There are certain things about a singing career that can’t be taught in class. So much is practical and comes with time and personal experiences in the field. The biggest advice I could ever give a student is to never expect to learn everything in school. The number one goal should be to learn how to become an independent person and artist. School will definitely help with some of the tools needed to achieve this goal, but most of it will be your responsibility. This search for artistic independence and inspiration is what will fuel your self-motivation. At the end of the day, you’re the one getting up to sing and nobody can do it for you!
- Know Thyself
The better you know yourself, the farther you’ll get (and the happier you’ll be!). Nobody will, nor should, know you as well as you ever will. That is where your power resides, and you should never give that away. Do the work, spend time discovering who you are, what you want and who you’d like to become, not only as an artist but as a human being. This investment in yourself is the foundation for anything you’d like to do in life, if you want it to be sustainable.
- Create Deadlines
A career in music means that you won’t always have someone around checking if you are getting your work done on time or not. Whether you have to prepare for an engagement or you don’t have a contract coming up, you need to create a specific and detailed schedule for yourself and commit to it. It’s easy to get “things done” when a job is imposing a deadline with high stakes, but it’s not so easy to prepare music or practice to reach certain goals on your own. The answer to this is: break it down and SCHEDULE IT!
Striving for independence in your artistic abilities doesn’t mean you can do this career on your own. You need a team, and you need to nurture collaboration and friendships. To become a final product, opera requires many layers and different kinds of people, and while you are responsible for the sounds that you are creating, you cannot do this career by yourself! Friendships and collaborations can be very motivating on so many levels. Maybe you have a study buddy, and accountability buddy or you decide to collaborate with other artists and create projects together! Don’t be so stuck in your lane that you miss out on the inspiring energy others can provide you, and you can provide others!
- Read & Listen
Unlocking creativity and inspiration is a crucial aspect of our motivation levels as artists. Sometimes these will just come to us, but we also have to invite them in by adopting a regular habit of reading and listening as much as possible. We can learn so much from listening to other’s experiences in interviews, masterclasses and performances. Reading the news, magazines and autobiographies is a must. There are a lot of great opera podcasts to discover but I encourage you to also listen to stories outside of the immediate industry you are in as it can be very enlightening and provide you with new perspectives. Two of my favorite non-opera podcasts that have been life changing for me are “That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse” and “10000 Nos with Matthew del Negro”.
- Move your body!
Your overall mood and motivation will always be influenced by your level of physical activity. However, it is important to understand how to train in a way that is helpful to your own body and progress as a singer. I have personally always been a very athletic person but have recently found a new way of training with The Musical Athlete. This type of training has not only helped me improve my performance as a singing athlete but has also kept me very excited and motivated because I have experienced dramatic progress and have done it all in a very safe and nurturing community environment. Whether you decide to check out @the.musical.athlete or train in a different way, make sure you move every day and remember that your entire body and mind are your instrument, rather than just your voice.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways you can fuel your self-motivation, but I hope it serves as a guide to spark your curiosity and it inspires you to dig deeper!