Tis’ the Season

Tis’ the season for singers to juggle even more than usual- if you are a student, you have probably just finished with finals and voice juries. Add to that a church job, gigging with a caroling company, and a few Messiah-sing-a-longs, and you have the perfect recipe for holiday burnout. You might even pick up some extra cash by working as Christmas help for a retail company.
How do you manage all of this without a nervous breakdown?
I remember very vividly my years as a DMA student at the University of Southern California. In addition to being a graduate assistant and teaching on the adjunct faculties at several junior colleges, I also had taken on a full-time job as a department manager at Macy’s after coming home to a mound of credit card bills after spending a summer in Europe. I also worked for a professional caroling company and was the soprano soloist at a Catholic church. Christmas Eve for me was a 10:00-6:00 shift at Macy’s, a caroling gig from 7:00-9:00, and then a midnight mass church service. And everyone wondered why I was bah-humbug.
Obviously I survived my self-imposed stress (but hey, no student loans upon graduation!), but I certainly feel empathy as I see my voice students at UNLV juggle similar jobs. The lesson learned? Try to slow down! Take some time to relax and de-stress, even if that only means a bubble bath, a cup of hot chocolate by the fire, or snuggling with your family pet. Find some quiet time away from all the hustle and bustle of your daily life. And above all, make sure you get enough sleep. I learned the hard way, but lack of sleep was the first step towards getting sick, and the more responsibilities I added, the worse my sleep patterns became. The stress of managing too many tasks only becomes worsened when you are sick. Sharing Christmas joy can be fun, if you give yourself a break. Do whatever you need to do to maintain your sanity and health during this hectic and joyous season.

Dr. Michelle Latour

Dr. Michelle Latour is a Las Vegas-based voice teacher, repertoire consultant, and writer. She is the creator of The LATOUR voice studios, LLC, and maintains a busy studio, teaching both classical and musical theatre genres. She has been on the full-time voice faculties of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Bluffton University. Latour earned a DMA from the University of Southern California and an MM from Boston University, both in Voice performance. To find out more and get in touch, visit www.drmichellelatour.com.