As a child and teenager, when frustrated, I remember saying "This isn't fair!!!!" and my father very calmly responding simply, "Who said life was fair?"
As we develop our craft and our artistry, if we decide we want to pursue a career in this business, we must begin to recognize the reality within the dream.
Our business is not objective. Our business is subjective and full of human beings. Human beings are fallible. They make mistakes; they have egos; they lack imagination or knowledge; they are biased or prejudiced;
Our business is subjective and full of human beings. They are open to change; they can embrace new ideas; they are creative; they are open; they adjust and respond.
So ultimately, ANYTHING is possible and NOTHING is possible. How do you choose to deal with it?
Is it fair? What is fair? Who said it would be fair?
So, how do we maneuver the mine field? How do we find our place?
If we recognize the realities we need to face, it isn't about fairness but how we choose to function within these realities.
Are you willing and able to recognize the reality of where you are? If you are a lyric soprano - guess what? You are in a talent pool that is one of the largest. Is it fair? Who cares! IT IS. So are you going to complain and whine, or are you going to be the best lyric you can be? There is no commerce in whining and complaining that tenors are hired if they have a pulse and you can't get arrested because their voice type is more rare. The tenor is never going to be in competition with you! You are wasting energy and time and not dealing with a reality!!! So, if you are a lyric soprano like everybody else, how are you going to recognize the truth of where you are and where you need to be? How do you create a reality and place for yourself?
Self honesty isn't always easy, but it is CRUCIAL in our business. Artists must be prepared and prepare for self-honesty, and self-observation. What are we truly capable of? Where is our talent best served? Have we developed our potential enough to be working? Where do we find work? If we find ourselves in a fach or type that is saturated, what is it about us that is unique and could set us apart?
THIS IS WORK. THIS TAKES TIME. THIS TAKES ENERGY. THIS TAKES HONESTY.
If we are not willing to see ourselves, the self-delusion continues and we continue to to spin our wheels.
This is not about 2nd-guessing, this is about asking the true questions of self and quit making excuses for why you aren't doing what you'd like to do.
If you want an easy, simple, uncomplicated lifestyle, this business is not for you. Sing because you love to, but find something else to explore!
If you cannot move past the inconsistencies of this business and refuse to be flexible in discovering your reality, then you are getting in your own way.
If nothing is fair, then everything is fair game. You discover the reality of the game, and find a way to play it that doesn't compromise your integrity.
Let's continue with the lyric soprano example: what sets you apart? What can you develop within your craft and your artistry that is uniquely you? Perhaps it's your look; perhaps it's your dramatic intelligence; perhaps instead of the usual lyric repertoire, you begin to make a mark in more obscure repertoire for your fach;
When it isn't fair, it's time to get creative!! It's time to get determined! It's time to challenge the mindset of self and of the business itself!
We can whine and cry and be childish and say it's unfair, or we can DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. We can DO SOMETHING WITH IT.
Honesty first. Where am I? Where do I want to be? Why? Do I have the talent, focus, drive, psyche to be there? If not, where would my combinations of talent and personality be best served? Can I accept that and work with it?
Time to get busy. Time to discover. Time to be real. Or move on...and know if you move on, it's okay too.
Dare to discover WHO you are, WHY are you pursuing this, and WHERE you need to be, and HOW you can be there fully.
REAL is what being an artist is all about. Delusion is not artistry. Discover your authentic self and LEAD with that.
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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