so you call yourself a professional singer...

so you call yourself a professional singer...
Friday musings...

 Mezzo soprano Cindy Sadler  and I were discussing this topic.  Cindy is a marvelous artist, a wonderful friend and colleague and someone I admire greatly for her strength and focus and dedication, and her humor and ability to say it like it is.

The question was simply a stunned and unbelievable one:  How can you call yourself a professional singer (or claim you are) and yet never seem to afford to study voice and take lessons?

How is this possible?  How is it you can call yourself professional yet never really DO it?

I know, some of you are screaming and whining and saying "yeah but study is expensive".  Yes it is.  So you figure out what is important and you make it work.  Why?  because it is NECESSARY.  It amazes me how many people talk about wanting something, yet seem to make every excuse not to do anything about it.

You cannot CLAIM you are anything if you do not DO it.  It is that simple.  Professionals work to get to where they are by study, and action.  They don't wait for a handout.  They don't sit and moan and groan about "poor me".  They don't put energy and time into smoke and mirrors.  They actually DO THE WORK and INVEST IN THEMSELVES!

Calling yourself a "professional singer" could mean many things but it evokes are level of expertise and knowledge.  It evokes a level of being able to DO something.  It evokes a level of preparedness and thus a level of execution, and a level of success in that execution.

Yes Virginia,  professional singers of EVERY level still study!  They have to in order to keep their craft growing and building and their instrument healthy and able to actually DO what they say they can.

If you can NEVER afford a lesson - to check in with your teacher,  your coach - what are you doing?  We all have to eat and pay the rent and the bills, but this is part of the budget!  As a professional, the investment in your instrument is CRUCIAL.  If this instrument is what may pay the bills, or some of them,  shouldn't it be in great working order???  And isn't that working order needing a second set of ears to make sure you haven't developed some habits that are not beneficial?  Or perhaps that working instrument needs a tune up?  A clarity?  More development?

You may know what you need.  You also need a second set of ears to reinforce that knowledge or to perhaps suggest something you hadn't thought about.

Every profession requires "updates".  Standards require professionals of ANY kind to continue training,  attending seminars and classes and the like.  Why would you think you are any different?

You cannot claim the word "professional" if you are not working as one, or living as one.  "I simply can't afford a voice lesson"  is a cop-out.

Many professionals, once reaching a certain level in their development don't study every week,  but they know when they need to check in with a teacher they have created a relationship with. 

Many professionals make time to do intensive study if they are preparing a role.

Many professionals know how crucial it is to have regular voice work while doing a show.

REAL professionals who CLAIM their craft would never say "I simply can't afford a voice lesson".  They would never makes excuses for it.  It would never enter their mind.

They find a way to respect their craft,  and respect themselves fully but doing what they say they are.  How do you develop knowledge and technical finesse, specificity and speciality if you do not study? You cannot be a specialist in anything if you do not study!  Professional singer is a speciality.  It, by definition, evokes study!

Calling yourself a professional singer while at the same time, never having time to DO what it takes to BE a professional singer simply doesn't fly.  You aren't fooling anyone, except maybe yourself.

Actions speak louder than words.  Walk the walk if you dare.  Ultimately it's your choice.  TRUE professionals don't have to tell everybody that's what they are:  they simply DO it.

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

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