Once upon a time, I was a young and enthusiastic opera singer. I embraced the opera world fully.
Even auditioning. I'd truck up to New York, my bag filled with high heels, makeup, fancy dresses, rhinestone jewelry, binders, resumes, maybe a granola bar. And water. Always water. It was an exciting time for me. I was well-prepared and my resume was spit spot perfect. Didn't have much on it, but it was perfect. More about that perfection problem later.
However, there was one area where I was woefully, inadequately, unbelievably, how-did-this-happen prepared - my mental attitude.
You see, at first, I did most auditions on a lark. I really didn't think I stood a chance (this is where a lack of self-awareness can be dangerously helpful), so I'd bust into the room without a care in the world, sing my aria and just be thrilled that I was singing an audition in the Big Apple. This attitude actually worked beautifully for me. Without even trying, I had found the ideal level of "don't careness". Hence, the music would shine through. I got lots of interest and quite a few jobs.
Yup, that's me. Singing Sandman in Hansel & Gretel with Tulsa Opera. Just a few years ago.
Like a little puppy dog, I said hello. Everything about me oozed inexperience and naivete. I asked Tim what he was doing in New York and he said he also had an audition.
"Are you nervous?" I asked, assuming I'd find a comrade for my nervous state.
"Na," he said. "It's a day at the office. See you later. Oh - toi toi toi."
And he crossed the street.
A day at the office. Those words hit me like a bullet to the forehead. Wow. Even though I was in the early years of my career, I could tell that attitude was important.
You see, for Tim, auditioning was something he did all the time. He didn't wait for the feedback, the phone call, the email before he went to the next audition. He did an audition, walked out of the room and moved on to the next one.
It took me years to cultivate this attitude. I still fail sometimes. But I always return to Tim's words.
A day at the office.
Still me. Still singing. More recently.This time Messiah with the Bach and Handel Society of Jim Thorpe, PA.