When is craft enough?

When is craft enough?
Labor day musings...

I have many of you asking questions about craft, about readiness, about technique and auditioning...

And simply, are we ever ready?

So I begin to explore that process with you.

If we are expecting perfection, we will constantly come up short. Perfect technique is not the goal. Whatever that even means. If we waited for "perfection" we would never perform, audition and would always find an excuse!

As artists on the mission of revealing truth, we have to begin with ourselves. Where are we? What are we? What can we do NOW? Are we doing the now? Or are we pursuing past it? Does it allow for us to explore or does it limit us.

Technical behavior is never in stasis due to the physical adjustments we make day to day. Are we committed to allowing for that flexibility?

Technique doesn't need to be perfect to put yourself forward. We need to know where we are and where that "forward" is at the time.

Even if the technique is perfect, it simply isn't enough. A beautiful voice gets boring, a well modulated monologue is flat, a lovely physicality of dance does not move the audience if we the performer are not committed to something more:

The narrative.

What are we trying to say? What are we trying to do? What is beyond and under and through the technical behavior?

The most incredible performances don't move an audience because their technique was flawless. They move an audience because of the commitment and the respect the artist has to the narrative and the form. They realize the art is larger than the artist. They succumb and dedicate themselves to the narrative.

What needs to be said? Through text, through physicality, through language, through breath, through gsture, through movement? And are you willing to move past yourself, your insecurities, your imperfections, to claim and commit to that narrative?

Craft encompasses so much - from the physical technical behavior, through the narrative. How do you achieve it all? Simply a step at a time. Simply recognition of self one step at a time.

Not always easy I know. But while you are building physical technical vocabulary you need to be involving the narrative of what you arr doing. If all you can do is think technical behavior when you perform, you have dismissed the narrative.

Technique is informed from so many places, and the narrative can give you strength and reality and focus and purpose in audition and in performance. If all you are doing is worrying about the high note ( trust me, been there, done that) then you have lost the narrative.

Consider exploring your work from both ends - technical one day, narrative the next. As they begin to inform each other, they begin to weave together instead of oppose each other!

What do you want to DO with that song that aria that 16 bars? Work within the NOW of what you CAN do and explore the levels of CAN not cannot.

Ah-ha moments give us the reality check we need to embrace where we are and how we proceed. Enjoy them!

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

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