Piano Rehearsal Tracks

MusicalSingers.com now offers custom piano accompaniments!

When preparing for auditions, NEVER USE THE CAST RECORDING to practice with. The best investment you can make is in a piano track in YOUR KEY. Your favorite broadway star and their accompanying orchestra will not be in the audition room with you, but a single, professional pianist will. Being prepared and comfortable with piano-only accompaniment is essential in your audition success. Need your song recorded by a professional in your specific key? Done. MP3 to your inbox and you’re on your way.

Custom piano rehearsal tracks are $15 for the first 2 pages and $3 for each additional page. Not sure what your audition cut should be? We’ll help you decide. Email us to get started. 

Getting Ready for College Theatre Auditions – September

A month-by-month guide for preparing for your college theatre audition

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Soooo it’s your senior year in high school and you’re antsy to get done and get out! Colleges typically focus on your 9th-11th grade academics, so motivation for the moment can be hard to come by. But your future depends on the decisions you make today (I know—you’re getting that message from ALL directions) so we’re developing a manageable timeline and checklist to keep you moving and help you be confident and prepared for regional and local college musical theatre auditions.

September is the time to start your research.

You’ve got a little time ahead of you, but don’t procrastinate or you’ll get behind. Part of the recipe for a successful audition is being confident and relaxed, and if you are always playing catch up you’ll end up uncentered, frazzled, and exhausted. Don’t want that. Here are a few tasks to stay ahead of the game.

Write a research paper. WHAT??? Not really. Well, sort of.

When looking for potential musical theatre colleges and programs, you do actually have to do some homework. A little research can open up options you might not have readily considered. But don’t be overwhelmed by the college selection process. It’s pretty simple if you get organized and are honest with yourself about what’s important.

To begin, list five things you want in the school or from your college experience. Examples include greek life, affordability, large or small size, distance to home, available majors, etc. You might list them in order of importance. You probably won’t find them all in one place, so it will help to know which are requirements and which are non-essentials.

Next, visit college research sites to see which colleges best fit you and your goals. Here are a few good ones:

  1. Forbes college quiz
  2. Petersons.com
  3. Unigo College Match quiz
  4. Big Future – Finding your college fit

Make a list of potential schools (I would have at least 20) and organize into these three categories: (more…)

Productivity + Personal Care

by Backstage Expert Tony Howell

New York is a city of people running around—some chasing dreams, some getting lost in the shuffle. Regardless of where you live, productivity is a hot topic and something I felt compelled to write about this morning.

Today, I want to share the steps I take to increase productivity, while also balancing self-care.

1. Make Time

The first step is scheduling time for important tasks. This is often called time blocking.

One of the biggest and best changes I’ve ever made was putting my work/clients from 10-5 Monday through Friday. This is batching mixed with self-care. I devote my nights and weekends to my partner and friends. Sundays are my day for development—church, writing my book, recording training for courses, planning for the week ahead, etc.

I certainly can work nights and weekends, but I’m not setting the expectation. I also work to batch (or group) similar tasks. Batching similar tasks helps your mind know exactly what to do… all research, emails, personal errands, etc. You’re not having to react to so much!

In terms of other personal insight, I highly recommend following a consistent gym schedule or workout plan. Bodybuilding.com has some great workouts/apps. (I’m currently doing the Big Man on Campus… HA!) You can also get a personal workout and nutrition plan with Buckley Body Solutions.

 

2. Eliminate Distractions

I don’t allow texting from clients. I shut down email. I put my computer on “do not disturb” mode. I flip my phone over so it’s face down. Sometimes, I’ll even set a one-hour timer for specific tasks.

If needed, I’ll turn on ambient noise. My favorite’s are Pandora’s Spa Radio or Issa Bagayogo on Spotify.

Sometimes, I even get dressed up and light candles for extra motivation. For me, it’s important to feel like a professional while also inviting inspiration. These two ideas come from Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Big Magic.

 

3. Revive and Rejuvenate

Life is more than a to-do list, so make sure you schedule time for personal care, as well as friends and family.

I’m experimenting with using my mornings to create. Too often, we start our days consuming—social media, email, news and more.

Audiences consume. Artists create.

I seem to be the most creative and productive in the mornings. Lately, I’ve found such great joy in using the website 750words.com to write Morning Pages (a practice from The Artist’s Way and Create a Life Worth Living). I’ve also found great clarity in a new ritual of taking my dog for long walks before bed.

Make sure you’re filling up your creative tank. Productivity is important, but so is your personal health.

You are your business… so take great care of yourself!


What’s one way you increase productivity or practice self-care? Leave a comment below.



Tony Howell (@TonyHowell) is a New York based digital strategist.  Read more of Tony’s articles at tonyhowell.me

What makes a singer great?

Patterns and Defaults

By Guest Contributor Michael Marescafairygodmothermeme


Often times, we think of great singers being born the way they are. That perhaps, they were just granted this amazing ability to sing with such ease and strength. With this new language of defining and categorizing the human voice that has been established and discovered thanks to all the people of One Voice, we now can see that all the amazing things we once thought were impossible to do if you weren’t born with them – are now possible. For example, think of Sutton Foster, Gavin Creel, Kelli O’Hara, Beyonce’, Freddie Mercury, or Pavarotti. Regardless of what you think about them as artists, these vocalists truly have some form of mastery over their voices that the “average Joe” might not. Until now, we have seen these singers as the “special” or “gifted” ones. Utilizing this new language we gain new perspective for how the human voice functions, and how these A-list singers actually do what they do.

Great singing is nothing more than sets of brain patterned defaults that great singers don’t have to think about any more.

Great singing is nothing more than sets of brain patterned defaults that great singers don’t have to think about any more. Just like a big time basketball player who gets so used to dribbling a basketball that he or she doesn’t even have to think about it. It becomes “natural”, or perhaps a better way of saying this is that it becomes unconsciously habitual. Vibrato is a great example that most people are taught comes “naturally”. If this were true, don’t you think we would speak with a vibrato? Or when a baby is born, wouldn’t it have a vibrato? This is something we’ve picked up in the popular music society as “good”. So we either learn how to do or mimic it from a young age, until finally, it becomes “natural” or said in a nerdy way – a patterned default; something I no longer have to think about. 

Here are several defaults you want to make sure you have mastered on your way to becoming a great singer:

  1. Pitch – this is something that we all take for granted. Most people who believe they can sing are often very lazy with their pitch accuracy. If you’re going to play at the top, you must ensure that your ability to match and sustain pitch is solid.
  2. Volume – another often skimmed over facet of singing. Our ability to control our volume brings a beauty that you don’t get from the “tone” or “sound” of someone’s voice. Its the beauty of control. 
  3. Weight – this is the second theory of the One Voice theories for how the voice functions. Obtaining mastery over this part of your voice will allow you to change sound quality mid phrase. Or better said, allow you the choice to belt a pop song, or sing a classical (or legit) song.  

Most of these things are often overlooked because singers can do them in some fashion. But we’re not talking about being “good” singers, we’re talking about being “great”. If you think you’re really good at these three things, I’d challenge you to revisit them. In my experience, many singers who think they’re really great, tend to have mediocre control over these aspects of singing. 

In my experience, many singers who think they’re really great, tend to have mediocre control over these aspects of singing.

One final note. There is often an assumption that hitting a “high” note means that you are a “great” singer. I’d like to suggest that a great singer means you have a certain level of mastery over how you play the instrument you currently have. As you build different coordinations in your voice, your range will grow, but if you are lackluster in these other areas, you’ll never play with the heavy hitters. 

Good luck. Singing is not a quick fix or about finding tricks. Focus on your goal and don’t back down when you are faced with opposition or hard work. Go. Fight. Win. 

Michael Maresca is the head of Musical Theatre Voice at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He is also the founder and president of MMOV Studios and creator of the One Voice technique. He has taught thousands of singers, changing both how they understand their voice and how they use it. He serves on the faculty of the Performing Arts Project and the Broadway Theatre Project. Performance credits include the Broadway national tour of Mamma Mia and the national tour of Saturday Night Fever.