Establishing a routine
As the next months started to pass, I tried to immerse myself in as much local music making as I could. I sent applications for a few competitions and some more auditions. The long story short from this particular push of auditions was that I passed a few pre screenings and got some rejections, but I also got some nice feedback. The auditions that I went on were for The Princeton Opera Festival, Piccola Opera San Antonio, Opera Pomme Rouge, Washington National Opera (for the opera chorus), Cooperative, and The Bay View Music Festival. In general I felt really good about these; a definite confidence in what I had shown them. Although I was still waiting to audition for the summer festival for Delaware Valley Opera Company, my audition schedule had gotten sort of light.
The interesting (and potentially the most stressful) part of a freelance job is the need to make your own schedule and to piece things together. The thing that can be a little stressful, I suppose (... for me....) is the need to be mindful when you are not actively auditioning and remember that you can accomplish important work in your daily singing and practicing. You can do this while auditioning, but for me it has always been on a slightly lesser level.
Now, when we were at school it was always made fairly obvious that we needed to practice, keep our language skills fresh, make new contacts, continue to put ourselves out there... Basically, keep our tools and our resources in the best possible shape we could to help us be successful. While I feel like I have been relatively successful, this part of making my own path has been very interesting.
When I learned of the price tags that come along with some of the YAPs I began a GoFund Me campaign to get a jump on defraying the costs of attendance. And to be perfectly honest, my GoFund Me campaign (which is still running ... I'm going to put a shameless plug in later) would be and will be helpful to recoup the expenses of this past audition season in general. I mean, I have $300 alone in fees that I spent sending applications to programs where I did not receive auditions, I spent $20 in postage for applications that weren't done online, $100 for recordings, and I've spent at least $300 on transportation to and from NYC, Baltimore, or DC. Now, while that's just the beginning for me, think of spending money on these things which you legitimately need to, while trying to make enough money to pay for lessons and coachings, let alone credit cards, food, and rent (and I am nowhere near the only person that goes through this... Think thousands. Maybe hundreds of thousands).
The real point of my little tangent above is the fact that many of us need to hold part time jobs (or a VERY understanding full time job) with flexibility that will allow us to go to auditions, take lessons at a time that actually exists in our teacher's schedule, and will help us make enough money to do more than survive. I have been very lucky to have a family that believes in me and is willing to support me in the ways that they can; but, it is not their responsibility to subsidize my life. But then how do I accomplish creating a schedule that works for me and the things I need to accomplish?
I have been lucky enough to find a teacher whom I love and trust. She has helped draw me even further out of my musical self and she is helping me find who I want to be as an artist. This was what I knew would be the hardest thing about leaving Boston. If I found a teacher I knew I'd be able to continue from there. I have also been singing at her church since I started lessons with her. This has been nice because aside from making sure I am singing in front of people on a weekly basis, it has given me the opportunity to simultaneously learn and encourage others around me.
Through my teacher, I have found the frame work for my schedule. During my week, I have made time daily to vocalize or practice or run music. Now that the audition schedule has relaxed I have started adding new music into my practicing rotation which I am planning to learn for next years auditions (and for maybe one or two coming up later this season). This is all fine and well, but how to schedule work, coachings, non singing practice, applications, publicity, networking, and all the other fun things that running your own fledgling business entails? I'm not going to lie... There has been an incredible learning curve.
I fell into a part time job that gave me the kind of freedom I needed. The first few months were really stressful because as a personal I wasn't receiving many hours and I was barely making any money. The way it worked was that I had to improve shopping times, shopping accuracy, and other things of that nature. Now, I make my own schedule (or as close as is possible when working for someone else) and I have the freedom to not be available on a day I need off. This allows me to schedule around rehearsals and auditions and lessons.
As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I have an incredible habit of trying to involve everything everyone has ever tried and hoping it combines to make me a successful artist. I have been great for months with language study, physical exercise, eating well... And this all continues until I get busy because, let's face it. If the choice, for me, comes between one of these above things and sleeping, I'm going to choose sleep EVERY time.
So, while I have made a lot of progress in piecing together a schedule that works for me, I have a teensy bit more to go.
Until next time!