How to Practice Effectively

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

TED Talks are one of my favourite channels to listen on. They have multiple topics, and whether it’s a lecture or video, they are always informative, educational and inspiring.

I came across this video about practice recently and I wanted to share with all of you. As performers, we are constantly confronted with the act of practice; in fact, you probably spend more time practising than be in lessons. Knowing how to practice is vital as they way you practice will shape your craft. Your teacher can help you refine your craft, but they cannot do it for you. It is YOU who decides upon the quality and quantity of practice, which will have a direct impact on the performance.

As mentioned in the video, it takes years of practice to master a skill, therefore, knowing and learning the most efficient way to practice will maximise your development – Continue reading

Acting Advice from Broadway Stars

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

Wow! What a set of advice. I must have listened to this video a dozen times!

Musical theatre as we all know is a mixture of singing, dancing and ACTING! A lot of time we forget we are telling a story and embracing a different character because we are so focused on the singing and dancing when really, the reason you are singing and dancing is because the moment/character demands it. Go out and experience, see, study and observe the world. The more knowledge you have of the world and as a person, the more flavour and layers you will be able to bring to whatever role you are working on.

I often remind my students, acting is not the last thing you do or add to the character, but it should be the first. Before you even attempt to work on the song, you should have a good knowledge of what, where and why you are singing, because this will not just inform the choices you make, but the way you deliver the song/role as well. Of course, when you are in a show, the director, musical director and choreographer will help you refine those Continue reading

“It’s All About The Process…”

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

Those of you who are my students will hear me say this, one of the main things I constantly say is “everything is about PROCESS!” As soon as we start looking/working for results, then you haven’t learnt and chances are, you will get it wrong, and that’s when you become unreliable as a performer.

Joyce Didonato, one of my favourite opera singers, has once again made a very important point. Although this is an opera masterclass, the main principle remains the same in all art form.

The aria performed here is Donde Lieta from Puccini’s La Boheme. Puccini’s arias are Continue reading

Ed Sherran’s advice

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

For this week, we have Ed Sheeran to motivate us! Although Ed in this video focuses on embarking a career as a musician, there are many principles I feel we can take and apply that to the field of Musical Theatre.

I remember hearing the theory of 10,000 hours rules – scientists believe that in order to be master any skillset, on average, you need to spend around 10,000 hours of practice. Of course, Ed Sheeran in this video refers to song-writing and getting his songs out to the Continue reading

Vocal Advice from Broadway Stars!

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

Singing is a main part in musical theatre. There are so many different tips and advice for singers all over the place. Here are some very practical and insightful tips from the most recent set of Broadway performers.

 

What a wonderful selection to tips, although that is not it, I’d like to pick on a few points these actors has made…

Erivo: “Listen to all types of music.

I cannot agree with this statement anymore. Partly because this is what I’ve been taught in conservatoire, but also because this is the quickest way to broaden your horizon and awareness. At this day and age, any style of music can be classified within the Musical Theatre genre as long as you put a plot to it. For example, H Continue reading

Kevin Spacey: “There is no price!”

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

“There is no price out there, the only price is yourself, and what you feel and what you want to accomplish!” says Kevin Spacey.

For this Monday/week, I decided to share with you this video of Kevin Spacey’s advice. Kevin Spacey is one of the most prominent actors of his generation. He was also the artistic director of the Old Vic until 2015. During his time servicing as artistic director, he continues to perform, appearing both on stage and screen. He’s been there, done it, and he definitely knows what he is talking about when it comes to a performing career.

This little extract from an interview captured the essence of what we performers choose to do what we do. It strikes me the most when he says that it is ‘not enough to just want to be successful, because that’s just desire’, but to know what you want and understand why you are doing it – that is the key to achieving anything you want.

Being a performer isn’t just about singing pretty tunes and kicking your legs from time to time. For me, it’s about sharing a message, it’s about educating, it’s about exchanging and collaborating. I want to use my skills and knowledge to enrich other people’s experience, that to me is more valuable and satisfying. As a teacher, this is also the reason why I am happy to put in the extra work for my students, as long as they are willing to learn and do the work.

What is your reason for choosing to perform? And what is driving you to achieve your goals?

Have a great week!

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Failures are only failures IF you don’t learn from it!

Mistakes are something we all encounter and will undoubtedly make. No one is perfect and no one gets it right the first time round. However, ‘failures are only failures if we don’t learn from our mistakes’.

I saw this recently and thought that I should share it all with you and hopefully, this will inspire and motivate you for the rest of your week. This is a powerful video which sums it all up very nicely. I thought the brilliant examples of Bill Gates and JK Rowling are great examples for us to aspire to, their persistence and determination resulted in them becoming the leading figure for what we know now as Microsoft and Harry Potter.

Although this isn’t strictly linked with MT, but I think we can all take something from this message/lesson. No matter whether this is in your ballet, singing technique or acting through song classes, you can always learn something more and develop further. And just because it doesn’t work for whatever reason, it doesn’t mean you are a failure or the work you’ve done is wasted. Learn the reasons WHY it didn’t work and improve/develop on it for next time. I often say, whilst you are still training in college, it’s all about PROGRESSION and not your assessment results because everyone comes from a different family/culture/musical/dance/training background, it is unhealthy to compare yourself to other colleagues whilst you are still training. And remember, we work in a subjective industry and every person’s opinion is different – one person may applaud your performance, another may be appalled by it. FACT!

So, remember to keep and open mind and keep learning from other people and yourself, because you are all talented individuals who can make a change. Embrace ‘failure’ and don’t let it beat you up. Listen to your teachers, accept the things you can do well and keep them an asset of yours and work on the things that aren’t so strong and improve on them. This is the start of the road to being a content performer.

Happy Monday!

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