Category Archives: The Performer

A journal and diary of life as a performer- updates on preparing a role, working with companies, auditions, etc.

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

As my studio is filling and I see the fruits of my labor turning ripe and delicious, I look back at where it all stems from. I remember the moment I decided to start a studio; I answered the question “if you could be doing anything right now, what would it be?” My immediate answer was “ be a famous opera singer.” Well, I am still working towards that… that takes a little more time. That was quickly followed with “Teach. I want to teach.” It was that immediate, non hesitant answer that catapulted me into the creation of Mockingbird Studio of Voice.

It was right around this time when a group of friends and I sat around chatting about life… jobs, school, what to do next. One of them asked me the same question and when I talked about my dream of running a private music school someday she asked why it had to be so far away in my timeline. Why did I have to wait to finishing “growing up” to get started? “Why can’t you do that now?” Ding Ding Ding! Duh, Cass. Good question. Launch the catapult, for real this time. Within weeks I had the plan for Mockingbird Studio of Voice in motion, and I made sure to send my friend a very big “Thank you” note.  Turning your dreams into reality takes time. It takes a determination, focus, energy… and a plan. Often, it also takes some soul searching. Now is the time to get started, no matter what stage of life you’re in. If you are in school and unable to get the ball rolling, at least get those wheels turning… figure out your passions. Pay attention to what makes you tick. What gets you excited? What things do you want to do with your life? What things are important to you? If you are a post-graduate trying to figure out what to do next, or how to get to where you want to be… make a list. Yeah, I said it… make a list. Label it “Dreams” and then start checking them off. Understand that it may not be a quick and easy thing to complete a goal. It may take years to officially check something off your list. Dare I say you may have to make other lists just to get started on one dream? Regardless, get started. You cannot possibly succeed if you don’t try. You really can’t. So change that. Get started.


Don’t be disappointed when the things you want take time. Instant gratification is lovely for a moment, but it doesn’t stand up to long-term happiness. I am still not 100% where I hope to be in my career. Even as my studio is a success on a day-to-day basis, I still have bigger dreams ahead of me. I have goals that stretch beyond my current situation. I have only been able to check a few things off my list of dreams, but every day I am working hard to cross the next thing off.

So, take a moment right now to write down three things that are really important to you. Then write down three things you hope to do in your life. And three things that you have a passion for. Now, take this list and mull it over. What does it mean to you? Is there anything that overlaps in a way to make a couple of things into one bigger idea? What sort of dreams does thinking about these things create? Take a moment to reflect. Then, begin. It is never too early to start thinking about these things, and it is never ever too late to get going.

Now truly is the first day of the rest of your life. Every day. How awesome is that?

 

Thank you for reading my blog post!

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

Follow @MockingbirdSOV on Twitter.

Please LIKE my Facebook Page.

Enter Generic Happy Title Here

In a world filled with social media, it is hard not to get caught up in the perfection of every one else’s life. You look at statuses and posts all about how wonderful something is, how happy someone’s marriage is and how great their kids are. Work is perfect for some people… easy and financially rewarding. You see selfies and photos of picture perfect, happy, smiling people. I have to admit- I am guilty of only showing the good and easy side of my life to the world. It is exciting to share the glories of life… who wants to show off the unfortunate parts of it? The problem is that this sets people up for comparison and most often, disappointment. I have come across a few friends, family members, and even a student of mine, who are going through some tough times right now… I can’t help but think that social media has got to make this worse. When comparing my own life, which often seems good… even great… I feel inadequate. When things go wrong in my life, I feel like I haven’t matched up with what it means to be “successful”, like somehow, struggling equates with failure.

You are not alone.

 

Things aren’t perfect… sometimes my life is a mess. I can tell when things get the worst because my daily organizational systems start to slip and falter… I care less about the laundry and the dishes and making the bed. I let things go because I am too busy to care. However, it’s when my personal life takes a tilt and internal battles take place that I find myself clinging to my lists and micromanaging even the smallest of details. Take the desktop of my computer- five minutes ago I changed the wallpaper and organized all the file icons. Seriously… I organized my desktop. Then came my inboxes, which as you can imagine, have an incredible labeling system already in place. Cleaning them out was a breeze… one more thing checked of my emotional basket-case list. It’s times like this morning where social media can be a beast. And here I am posting on it, myself.

Reach out.

So you find yourself in a place of loss, hurt, stress or struggle… what can you do? You can talk to people. There are so many, and thanks to social media (hah!) it is easy to reach them. Start to break down the walls of picture-perfect and let people in. Let people see the mess. I have spent so much of my life trying to appear perfect, so here I am, breaking down a wall… or at least punching a little hole in it, letting people take a peek. Here I am saying that things are not perfect. Things are hard. Work is hard. Marriage is hard. Parenthood is hard. LIFE is hard. If you are struggling, reach out. People can’t often see that you need them. On the other hand, if you do sense that someone needs you, take a chance and step in to help. Those in need will appreciate the gesture. Take a moment and really ask someone how his or her day is going. Take a chance. Make someone’s day.

Meditate

 

For those hurting right now, take a deep breath and get off Facebook… it probably will make things worse (I say as I hit the “post” button). Go take a yoga class. Go for a walk. Write someone a hand written letter. Make a journal entry. Go sing for a little while. Have a dance party in your living room. And if all else fails…you can always organize your desktop… it’s therapeutic.

 

Thank you for reading my blog post!

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

Follow @MockingbirdSOV on Twitter.

Please LIKE my Facebook Page.

Ka-Boom Goes the Dynamite

The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation.
Auguste Rodin

 Just reading that quote makes my heart race a little bit. I think about being on stage and making music. I can see myself in a few different circumstances- In a beautiful concert hall, dressed in a gown, the orchestra playing behind me – On a theatrical stage, in costume, lights and set surrounding me, the story engulfing me – Or in a more intimate setting, the audience within reach, my voice stretching out telling a story.

Each vision involves being overwhelmed by the music, it swirling up and around me, breathing it in and singing it out. I’m a dreamer for sure, but as an artist this is real. This is how we create. If our hope is not to be consumed by our art, than what is it?

(null)
Carmen, Habanera, Opera on Tap January 2015 – Photo courtesy of Melanie Tvete

As artists, it is our responsibility to inspire ourselves to inspire others to inspire change.
Ricky Lee Gordon

In the past, when I have tried to pin point what is it that I love so much about performing, I have failed to find words that truly explain it; I tried for a long time without success. I always attempted to express how awesome it is to “feel” live music- how all these singers, actors, instrumentalists, the conductor, the stagehands… all the powers at hand… come together in one moment to bring to life a piece of art. All together you create this “thing”. The performers feels it… the audience feels. And this is not just in classical music, but all genres. Artists come together to create one piece of work and the audience- the viewer- as much a part of the work as any one else. We create.

I recently had to answer a question in an application that asked me why performing arts were important to me. It was here, in this moment of being forced to say the above sentiments professionally, that I finally pieced together my feelings:

The performing arts are so important to me because it is my chance to take what I love (what I was made for) and influence and move other people. It gives me purpose. The most exciting part about performing art is getting the chance to create something that matters to more people than just oneself. To create something that can quite literally change the world. The arts move people; they challenge them; they cause them to question, to doubt, to stand up for something. As an artist, I act as the liaison between the work and the audience. I am ecstatically responsible for the message of the music- be that beauty, pain or strength- and the vision that the audience perceives. Sincerely, where would the emotion of the world be found, if not in art?

Oy- talk about deep… that’s my heart, folks, on a platter.

(null)
Carmen, Habanera, Opera on Tap January 2015 – Photo courtesy of Melanie Tvete

 If you have a calling, an urge, something you think about day and night, a passion, it is there for you to follow, to listen to it, to move toward it, and to find out the ways it may bring you more into being your total and complete self. We have all been given unique and extraordinary gifts in order to use them,and to share the wealth and joy of it with others.
Brenda Johima

 My life, as it sits now, is so full of music- so full of my passion. I finally have found a way to weave it all together and make bring music more completely into my daily life. I am working throughout town singing as often as I can, making a modest name for myself. All I can ask is for a chance to perform for people, and those chances are popping up all the time. I am working hard to become the best singer I can be, taking weekly lessons as I have been for the last twelve years, learning more about my voice every day. I attend performances to spark and re-inspire my need to be on stage.

I am teaching others to sing; I encourage them, I help prepare them for auditions, I invite them to nourish their own artistic growth by attending live performances. As a teacher, all I can do is open myself up to my students- act as a mentor, show by example, push buttons in each of my students that might ignite that spark within them. I respond to texts when they have reached a break-through at home. I reply to excited emails about upcoming auditions and repertoire selections. I giggle and squeal with students in their lessons about whatever is happening at home. And I congratulate them on their progress each week before they walk out the door.

My life is rewarding. Each student I come in contact with means something to me and teaches me something. Every role I get the chance to prepare helps me grow as a musician. Every lesson I take teaches me how to be a better teacher myself, and every lesson I teach opens my eyes a little more to what my passions are. Life is good, folks; Mine is full of artistic passion.

Have you found what ignites a fire within you?

Have you found something that lights a spark?

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog post!

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

Follow @MockingbirdSOV on Twitter.

Please LIKE my Facebook Page.