You know that feeling, don't you? When you have a panic attack, when you just feel there's too much to do, too much to figure out, not enough time, not enough money, not enough sleep...
It's a lot. Life can be a lot. Pursuing a career is a lot. Each culture - be it opera, music theatre, theatre - has its own structures, dynamics, pitfalls, nuances - and it's all a lot!
What classes do you take?
What summer programs to do you apply for?
What applications do you need to do? how much will it cost?
What auditions are you right for?
Who is going to take my head shot? What am I going for?
How do I create a resume that is concise and specific?
What casting directors should you be in front of? Do you do a pay to play, or do you just get up at 4 a.m. and hope to be seen at that open call?
What? When? How? WHY!?!?!
Ah, the overwhelm.
When any or all, or some of this begins to take your breath away and accelerate your heart rate and your overall stress - here's my advice.
What do you absolutely need? What absolutely needs to be in place, no matter what?
Here's my answer: Craft & the awareness of self.
Why? Because if your craft is strong, and your awareness of what you have, who you are, how you reveal that is clear, then the rest is just timing, & prioritizing.
In this instant society, we are often chasing the bright and shiny. That wears thin immediately.
True craft allows you access and sustainability. True craft is constantly being honed. True craft allows you access into the workings of a class, being recognized in a casting room, having a method of accessibility in the rehearsal process, having the success of a production run.
Wanting it isn't enough.
Through craft, you begin to discover who you are, who you want to be, who you are becoming, how you want to be seen, what you truly want to reveal.
The craft of performance cannot be fully realized if the technical behavior is not acknowledged and building. The subtleties of style and genre cannot be embodied if they aren't learned, and then explored and adjusted into the behavior and the craft that YOU embody.
Craft ALONE has so much nuance and layering and ongoing discovery. YOU, ALONE have so much nuance and layering and ongoing discovery!
So when the overwhelm of new headshots, new classes, new auditions, what, where, how begins to pull you under, freezes you, or makes you run away: stop, take a breath, and simply go back to craft. Go back to who YOU are. Go back to what you want to reveal about you through your craft.
Simply return to craft and focus on that. The business isn't going anywhere. When you are ready to take on any facet of it, it will be there. You will simply have more access to your craft and your sense of self.
Sing because you must.
Act because you have to.
Reveal a small segment of you, because the world needs it, on and off the stage.
Knowing you can enter stage right and exit stage left into the business of show without anyone's permission, will allow you some breathing room. When you re-enter with more focus and clarity of craft and your own sense of self, the overwhelm you thought you felt earlier, begins to find the place it belongs to. Behind you.
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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