77 Days ⏰

For a year that seemed to drag on and on and on, can you believe there are just 77 days left in 2020? 

With that kind of timeline, it’s easy to say:

  • There’s no point in starting something new now (the music project you’ve been wanting to dive into for months)
  • I’ll wait until the new year to make any Big Changes (voice lessons and band practice can wait)
  • There’s not enough time to make any real progress (so why start vocalizing now?)

The Broadway community got a big update this week as well, extending the Broadway shut down until May 30, 2021. 

In a lesson with my student Jake this week- he’s in the Broadway cast of MEAN GIRLS- he shared something pretty insightful.

He said, “At the start of quarantine in March, every day was completely unknown- will we go back to the show in April? Summer? Labor Day? This most recent announcement, while it’s completely sad to think of 8 more months without theatre in New York, gives me a more concrete timeline. OK, I have at least eight months to do something different, to figure out how I’m going to fill my time.”

Something about a definite length of time makes it easier for us to plan for, obviously!

So what if you crushed the last 77 days of the year, tackling goals you just “haven’t had time for” yet? Or pursued another skill or talent that can supplement your income in the future, knowing that Broadway won’t be back until mid-2021?

Here’s a few ideas to make the most out of the next 77 days:

  • Make a list of roles/shows you want to play in the future. In lessons or on your own- learn every piece of music that character sings!
  • Revamp your audition book with material that is *actually right* for the kinds of roles and shows you want to be seen for. 
  • Now that you love your audition cuts- self-tape each and every song in your book! Compile a library of your audition material that you can send out to casting directors when auditioning resumes (and I guarantee much of it to be virtual!).
  • Make demo recordings of the songs you’ve written this year and be brave enough to share them with a few trusted friends for feedback. 
  • Reach out to the fellow songwriter you’ve always wanted to collaborate with.
  • Set up a recurring time on your calendar (set an alarm!) to vocalize for 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Just do it! And be amazed at how your range and stamina improves. 
  • Are you a voice teacher? Request to observe other voice teachers teach. Book an interactive lesson where you and another co-teach a tricky student of yours that you’d love another opinion on.

Seven and a half years in the making

My friend Carolyn is a gifted actor. She’s incredibly passionate about theatre (particularly Shakespeare) and continuing education. I’ve watched from afar (largely through social media) as she’s made career shifts as an actor and director, and as she’s auditioned for graduate acting programs for the past seven years. That’s right – seven!

Carolyn isn’t a student of mine, but she shared her story on Facebook this week and I just knew you needed to hear it (don’t worry, I asked if I could share her post here!).

“Seven and a half years ago I first started applying for graduate acting schools.

Over that time I was: rejected, gave up acting, found myself and the courage to start acting again, earned more rejections, started taking Shakespeare acting intensives at some of the best schools in the world, was hired for my first Equity Contracts, earned more rejections, gave up on graduate school and refocused on just acting professionally, had a personal awakening and realized how important graduate Shakespeare training was for me, earned even more rejections, received more Equity Contracts, continued to arrange more training with some of the best Shakespeare coaches in the world….

And then…. in March 2020 I was offered a place to train on the “MA in Classical Acting for the Professional Theatre” at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. 

It doesn’t make any logical sense to start a training program I’ve worked years to find in the middle of a pandemic, with upheavals at all levels of education and training, but I am where I’m supposed to be.  Sometimes you’re given a glimpse in life, showing you exactly where you need to be, when you need to be there. I’ve learned that IF I’m given the gift of a glimpse, I’d better trust it…even if it doesn’t make sense.  So here’s to faith in the future and a wonderful, years worked for, year of training at LAMDA.” – Carolyn H.

Sometimes, the timing of things just doesn’t make sense.

When it comes to working towards a long held goal, there are often so many factors at play, many of which are completely out of our control. 

But what is in control are our choices– do we keep pursuing? Do we take a break? Seek more training, knowledge, and skill development? Pause on one goal to work towards another?

Just because you don’t have something you really want (or have worked for, or feel like you deserve) right NOW, doesn’t mean it’s not coming.

Is it worth it to you to keep working until it does?

Love in the Time of Corona

Have all your plans for 2020 been ripped into a million tiny pieces and then dumped into the Hudson? Yeah, mine too. 

On March 13th, I drove out of New York City and headed to Milwaukee, WI where my boyfriend Jordan lived. I expected to be away for a few weeks, max. In the meantime, I’d just move my lessons online- a format I’m extremely comfortable with since I’ve been teaching online for nearly a decade. 

Later in March, Jordan and I road tripped to Utah where we planned to quarantine with family for a time. We’re both from Utah and our parents lived just a few hours away from each other. 

Well, a few weeks turned into many weeks. The winter clothes I brought with me from New York soon proved obsolete and cumbersome as temperatures climbed to the 90’s in Southern Utah. The time we spent with family was both a huge blessing (when would we ever be able to spend this much time with them, ever?!) and also challenging. We missed our own homes, routines, and lives. 

I know you are familiar with the story I’m telling you. So many of you have lived this exact scenario over the past three months. It’s been hard. Exhausting. Frustrating, saddening, and anxiety ridden. 

And yet, it’s also been wonderful. 

On May 5, 2020, Jordan Reading and I eloped in my parent’s backyard. Our parents and grandparents were present and our siblings, nieces and nephews watched via Zoom. It was the most special and beautiful day. I feel outrageously lucky to have Jordan as my partner in life, and somehow eloping during the middle of a global pandemic seemed par for the course for our whirlwind relationship.

(Did I mention… Jordan is a world-class pianist and a pretty fantastic singer. Oh, and super handsome, kind, and he loves Musical Theatre. *I won the jackpot, folks*)

We found ourselves back in Milwaukee, figuring out what was next for us. Returning to New York was always the plan for both of our careers. However, coronavirus has put an indefinite hold on in-person lessons and we’ve made the tough decision to stay in Milwaukee through the end of the year. 

Not much will be changing for the studio- online lessons will continue! I’ve loved keeping up with so many of you via Skype/Facetime and appreciate your commitment to your craft. Whether you’ve continued with lessons during this time or not, my only hope is that you keep singing! 

My heart has been on a roller coaster ride for months- saying even a brief goodbye to New York has been incredibly difficult. But, if I’ve learned anything in the past six months (or year, or two years) it’s that life has a way of working out for our good, despite our best attempts at planning. 

I wish for you peace of mind and strength during this crazy time. I hope that you find beauty in your surroundings, whether that’s your apartment in Washington Heights or the guest room at your parent’s house. I hope you are kind to yourself and others. I hope you know that I’m thinking of you, your goals, dreams, and struggles. I hope you hold space in your heart for the hope that things will turn around. I have to believe that goodness we couldn’t have imagined is just around the corner. 

If you’ve read this novel, congratulations! And thanks for being part of my life, both personally and professionally. Truly, it means the world to me.

I’d love to hear from you – how are you? Where are you? What unexpected gift has this season brought you?