This audition season for music theatre and opera performers has been what many of you are referring to "the hunger games".
It has left so many of you exhausted, frustrated, angry, defeated, sad, and second-guessing what you are doing.
It breaks my heart. I see your commitment, your struggle, your desire, your drive...
Yes, there is much that is wrong with the system. There are flaws in every aspect of the business. We have little control over that, and must watch it hit critical mass before it changes, IF it changes.
But, more importantly, what about YOU?
You the performer; you the artist; you the human being.
What have you done for YOU during this hunger games season?
When you feel depressed, sad, exhausted, wondering, what do you DO?
If you are a performer wanting a career, that focus can be exhausting if you actually ignore YOU. Now you might say, but Susan, I am studying and taking lessons and classes and going to seminars and intensives and and and...
Okay...but I ask again, what about YOU?
Does auditioning give you joy? Does spending all that money on application fees make you warm and fuzzy?
These are the necessary evils to become viable in the business...this is NOT YOU.
Remember when just stretching your body and making sounds and singing gave you JOY?
What is your goal? Yes, working and being paid for your work is a goal; Having reliable craft is a goal; Sustainability in your work is a goal.
What about nurturing yourself THROUGH your voice?
What made you love to sing in the first place? Do you remember?
How did it make you FEEL?
Listen, I am goal-oriented as the next type A personality! I get it. However, pursuing, and working toward something, and focusing - all good things - can sometimes exhaust us. It is outside of us, and we forget what brought us to this aspiration in the first place.
Who inspired you?
Who believed in you?
Who inspires you now? Who believes in you now?
Do YOU inspire you? Do YOU believe in you?
How does it FEEL to take a singing breath? To just sing because, oh I don't know...YOU LOVE IT.
What happens when you let all that pursuit release for a few minutes and just come to a song BECAUSE YOU WANT TO; because you love it; because you love how it makes you FEEL.
Nothing more, nothing less. Just how it FEELS.
The depletion we feel during and after a hard audition season where we must focus on the DOING to get seen to be called back to have a chance to be hired, can not just fatigue us; it can get in the way of us remembering WHY we do the actual singing; the actual acting; the actual dancing.
If you can find the joy again and re-discover and re-commitment to the JOY we experience with no value judgement and no pressure, then perhaps there's a chance to be still enough to recuperate from the fatigue.
Maybe, just maybe, we change our focus to ourselves in the truest form, and our artistry and commitment to the nurturing of self reveals more truths and allows us to TRUST again.
Perhaps, finding that space for self will allow for a still moment to release and discover why it feels GOOD to sing; why we wanted to in the first place!
Feeling, and letting all the real and positive and beautifully overwhelming feelings envelop us might be EXACTLY what each of us needs right now.
I dare you to nurture YOU. Shift your focus just a little bit inward and trust it won't betray you.
I dare myself the same thing.
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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