Monday, April 25, 2016

Working The Dream

Dear Creatavitaers,

My sincerest apologies for disappearing.  As many of you know, I went back on the road for the first time since electricity was discovered, performing in Sister Act at the Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida:

(If the video isn't appearing, go here)

While I am having a blast, both personally and professionally, I was surprised that I didn't have more energy to keep in touch with all of you. The good news is, I have discovered even more about the creative life here!  Let's hope I can keep sending it out to all of you. Here's a post I started weeks ago. Gees....

At the end of March, I had the opportunity to put Creatavita into action in a different way.  A way that will be happening more in the coming year.  Coaching young artists, not only in their art, but also in their careers.

Here they are, from left to right:  Alex Munger , Gina Cruciani, me, Sebastian Armendariz and Nathan Cicero. Gina and Sebastian are singers; Alex and Nathan are pianists.  All four of them are students at my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.  

Okay, right off the bat - I know my hair looks terrible.  But their smiling, engaged faces were worth the risk of posting a bad hair day photo out on the Internet.

How did they find me?  Well....Gina's father and I grew up in the same part of Wisconsin (hello Fond du Lac County, which was recently spoofed on SNL; that link will take you to the hilarity) and studied music together at Eau Claire.  

Fun fact - many Wisconsin towns have French names due to the early French explorers.

Okay, I'm back from the history lesson.  These four, along with UWEC music students and faculty spent their spring break in New York City, immersing themselves in classes, coachings, seminars and performances.  
Gina and Sebastian sang for me.  Alex and Nathan accompanied them.  When the timer rang at 60 minutes, we stopped that silliness and started to talk about how to get from college to a career.  Here's how we started.  I said:

"Okay, guys, go ahead.  Ask anything you want.  It's all on the table."

And they did!!  They asked super challenging questions.  I loved it!!!  They asked about lifestyles (that was Alex's), they asked about finances (I think they ALL asked about finances), they asked about auditions.  Nathan, who aspires to be a vocal coach, asked a brilliant question:

"What do you look for in a coach?"

Why is that brilliant?  Because now he knows what skills he needs to develop so professionals will want to work with him.  By the way, the answer included repertoire knowledge, a keen ear, good piano skills (we call that "fingers", but that sure looked funny when I was editing) and passion.

Gina stumped me with this one:

"How do you know if an artistic career is really what you want?"

I spewed out some mumbo-jumbo, knowing that I wasn't getting to the heart of her question.  The next day, I emailed her this:

I don't think I gave you the best answer to your question about "how do you know if it's really what you want?".  I could sense your pondering if a singing career is what you really want.  I don't want you to give up too soon, yet at the same time I want you to be true to who you are and who you are becoming.  

Start down a road and know that you are the driver.  You get to make the decisions.  The biggest challenge is making the decisions at the right time. I believe it is better to stay on the road too long, because you can always get off.  And sometimes, when you stay on the road, you end up on a marvelous adventure.  It might not be the one you expected or dreamed about, but it is still an adventure.  

I'm proud of that response.  It applies to any big decisions in life, don't you think?

Our session was featured in the UW-Eau Claire online newsletter right here.  Bad hair made it there too!

My intention is to coach more young or not-so-young artists in the next 12 months.  There's more information on my skills, fees and how to contact me right here.  If you know anyone who is need of a plan, a jumpstart to their career or wants more creativity in their life, I'd be honored if you would recommend me.

See you sooner!