Sfumato

I know that my readership in conservatories and other singer training hotbeds spikes in the fall, and I’m keenly aware that many of you are looking here for some sort of clarity as you claw your way through this peculiar thing that is auditioning.  Last fall, I decided to take all of the random audition advice that I’d been blithely dispensing over the years and distill it in a series of blog posts.  Rather than repackage that same information into another series of posts this fall, I’ve decided to lump it all here (in the form of links and teasers).  Browse and surf at your leisure.

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on you, though.  I’m just going a little woo-woo (as my refreshingly down-to-earth yoga teacher used to say.)  If you’re looking for left-brain, linear, objective, and recipe-oriented do’s-and-don’ts, last year’s summary is where you’ll be happy.  But if you are willing to take a right-brain audition journey with me, this is where the action will be.  No easy answers, no prescriptions, no guarantees; but perhaps you’ll find something that helps lift you out of the machine enough to remember why you’re doing this in the first place.

A Preview:

Week 1 – The Artist’s Life (with Agnes de Mille,  T.S. Eliot, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, Leonard Cohen, A.A. Milne, Louis Armstrong, Paul Gauguin, Saul Bellow and Martha Graham)

Week 2 – Preparation and Persistence (with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sean O’Casey, Abraham Maslow, Scott Adams, Martha Graham, Émile Zola, Louis Pasteur, Mark Twain and Leonard Bernstein)

Week 3 – Calm, Flexibility and Focus (with Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Thurber, H.L. Mencken,  J.R. Tolkien,  Igor Stravinsky, Lewis Carroll and Twyla Tharp)

Week 4 – Courage, Creativity and Optimism (with Anaïs Nin, Jean Cocteau, Albert Einstein, William Blake, Leconte de Lisle, Ranier Maria Rilke, Bill Cosby, and Oscar Wilde)


This doesn’t mean that you get to skimp on the practical advice.  But after you’ve prepared your materials, submitted your applications, and refined those 5 perfect arias, you can check out these posts to help get your head in the game.

Not long after I started writing this blog, I was flattered to be given a shout-out by a prominent blogger and journalist, but chagrined that his assessment of my writing was that I was too “touchy-feely.”  For someone who prides herself (perhaps misguidedly) on her professionalism and pragmatism, it was a hard thing to swallow.  But five years later, I find that the writing about which I am the happiest is that which is the least clinical.  So opinion be damned (even though I still think “touchy-feely was a little extreme…:)), I will spend the next month with my heart and soul leading my head.  I invite you to do a little of the same, and we’ll see how it turns out, shall we?

*Sfumato: from Michael J. Gelb’s How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: literally, “going up in smoke”; a willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty; creative tension

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