A riff on ‘The Compassion Gap.’

A riff on ‘The Compassion Gap.’

I seek out Nicholas Kristof‘s opinion pieces for the NYT because they always illuminate a dark corner of which I was wholly unaware. Not surprisingly, this article about the Compassion Gap really touched a nerve for me.

I cannot count the number of people I’ve spoken with, in reference to this blog, who thought that teaching and performing were their only options, because those two professions were the only options that were familiar. 

When you magnify that myopia by whole communities, towns, cultures? It’s terrifying. 

Using this as a small lens on a small field?  It has reenergized me. These stories need to be told -to illustrate that there are options, to temper the shame of opting out of performing with the knowledge that fulfillment lies elsewhere, to justify (again, always again) the value of pouring one’s heart and soul into studying something that traffics in beautiful intangibles. 

I want to help you tell your stories. If your love of music didn’t fall neatly into “perform” or “teach,” I’d love to talk with you. 

Tagged , , , , ,

Paulette Bleam’s career path, from figure skater to tv writer/producer to Sumazi. It’s a great story, and touches on a field that’s not all-that well known.

(And the Lionel Richie campaign? PURE. GOLD.)


Tagged , , , , ,

Auditioning for a New Administrator.

Auditioning for a New Administrator.

My colleague Kim and I are so excited to announce that we’re hiring!

We’re looking for a Manager, Artistic Operations: the job will have a mix of duties, some supervisory, some nuts-and-bolts. We’re a small department, so we’re looking for a trustworthy personality who works well with us and can learn the ropes quickly. I have to say (and I’m obviously biased, since summer 2014 will be my 9th summer with the company) that it’s a great place to work. Interesting projects, good people…you won’t get rich, let’s be honest, but if your experience is anything like mine, you will absolutely have a good time.

The job posting is on Opera America’s job board and a few other internet hotspots, and I respectfully ask you to forward the bejeezus out of it! I’m happy to answer questions via this email, or in the comments.

Tagged , ,

Road Map.

Road Map.

This article has been making the rounds lately – it’s a step-by-step walk-through of how to have an operatic career. Training, YAPS, small roles, larger roles. It’s a good, comprehensive article, and while I don’t agree with everything 100%, there’s a lot of truth and helpful advice here.

The fall audition season is almost over for most singers and companies. Do you have something lined up? Did you have a successful (artistically) and/or unsuccessful (employment) season?

If you don’t have a gig, what are your next steps? I’d propose three:

1. Strengthen. Ask for feedback. Address your weaknesses and take care of them, for realz.

2. Reflect. Why do you want this career? What are the specific things about it that you love? (For me, it was the collaborative and improvisatory aspects of the rehearsal room.) What things are difficult, and why? (For me, tying my sense of self so strongly to other people’s opinions – I am much more confident now that I’m not singing.)

3. Explore. If you only know of two different tracks towards a career in the arts (teaching and performing being the two most prevalent), explore what else is out there. Ask for informational interviews with folks whose jobs you want. Ask a metric ton of questions. Gather as much info as you can – it will help you make the decision on your own terms.

Tagged , , ,

Continuing Education

Continuing Education

I was a part of the inaugural Opera America Leadership Intensive, and I cannot overstate the impact it has had on me – both on a professional and personal level. Applications are open for the class of 2014 – if opera is your thing, this is most definitely for you.

Tagged , , , ,

Reading List: The Diversified Career

Reading List: The Diversified Career

If you had asked me when I was 20-something, trying to cobble a living with 5 different jobs and a widely variable schedule, whether I wanted a conventional job or a freelance career, I would’ve certainly pointed towards the steady employment.

But now, well, the prospect of working on projects that I like, and caring less about where the paycheck comes from (caveat: as long as the paycheck is, in fact, coming) is a very attractive thing.

Seems that it is, also, a thing. It’s called having a diversified career, and it’s statistically the new normal. Redefining “success” in an individual manner – that can only be a good thing, as I see it.

Tagged , , , , ,

Addressing failure.

When I talk with people about leaving the performing life, there’s usually one common thread: a feeling of failure. We’re taught that to opt out of performing is to fail…how many times have we (meaning: me) heard “Those who can’t, teach.”? And, even though in our hearts we know that the choice we’ve made is the correct one for us, many of us still feel like we’re letting someone down by turning away from the stage.

In this article,Singer Brian Vander Ark (you know his tune “The Freshmen“, with the band The Verve Pipe.) talks with FailureLab founder Jordan O’Neill about his experience after the band’s sophmore release failed to catch fire. FailureLab’s core idea is to acknowledge mistakes, where things went wrong, and to find support in kindred spirits. Especially now, in our current climate of customized profiles and Facebook pages that only display happy/attractive/positive/self-promoting content, I would guess that the catharsis and camaraderie an event like this would foster would be a very powerful thing.

How could you take ownership of your “failure” and find a way to allow it to transform you?



This isn’t an entry-level opportunity, but it is a good opportunity for someone with booking experience. (And our little corner of the world is a pretty interesting and fun one in which to work, if I say so myself!)

Tagged ,

Gone visiting.

You can find me over here, talking about monologue choices.



It’s so difficult to represent ourselves accurately on paper. When you’re trying to move from a performance résumé to an academic CV, or from the professional world to academia, or from performing to the non- or for-profit worlds, it’s hard to reframe experiences in a way that makes sense.

Linda Essig has a lovely outline for artists trying to put together a CV for academia. It makes sense to me – what do you think?

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: