I often have questions via workshops, singers consulting and emails about what you need for this career. This often comes from those you NOT in a performance-based degree, worried that because you aren't doing a music theatre/drama/classical voice/opera stream.
In all honesty, the question is simply this: are you willing to invest in YOUR ability and bring your potential to reality? Does it really matter where you studied, what you studied, who you studied with if you can't bring a reality into an audition or into a role? Ultimately, no. If you can't DO, it doesn't matter. Saying you can do it, and doing it are the defining differences.
It is up to you to invest in yourself and in your career. Just because you are in a program or graduated from a program that is performance based doesn't guarantee you anything. All it does it gives you an opportunity to learn a few things within the context of the program. Whether you do or not is up to you! For those of you who are pursuing more liberal arts, or non-performance programs, this doesn't mean you can't pursue, nor does it mean you are behind!!
The fallacy, that many who are seasoned professionals who read this blog (and who will laugh knowingly!) will attest, is that everything you need to learn about your craft and your place in the business is done in school. WRONG!!! It is simply the beginning, and does not give you everything, and in some instances, sadly a very large debt of nothing!
Your responsibility is to yourself. It means you have to go out and get it. You are not done studying and learning and growing after your degree no matter WHAT it is in! It is your quest to find what you need in classes, teachers, seminars, information and seek it out.
Ultimately, you can have all the "right" schools, the "right" teachers, the "right" training on your resume, and if you can't bring what is necessary into the audition or into the role, no one cares!! Can you do the job or can't you?
This is why our training, and our development is never done!
So what do you need? You need a dose of reality. You need to be honest with yourself about where you are in your journey. You need to develop your instrument. You need to STUDY and EXPLORE! You need to know how your instrument functions and what its possibilities are and what its boundaries are.
You need to explore seminars and workshops and classes, and intensives to find out where you are best suited; how the business works in different facets; how to build a resume; what you need in a headshot; how you network; when you need to look for an agent; what to expect and how to deliver in an audition; what your type is; what your fach is; what repertoire you should be presenting NOW; How you are seen; how you want to be seen - and on and on.
It doesn't matter if you aren't in a program that addresses these things or not. It is still up to you to discover it - and know how it relates to you specifically. You need to find the resources that you need and utilize them!!!
If you want a career - YOU have to go get it. It will not come to you. Enhance your studies - and develop your knowledge. Having a degree or diploma doesn't make you "ready" - it is just a tool to use to move toward the next, whatever that "next" happens to be.
What do you have to offer? What are your raw goods? And then, what are you going to do to develop them? You can't hide behind a degree that seems to be performance track if you can't deliver, nor can you make excuses for a non-performance degree if you don't go out and find what you need to give you further information FOR your career pursuits!
So - what do you need? You need focus, you need perseverance, you need a dose of reality about your ability, you need determination, you need KNOWLEDGE. This business is too difficult to feign ignorance or wide-eyed disbelief. Get the information, claim it; find out who you are and what you have to offer and how it can be developed - and DO IT.
Embody your talent, your ability, your craft. When we see it, feel it, experience it, then nothing else matters but what you CAN DO, not where you learned how to do it.
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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