Saturday, October 29, 2011

It is finished!

It's Done!!!!  The recording is finished and I am elated.  I just got word that the final touches were done and I feel as though I did when I was a kid and I would run wildly into the field behind our house.  I don't know, so many things come to mind.  Giving forth all the wonderful energy in order to create this recording has been a blessing.  It has given me my voice back in ways.  I mean, my true voice.  Maybe I should call it my authenticity.  This recording is the truest expression of myself, my passions, and my reflections on why we are here.  It's that simple for me. It's all there... the praise, the prayers, the doubt, the hope, and the blessings. The process was daunting and there were times I didn't think it would happen.  But it is there on that brilliant digital machine and knowing that the words I've longed to sing are finally there, give me much joy and peace.  There is still work to be done on getting it printed and distributed and I have many liner notes to write.  But soon you will have what I have called 'my first born' in your I-pods! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Sometimes I get notes from young singers asking various questions about the business or about the techniques of singing.  I always try to respond and today since I was home from Pittsburgh Opera rehearsals nursing a cold, I thought I would write someone back.  It occurred to me that it would make a good blog post.  Although I like writing blogs posts, I sometimes feel that I end up filtering myself or I become too generic with my topics. It was refreshing to be very specific and direct with my words.  This young singer met me last year at a master class I gave and he wrote to ask advice about switching voice types and to also to tell me that he was having problems "over-compensating and just doing way too much and therefore tiring myself out when really it should come easier".  Here is my response to him.  One of the great things about being an artist is helping other artists find their way. 

So, it seems you are making a switch to tenor? That is a challenge. All I can say about that is go with your gut. What feels good to you vocally? What roles speak loudest to you? Meaning, what about these characters makes you want to SING them? I've never gone through a fach change but have friends who did and they all say that once they made the changes, they connected more to the new characters they were singing.

As for the 'overcompensating' statement. Be kind to yourself. Don't try so hard. You already are a singer. Your mission is to find a way of singing that is easy, but strong. It really must come from a CALM place. You do your best singing in the shower and in privacy. Learn to cultivate that energy and presence while you are in the midst of people. Most of the time it isn't singer issues people have, it is intimacy issues. This isn't always the case, but I imagine it happens a lot. Learn to go deep inside yourself and calm yourself so that your singing flows out of your breath and not from the things you think you can do with your brain. If your body is tense from stress or will disconnect from your body and your breath. Go inside. Do meditation. Really learn to sing as if no one is watching. Once you have that tamed then you can see if it helps with technical areas. I imagine you will find that your high notes are easier and you like it more. Calm. Take time to get a good inhale and good exhale. Phrase by phrase. Slow it all down for awhile and you will see what I mean by 'go inside'.

I hope this helps! I wish you all kinds of good luck and love for yourself to pursue the craft of singing.
Keep me posted!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hello from Paris

(written on October 9, 2011)

My first week of auditions is done!  I am happy to say that I am very pleased with my two auditions so far in Switzerland and Belgium.  Oh, how I would love to return to those cities and sing!  Let's keep our fingers and toes crossed, okay?  

Travel has been easy and smooth and I am fortunate to have run into some old friends from college and a few new ones along the way and only in the first week of travel.  Auditions can be daunting and it is such a joy when you can spend time with friends especially ones who know what you are going through.  It's like having your own traveling cheerleading squad.  

To get ready for my audition tour I began reading some books on auditions by actors.  I've probably  read all the books on auditions for singers so I wanted a fresh perspective.  Actors have to do just as many  or more auditions than singers and it is true that most performing artists are actually professional job seekers, thus my second European Audition Tour!   It's been a blast so far and I've been re-reading some passages from a really great book by Paul Russell called Acting - - Making It Your Business:  How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success As a Working Actor.  Yes, I know the title is a little over simplified, as if all the tools to be a success could be summed up in one book.  Right.  But, it does have some good points for auditioning and since the audition season is upon us, I thought I would share a few points on my blog. 
"The audition is my time.  It's not about the auditors.  It's about me.  When I walk into the room I try to make it, for however many minutes, The Mark Price Show.  That doesn't mean bullshitting them or buttering them up.  It's about, this is the package that I have to offer and I'm going to see how well I can do this package for myself.  If they like it, great!  If they don't like it...great!"
"I always feel that I'm a little social worker and I'm there to help them cast.  You want to be of help to them instead of putting it on the other shoe that they are the judge.  Don't go into that.  You don't have time for that.  You don't have time for fear.  Wipe the fear out and do your homework and if you have to read cold, try to find some truth in what you're working with.  Go with the strength of truth.  Be full of something positive.  The nervousness and the anxiety take away from your creativity.  Then you're not free."
"Auditioning has become more about a personal achievement than a public achievement.  If I approach an audition with that in mind and do the best that I can, when I leave, I don't care what the auditors think 'cause I know I've done the best job that I can.  It's about me; it's not about them."
"Most important for you, the actor, in an audition is ... to have fun!  Fun is letting yourself enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate what you can bring to the project.  But apart from enjoying the audition, and being prepared, wonderfully talented, and physically right, is there anything else an actor can do to be more successful at an audition?  Yes.  Be yourself."
"Find in the audition process the same feelings that made you want to be an actor in the first place."

All of these statements resonated with me and I although I had heard them stated in some form before, I really appreciated the views of these actors.  Wow.  Be yourself.  Had I forgotten that over the years?  Perhaps.  It should be about me in an audition and not in aIf you have to audition regularly or even if you find yourself doing a lot of job interviews these days, you should grab a copy of this book.  There is a plethora of candid super-direct information in there for actors which is also relevant for singers.

Personally when I audition I try to be as calm as I am when I am rehearsing with my coach in NY.  I find that if I can bring my body into a relaxed state then I can access all those beautiful notes and get in touch with my best music making self.  It's as if my body has to be on vacation while at work.  I'm getting there!  After many years auditioning I am beginning to enjoy the process.  Being in Paris in the fall is just an added perk.