Navigating The Waters

stormy seas
Each one of us is the captain of our own ship.
And if our crew consists of some good friends, teachers and mentors, we are likely to navigate a course utilizing a steady supply of their wisdom and experience in tandem with our own best instincts, drive, education and desire to arrive safely at our chosen destination.
Knowing that a clear course, decent weather and great determination are essential to our getting from here to there, you ask yourself the questions:
  1. “Where am I now?”
  2. “Where do I want to be?”
  3. How do I get there?”
And from there, you initiate preparations for a very long voyage.
Yet no matter how long you have prepared, on that day of departure, with even the most detailed plans for success having been decided upon, vetted and penciled out, you finally launch — only to discover that the sea has its own ideas about your path.
This is when the “deep learning” begins.
There are days and nights of no wind to fill your sails followed by days and nights of storms. There are schools of fish swimming just underneath the surface waiting to be caught by you followed by sharks just waiting to catch and eat you.
You encounter other vessels on the sea. Some have goods for trade, some are journeying to the home you just left…and some have pirates.
Your experience in the water grows as you continue to navigate your path.
At a certain point, while you may have already landed at several ports along “the way,” you begin to realize that your ideas of the importance of where “there” is and where you “want” to be have evolved.
You recognize that you may have already landed at your destination goal once or twice only to discover that it wasn’t “exactly” what you thought it was. Whereupon, without hesitation, you set new plans for a very long voyage and once again take to the sea to navigate your waters.
And this time, when the days and nights of no wind to fill your sails arrive, you take that time to rest or create or write or get a tan. When the storms arrive along with hundred foot waves, you ride the waves with the skill of a surfer knowing you have the experience to outlast them all the way to shore. You adapt. You navigate. You know how to do this.
And when you realize that you have now spent just as much time at sea as you have in port, well, then you’ve arrived.

Vocal Performance: The Eyes Have It, Pt. 2 — Maintain An Even Plane

Now that you have practiced your points of focus: start Center, look Left, look Center, look Right, look Center, etc. (always coming back to center between Left & Right), you want to make sure that you “maintain an even plane.”
In other words, don’t let your eyes go over the audience’s head and don’t let your eyes look down at their shoes, either.   In an audition, you might have three people sitting at a table.  Not a problem.  When you perform, don’t look your auditioners right in the eyes, that can be fairly uncomfortable for everybody.  Better yet, create/imagine a friendly face right next to the face of the person in the middle.  Imagine your new friend sitting at that table.  Look them in the eyes.  This will be your center focus.
Now imagine a friendly face just next to the face of the person on the left at the table.  Left Focus.
Now imagine a friendly face just next to the face of the person on the right at the table.  Right Focus.
There you have it.  Three simple points of focus that don’t invade the casting people’s space, but that share the same eye plane for all to see and feel your vocal performance.
This works for all singers from the stage whether it be Pop, Rock, Cabaret or Broadway.
Another issue for those of us watching you; if you close your eyes to show us how moved you are by your own performance, you’ve lost us.
Next: WHEN to change your point of focus.