How to Tame the Beast!

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”
Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Marie Rilke

If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of your colleagues and friends tell you how busy they are. Sure it’s hard to deal with the pressures of having a job, all the while worrying about the added time, energy and money needed to continue your pursuit of having a singing career. And what about having any kind of a social life? Being too busy becomes the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” I want to give you some ideas to try out to see if they will help you feel more in control of your world and the path you’re on.

  • A regular job requires a certain amount of your time and energy. However, for the most part, I think when you are done and off the clock, you can leave it behind and focus on what needs to be done next, whether it involves your career or is personal or even social.

  • If you are having trouble leaving your jobs’ energy, stress and thoughts at the door when you leave your job you might want to try this: Look down at your feet. Create a circle on the floor around your feet by holding your arms out and turning in a circle. Notice how big it is and give it any color that seems right for that moment. Now as you stand there, feel the weight of whatever the issues are from you day as if they were heavy woolen coats soaked in water and slowly let one at a time drop off your shoulders and arms to the floor of your circle. Hear it, see it and feel it land on the floor in your circle. When all your issues are on the floor of your circle, look at them and then step over them all and out of the circle. Notice that they are all over there, still in that circle. Notice how much lighter, and liberated you feel. Your mind is also relieved of any unnecessary worries about things you can do nothing about. Now it’s time to move on to the next project and activities. If what you left behind is important, it will be right where you left it when you go to work the next time and you can pick it up and get it done. (This is a great practice especially when one has to go directly from work to a coaching, rehearsal or voice lesson. You will feel and be more awake and focused, ready to work.)


All of my suggestions are nice to read, but if you don’t put them into practice it just remains words on a page. Having a singing career is learning how to tame the beast and do it with confidence and panache. You can want and wish with all you might, but if you don’t actually do something with a solid objective and purpose in mind, it remains just that, a wish and a want. It’s not a romantic life; it’s real and a job like all others. It requires you to dig deep and find that tenaciousness to reach your goal.
So Avanti and ciao until next time. Carol

Carol Kirkpatrick

For as long as she can remember, singing and performing have always been in Carol Kirkpatrick’s blood. From her beginnings in a small farming town in southeastern Arizona, through her early first-place triumph at the prestigious San Francisco Opera Auditions, and subsequent career on international stages, Ms. Kirkpatrick has thrilled audiences and critics alike. “A major voice, one worth the whole evening.” (The New York Times) Since retiring from the stage, she continues to be in demand as a voice teacher, clinician, and adjudicator of competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.  Combining her knowledge of performance, business, and interpersonal skills, she has written the second edition of her highly regarded book, Aria Ready: The Business of Singing, a step-by-step career guide for singers and teachers of singing.  Aria Ready has been used by universities, music conservatories and summer and apprentice programs throughout the world as a curriculum for teaching Ms. Kirkpatrick’s process of career development, making her “the” expert in this area.  She lives in Denver, Colorado.