A Letter: Important information for Singers in Undergrad and Grad School!

A Letter: Important information for Singers in Undergrad and Grad School!
It has to be a 2 blog entry day....

This one comes in the form of a letter.

Dear Singers in Undergrad and Grad Programs:

You may not think you are entitled, but chances are many of you are.

I am hearing - and have been witness to over my many years in this business in the "hallowed halls" of "higher learning" (BOTH ridiculous - but that's something else isn't it?!)  about this outrageous sense of entitlement that inflicts upon real progress.

Not you?  Really?  Great, still read, cause I can guarantee you, you know someone JUST LIKE IT! Please, pass it on!

School is not real life.  Not even close!

NOBODY gets a free ride in real life. NO BOD Y.

You might have your tuition paid for, or a full scholarship...congratulations.  

It means NOTHING.  Maybe you have no debt when you leave school.  That's great.  But it doesn't give you talent, a work ethic, a sense of responsibility or a career.  You have to EARN those things and CLAIM those things.

How you develop and nurture the relationships during school, how you develop and nurture your talent and your craft, and how you treat others around you WILL follow you when you leave school.

If you EXPECT a career - you may be for a jolt of reality!  Your expectations, your sense of entitlement,  your wishes - just don't always come out the way you thought they would.

It's called REAL LIFE.

If you have had a free ride in your degree - how fabulous!  But guess what?  There are still things that need to be respected and paid for.  Like what?  Well, let's start with your PIANIST.  They are an important and essential part of your university experience.  They need to be paid, they need to be respected. 

Often the singers that complain the loudest and show the least amount of respect, are compensating for a lack of talent, ability, work ethic or maturity.

A REAL singer - who has a sense of what a singer NEEDS and how the team around them needs to be treated, would never be so disrespectful.

If you have behaved this way - SHAME ON YOU.  You have NO BUSINESS pursuing a career if you cannot give the kind of respect you EXPECT in return.

Your behavior will not just follow you - it often proceeds you.  For a very long time.  You may think you are the sun and the moon and the stars, but actually you are barely embryonic in development. 

How you treat your peers, your colleagues, your professors and your pianists will not be forgotten.  If your attitude and entitlement is larger than your talent (and it usually is) you are the fool.  You are the one who doesn't see how absolutely ridiculous you look - but everybody else sees it, talks about it, and spreads the word!

If you want to be in this business, you need to recognize NOW that people's TIME is valuable.  You will NEVER have enough money to pay for their expertise - an elusive intangible.  So - you pay them for their TIME.  This means teachers, coaches, pianists.  They are not there for your beck and call;  they are building a career and making a living.  YOU NEED THEM.  RESPECT THEM.

Finding out what others need allows for a mutual respect.

Your parents might think you are MARVELLOUS.  Perhaps you are - but you aren't the ONLY marvellous out there.  You will find there are MANY just as talented as you - and often MANY MORE who are MORE talented!!  


If you get a free ride - respect what you need to DO to HONOUR that ride!  Pay with grace and thanks for a pianist/coach who will take you through your paces and support you in those recitals that are marked!!!  Acknowledge with respect the POSITION your teacher holds; and if you are not a match, quit the drama and find a better match!

None of these people are yours.  They are not available 24/7 and in an emergency.  However, they may be more inclined to be available easily if YOU treat them the way they want to be treated.

Quit complaining, quit whining, and quit thinking you are so hard done by!

You are in SCHOOL.  The real world won't have the time of day for you with that attitude and all that noise!  No one is going to change FOR YOU.  You need to recognize and DO THE WORK and find out what the business is about in order to find a way in.  You will not change anything.  There are no shortcuts, secrets or tricks.

It's called hard work,  time, dedication, motivation, respect and discovering value of worth - of yourself and everybody around you.

No one cares if you had a full scholarship.  You were lucky.  So take that opportunity and do something positive with it!

Learn how to work with people well - how to study - how to practice - how to discover - how to approach - how to LIVE.

School isn't forever, and the real world will either welcome you - or kick your ass.  Whether you are ready or not - cannot be pushed on anybody.  This is ALL YOURS.

Good luck and figure it out - or you'll be told where the door is,

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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