yourselves to the same work, the same product that you can’t help but find a connection with each other. You work hard, you become attached to these new people, and then you finish the show and bam, back to reality, back to real life. Some times this means never seeing certain people again. Thanks to the norms of social media, you can easily stay in contact with people from anywhere in the country, but it’s still hard to feel like the people you were the closest to are gone all of a sudden. The world of performance is ephemeral. It can be a lonely existence. Many performers really struggle with this.

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Don Jose and Carmen… you can’t even tell he just stabbed me to death!

It is important to keep positive connections in your life outside of this lonely world. Not everyone has a family to come home to at the end of the day, in the traditional sense, but there really is truth in saying that your family is chosen. You need your person…or people… someone you call to vent to, someone who is there any time you need them, even if that is to simply sit quietly together. You can build your family on your own, and often (let’s be real here) you get closer to your chosen family than your “real” family anyway.

I have an over abundance of family in my life. I have a huge group of family and friends, so supportive and loving, that I can exist in this crazy world of come-and-go relationships without it eating away at me. It is still hard to finish a show and feel like I am thrown into disconnect from what I knew and loved within a cast and production, but having this support is certainly helpful. Finishing Carmen was really emotional for me. I truly loved the role and the people I worked with. I was sad before the final performance started and I cried the second I walked off stage for the last time.

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My parents and I after the Carmen. Non-stop-full-time-supporters, and only a small handful of the family there that day!

This sadness was short lived, though, as I walked around the corner to see a huge group of friends and family waiting for me with hugs and smiles, flowers, notes and so many pictures. These people are MY people. Many of them came from out of state to see me perform and I was more than appreciative of their support. Seeing them all there filled me with so much happiness. I looked around and thought, it doesn’t matter how the performance went- these people would think so much of me no matter what. These are the people I would call throughout the process of the show and vent to, express concern over learning the role, exclaim to when I finished memorizing the role, etc. They knew the behind-the-scenes take on it. There were others who couldn’t make it to the show for various reasons who sent texts, left voicemails, sent messages online. This support isn’t taken for granted. The love and support of these people is what keeps me going- in and out of the crazies that come along with delving into a character and coming back out on the other side.

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Friends who traveled up to see Carmen and bombard me with love after the show. These are some of my chosen family!

You have to find this for yourself. You have to find those relationships in your life that are real, non-materialistic, beyond-the-surface connections with people, and hold them tight. Make sure they know you are there for them as much as you expect them to be there for you. Ask them how their day is because you are genuinely interested in hearing about it, and you know how nice it is to hear that from them. Take the time to go support them in whatever endeavors they work so hard at day in and day out. Send them a note from time to time. Call and check in when you know they are hearing back about something important. You get the point… be there. Choose wisely whom you bring into your life and keep them close. Make them feel important.

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Plaguesville: The Hot Spot this Season

Tis the season for colds and flus and viruses, oh my! It seems like every one I know is sick or has been sick recently. It also seems like the year that everyone I know continues to get sick over and over again. Many people will comment “Oh, that’s my ‘illness’ for the season” as if they only get sick one time throughout the winter, and then before they are back to full force they are slammed down with something else. There has been a specific virus going around this fall and winter that seems to stow away in you for about a month before you start to really feel better… Just in time to catch a cold or the flu!

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Meet Sicko.

So what do you do to get healthy in this wasteland of germs and guck?

First thing’s first, STAY healthy! Work hard NOT to get sick in the first place. Of course, wash your hands often. Be mindful of sharing food and beverages, even with loved ones. People joke about singers being overly cautious hypochondriacs, but if your job was literally impossible when you are sick, you would be careful with whom you swapped germs with too! Teachers… I haven’t figured out the tricks quite yet… you have tons of people coming in and out of your studios all day long opening their mouths, touching your things… where a face mask?

It seems to be unavoidable that you will get ill throughout the course of the season. So what can you do to feel better?

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Supplements build your health, not just fight off symptoms of poor health.

First thing you need to focus on is catching symptoms early! You have to start being aware of your body all the time, from the inside out. You know what I mentioned about the hypochondriac singer… well, I will admit, I know when I am getting sick before it happens. I can feel the slightest changes in my body- my throat, my muscles, my sinuses, my head. “I am getting sick…” I can tell when things are off and getting worse, from the tiniest signs. When that happens I LEAP into my supplement cabinet. I try to fight this sucker before it gets out of control. I take my normal multivitamin, and vitamins B and C and D… then for immune boosts I take garlic supplements and Echinacea. Not kidding though, if you jump on them right away, it usually works!

I also start using my nasal rinse twice a day, when I wake up and before I go to bed. Some people use nasal rinses every day, all the time, depending on their health and sinus issues, but I only use them when I feel something coming on. These rinses do more than you think they will! Even when there isn’t a bunch of gunk to flush out (sorry, graphic), the rinse helps keep your sinuses clean- just what you need!!! You don’t want it to get to the point of needing it… you want to prevent yourself from needing it.

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Take time to rest whenever you can!

If you are feeling ill and wonder if you should go to your lesson… don’t. Teachers get it. Teachers don’t want you to spread illness around, in their teeny tiny studios full of stuff to touch. If you have a singing engagement, that’s another story, you probably need to be there. If you have a good technique to fall back on, you should be able to get through things just fine, but that is a whole other post to write… stay tuned for that one. Stay home and rest as much as you can; it really is true that rest is the best medicine. Not every one can stay home from work with a stuffy nose or a case of the aches, but use your energy wisely. Store up as much as you can. Take the elevator instead of the stairs this time. Go to sleep earlier than normal, sleep as late as you can. And if you CAN stay home, do. You’ll notice that taking a day off BEFORE you get to Plaguesville will really help you avoid it all together. Oh, and stay hydrated! Flush this junk out of your system… literally.

Stay well, stay rested and stay tuned for more!

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High Impact Success

Today, for the first time in a long while, I woke with up with a lightened load of stress and exhaustion. Literally, I feel… lighter! Running my own business and keeping my household afloat means my to-do list is not exactly getting shorter. Throw my own personal projects and attempts at promoting myself through life… and forget it;  the list is a long one every day. As fast as I cross something off, I am adding two more things. However, projects have been clearing out now for a couple of weeks and life is attempting a return to normalcy. We are in the midst of holiday season, which means that every penny has a place it can go… in fact, there can never seem to be enough pennies. Every moment has something to put in its place. Every ounce of energy has a source for its depletion.

But today I feel more rested than I have in a while… I say as I yawn and take another swig of coffee; the Christmas lights are lulling, I have to admit. Today, my list remains a long one, but I have just finished up a major project that has been in the works for a long while- A project that hopefully leads to a promotion of sorts- A project that may not end up changing a thing in my life. I put a lot of work into the unknown… and now, I wait. This year I have been building my private studio from scratch. I have been pushing and working hours that aren’t being paid for, and for what? For the love of… art? …education? …humanity? Actually, yes, I’d like to say all of the above. I have always dreamt of changing the lives of others through music and education. I think I am reaching my first real points of success with that this year.

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Last week I had a 10-year-old girl come in for a trial lesson; she is on the younger end for voice lessons, and her mother wanted my honest opinion- Was it worth it for her to spend the money for lessons at such a young age? Was there potential in this area for her daughter? “I know she has a pretty voice, but maybe I am biased…” A parent really does have to start picking and choosing which activities are “worth it” to invest in for their child. I gave her my honest, educated, and fellow-mother opinion. I gave her a few options (of which did not all include my services) and said I hoped to hear from her soon and wished the little one luck. I received an email yesterday saying that they wanted to sign up for my largest package of lessons and that I was all that the little girl could talk (and sing) about! As a businesswoman I thought “Sweet! $$$”, as a mother I thought “Oh, it’s so wonderful that this young girl gets to do something she seems to love so much!”. It is as a teacher that my heart filled with joy that I seem to have made in impact on this young person by spending just half an hour together. I cannot wait to get started with her.

It is important to me to make a difference in people’s lives; whether that is through a performance, through a lesson or working side-by-side on a project. This year I have been striving to make sure that everything I do has purpose, helping me to reach my goal. I am not perfect in all of this yet, but I’m getting there. Finishing up each project seems to get me one step closer to success. I have had a few things hanging in limbo lately, a place I don’t usually enjoy, but when I sit back and look at everything else that is happening around me, I cannot stop the smile from coming across my face. Even in limbo, I am where I want to be. Things that might push me farther are truly options for me right now, and if they don’t become a reality, I am so happy where I am. I am changing people’s lives!

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As you start setting goals for the New Year, and you look back on where you’ve been and where you are going, be encouraged. Think big. Push yourself hard. One year ago, my studio was a glimmer of an idea in my head, and now, it is a success! I can look back in pride at the amount of work I put into this. I can look ahead into limitless possibilities. Set your goals high, and then shoot even higher. Have faith. Find inspiration. Be ready to get exhausted doing something that is worth it to you. Take one step. Push forward. Get started, and then… stay tuned!

 

Thank you for reading my blog post!

Check out Mockingbird Studio of Voice and Chanson Voice and Music Academy.

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