This is Cindy's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Cindy's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Cindy
Austin, TX
I'm not a character mezzo ... I'm a mezzo with character!
Interests: opera, classical music, writing, theater, cooking, health, hiking, travel, outdoors, wine, dogs, organics, locally grown food
Recent Activity
Image
Fall is one of my favorite seasons, largely because it's the time when it finally gets a little cooler in Texas, but also because it has the really fun holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving). It's especially exciting when I get to be HOME for these holidays. Fall is a busy time... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Image
For the past few days, I’ve been monitoring a number of conversations on social media regarding the audition/application fee argument, the application process, and the frustrations both singers and administrators feel . It’s clear that there are things both parties can be doing better. Singers need to do a better... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Shirley, if an opera company has an AGMA apprenticeship, then AGMA might have some influence, but it's possible for a company to be an AGMA signatory for chorus only, or mainstage only, or mainstage and chorus, and STILL not have an AGMA apprenticeship. And if you want AGMA to be involved, then you as an AGMA member have to demand it. AGMA is a union and unions are made up of members. Although there is a paid staff that runs administrative things, it is the membership that decides what it wants and makes things happen. So, if you are an AGMA member and you want changes in the way AGMA signatories run their apprenticeships, you need to bring it to your fellow union members and start making it happen. There is no Big Daddy who is going to make things happen for you. Also, this would only affect AGMA apprenticeships, and there are plenty of companies that are non-union.
1timeadmin, thank you SO much for adding to the dialogue. I can't tell you what a soapbox issue singers' education is for me and it's great for someone who's been on your side of the table to speak out about the way things really are. There's a lot to be said about education reform for musicians and that's the next big conversation I hope to have. Not only are those music degrees being handed out willy-nilly, kids are being encouraged to run up crippling amounts of debt they will NEVER be able to pay off with a job in music. NO ONE SHOULD GO INTO DEBT FOR A MUSIC DEGREE.
Image
Last year, inspired by (anonymized) singer shenanigans my friends in administration were sharing on social media, I wrote an article for Classical Singer Magazine entitled “Singers Behaving Badly”. You can read it in their archives if you have a subscription. It chronicled some of the more outrageous behavior certain singers... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Hi friends, Thank you all for such a great discussion! Please keep it going! I am in the process of compiling a list of "What Singers Want", which attempts to encapsulate the collected concerns and proposals that singers have for improving the system from the various social media discussions I've been monitoring. I'm also putting together a list of questions which I will then present to a panel of admins for response. The results will be published on this blog and I will submit them to Classical Singer as well. If you have questions, anecdotes, proposals, commentary, etc., please feel free to post them here or email them to me directly at Info @ TheBusinessOfSinging dot com (or you can do it through my website). I would also VERY much welcome the input of any administrators who want to comment on this thread. If you prefer to be anonymous so that you can speak freely, please email or FB message me. Thank you all, and let's keep talking! Cindy
Anon4, thanks for your comment. I've created a file of questions singers are asking, and intend to present them to a panel of administrators who agree to answer them. :) I believe we'll see that there's no one-size-fits-all response, but I also think that if we as a community can come up with some proposals that work, some of these companies might be willing to revise their policies.
Image
In recent days, a strongly-worded petition has been making the rounds on social media. It decries the "predatory fees" young singers are charged and demands that Opera America work with independent businesses such as YAP Tracker and Classical Singer Magazine to "prohibit" advertising any organization that requires an application fee.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
14
Image
Long time no see! When things get crazy on the performing side, the blog tends to slide. This is the fall of Roles I Don't Usually Get to Do, which makes it even more fun and busy. In October, we launched Spotlight Concerts, a new concert opera organization in Austin,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Image
"Despite knowing so many details of your life, of say what you scrounged up to eat at another ungodly hour at some nondescript airport, I was finally able to hear your voice.... It was worth the wait to hear your artistry," kindly wrote a reader of my old blog, The... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Singers spend a lot of time worrying about Fach. For the civilians in the audience, Fach is a German word meaning strength, sort of like forte; but more specifically for singers, the specific type of repertoire, the collection of roles, they might be required to sing. There are a lot... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Image
If you're an opera fan, or even if you're not, you've probably heard about the contentious negotiations between the Metropolitan Opera and its fifteen unions. It's been front page news, as the admin threatens a lockout and federal mediators have been brought in. A lockout has the potential to affect... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
What are you doing, David? Good luck!And thanks for your good wishes. :)
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2014 on Hairier than Baba's beard at Mezzo with Character
Image
Oh dear! It's quite dusty in here ... hold on a minute, let me get the lights .. and what IS that smell? It seems so one's been in here for quite some time. Well, let's just remedy that, shall we? Sorry for the long absence. Things got rather hairy... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Image
Stuff happens in life, and when a lot of your life is lived on the road, stuff happens while you're far from home. When it's bad stuff, it exacerbates feelings of helplessness and frustration. This week, in the midst of one of the most joyous openings of one of the... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
"This is a safe place. I want to you explore, take chances, embrace the character," the coach said warmly. She'd been welcoming me for what seemed ... well, longer than necessary in our introductory session, attempting to put me at ease. It had exactly the opposite effect. All this kindness... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
The time: early 90s. The scene: a shopping mall in Champaign, IL The action: some fellow students and I are singing arias to advertise our upcoming production of The Marriage of Figaro. A little boy of about 4 stands, mesmerized, a few feet away. He does not want to leave... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Alexandra! I heard from our very tall tenor friend that you have a very sweet gig coming up. Congratulations! Hope we get to work together soon, and I want to see pics of what you come up with re: wardrobe!
Image
Who out there loves packing? Let's see a show of hands! Bueller? Bueller? *crickets* Packing is an unfortunate but frequent necessity for those of us who travel for a living. It's always been painful but now with the airlines vampirically sucking every cent out of their passengers and charging astronmical... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
So very sorry you were dragged here and forced to read, Over It. But thanks for doing so!
1. You listen to it all but YOU decide on the takeaway. There's a lot of input for singers. We're expected to consume a LOT of information, advice, feedback. (I should know. I'm one of the people frequently running my mouth. People ask, I tell. Well, sometimes I just tell).... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Aklista25, thank you for your comments. I hear so often from singers who have a similar path to yours, and that is one reason I started doing my workshops. I hate to see talent and joy beaten down by the harsh realities of our business and I hope to provide some guidance to help people avoid some of the pitfalls. I hope that singing will still be part of your life if you want it to be. Last year, I heard from a singer who had amassed a HUGE amount of student loan debt and was just realizing how it was going to handicap his career. He asked how he could possibly make money using his degree and skills. In response, I wrote two articles for Classical Singer. They appear in the May 2013 (The Day Job Dilemma) and June 2013 (Careers for Classical Singers) issues, and if you're a subscriber you can access them in the archives. They might give you some ideas you haven't already thought of for how to use your singing to provide for your family. Best of luck to you! Cindy
Wow. What a great response from singers, teachers, colleagues, people who were in the business and left, people who studied and then decided not to go into the business ... so many thoughtful and valuable comments on Part 1. I am both thrilled and humbled to see the dialogue that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Thanks for commenting, SV. It's true that I didn't mention institutions in this post, but in my workshops I talk about them a LOT. I talk to students about what they should be getting from their schools and what they should do if they're not getting it. I give them a checklist of things to do before they graduate. I talk to them about how to choose a good school and a good teacher. That being said, I agree with you wholeheartedly that many of our schools and institutions are NOT doing all they can or even all they should. Opera companies are at the mercy of patrons and board members who may or may not know or even care much about the art form. The people who get to stick around are often the ones who can raise the money. It's a complicated equation. There are politics and economics at play, and while I think (and know!) that *individuals* at schools listen to people like me, the institutions themselves don't really care. Unless you are a huge name in the business, they're just not interested in what you have to say. Ultimately, we can't control what others do or think. We can only work on our own skills and strategies.
This will undoubtedly come as a surprise to some people, but education is not something that just happens to you. And it is not free. Every day I spend walking this earth, it becomes more apparent that the vast majority of people just want to get by. They want to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
18