Thursday, June 2, 2016

Good advice re: summer programs

The following is from Carol Kirkpatrick, author of Aria Ready? The Business of Singing.


Can’t believe it’s time to start thinking about getting ready for your summer program. I want to help you get ready, really ready, for being able to take advantage of the opportunities that are about to commence. Once you are home, I want you to feel you have spent your time, energy and especially, money well. This needs to be more than another Program to add to your resume. You need to be seen, heard, and felt as a young professional at all times. This is business, not emotional. This is your job.
Here are several new ideas and ways you might want to expand your thinking, as you prepare for and eventually have this adventure.
  • First, ask yourself, what do I want and need from this program. What is my end goal? What do those running the program want and need from me. You can easily either do a mind map or make a list of the goals, intentions, reasons, and purpose you have in mind for having chosen this particular program. It could be you are interested in having the opportunity to learn about a different culture and language. Or perhaps there is a particular person you are interested in working with, or a role you have been given a change to perform, etc.
  • Go with all your music completely memorized. This shows you are prepared and professional.
  • Do your homework about ALL the people who are involved in running the program. Google them and get to know all you can about them. Go beyond their resumes and college bios. Find what you can about their lives outside of where they currently work. What books and movies do they enjoy; what food do they like; do they enjoy cooking, gardening, sports, crossword puzzles, dancing, etc. Do they have a family? This gives you a heads up with carrying on a real conversation with them and makes them more human to you, and you more interesting to them, instead of someone to only revere and fear. You don’t want to get intimate with them, but you need to come at this by being informed.
  • If you own my book, ARIA READY: The Business of Singing, bring it with you so you have a guide to know how to behave, what to do and how to do it in most any situation.
  • Once there, never, ever get involved in any gossip or politics. This is a job.
  • If you are in a foreign country, find out what the customs are. Especially when going out in the evening so you don’t become an “Ugly American.” Remember you are not only representing your own brand, but that of the Summer Program you are attending, the entire staff, and America as well.
  • When packing your suitcase make a list first. Then, once packed, walk around the block with whatever you think you need. This will quickly show you what you can leave at home because the getting there and back has become more of an event that you want or need.  Be sure to create a small emergency kit of things like: medicines for colds, upset stomach; even get an antibiotic prescription if you can. Be prepared!
  • Stick to your plan. Leave those running the program with a great impression of you the person and performer while you get what you want and need as well. How professional have you behaved on all occasions. It matters. And send hand written thank you note to everyone with whom you have worked in the program and those who are the administrators. You never know where they will wind up. It’s your job and always about networking.

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