Seriously! How many times has that same person been late to rehearsal? How many times have I spent weeks on a score and the person next to me is fumbling around looking at it for the first time? No matter what a great singer they may be, I know I would never recommend them for another gig. The biggest lesson I have learned in my studies and practice has relatively little to do with singing. It has been the mere simplicity of acting like a fantastic Kindergartener.
Be kind to each other! People want to work with nice people. I have heard people who cast singers ask themselves while watching an audition, “Do I want to spend 6 weeks in a room with this person?”
Be on time to class! The teacher respects the student who respects them by coming on time, and will often go the extra mile for that student – directors are not much different.
Be prepared! Did you bring your crayons with you? Did you learn your part in the quartet we are rehearsing today?
Be helpful and caring! Lend a hand when someone needs a bit of help, but also know when to encourage someone do it on their own.
We all learned these lessons very early in grade school, but as we grow up, we tend to forget, or think they are only for show-and-tell or snack time and have little bearing in the ‘real-world.’ In the classes I teach, you can easily spot the students who have taken these lessons to heart and have tried to live their daily lives with them. There is not a doubt in my mind that they will become successful professionals no matter their specialty. I have tried to make these behaviors a priority in my professional life and live by example, both for myself and my students.
The disparity between good grade-school behavior and adulthood is not limited to singers – the same could be said for people who hire singers as well. We have all worked for someone who is not so nice, doesn’t respect us, and has not been prepared themselves. As I singer, I am much more willing to go out of my way for a conductor or director who provides me the same courtesy that I am trying to bestow upon them. We are in the business of ‘playing’ music and being artists for a living – it should be fun to work with others as we create our masterpieces together. By harkening back to those simpler days, we can unlock the mystery of how to make singing more enjoyable and earn a more sustainable living.