Blog 6: The Plan

My plan for the next four years, and on, starts with my education. I am in the process of researching potential opportunities in the future and gathering information. I do the basics, practicing as efficiently as I can, eating healthy, working hard to keep good grades in my classes (good grades open doors). The skills I need to acquire right now are proficiency with language, a tough skin, good technique, emotional, mental, and physical endurance, and a generally unshakeable positive attitude. Also, I am reading about my subject, something young artists tend to neglect in the midst of trying to grab ahold of the basics. I’m studying posture (via Alexander Technique), old-style Bel Canto technique to further my voice lessons, diction, history, and general philosophy about a positive mindset toward singing and art. I plan to keep doing this over the course of my four years, garnering as much information as possible. Knowing terminology and internalizing lessons that may be taught much later, now, I will be leveled with other people of different education. Also, I am starting a World Language major. I am deciding between on French or German in addition to Italian. Whichever language I don’t practice in school, I will be studying on my own.  By the end of my four years, I hope to be proficient in three languages.

 

My educational plan is to continue through undergrad onto a grad school with a teacher who will pull the best out of me, regardless of where it is, and perhaps continue onto a performance diploma. Either after grad school or performance diploma, I will audition for apprenticeships in addition to small jobs. I will do my best to get a church job next year (sophomore year), to prepare myself for singing in public on an even more regular basis. My hope is to go with my voice teacher to the Amalfi Coast Festival at some point in my undergraduate years, and the summer after my senior year, I will sign up to go with her to summer study-abroad in South Africa .

 

In the outside world, I am considering the options of teaching voice, teaching language, or being a waiter, in addition to my art. This is how I will make money, and maybe, I might be interested in starting a small group of classical singers to create music together, performing in casual locations at first, then hopefully, moving on to travelling through Europe. We would perform musical theatre and opera numbers for people in many languages. Also, we might perform solos as well as choir pieces to entertain our audiences.

 

Because I am still at a base level, it’s almost impossible for me to pinpoint what my “special sauce” is. I know though that I have an incredible motivation and work ethic, I will be well-read and educated about my craft outside of my voice lessons, and I am searching. That is enough right now, for me. I don’t want to force any sort of niche upon myself. I will let it come organically to me through experience and hard work.

Skill Builds!

As a college student, I am well-aware that right now, I am being paid for to gather as much information as possible and do what I love. There’s no better time to  take the responsibility to assess your skills, decide what needs acquiring for your artistry and what your strengths are. Sometimes, it is hard to accept what is already there as stable, but it’s just as important to recognize what you do well as what you would like to improve on. One of my best strengths is that I am fiercely dedicated to my craft, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I exercise, read, watch, observe, change, and try to do it all for the art. That is probably the best base I can jump off of as a singer. Through perseverance, I know that only a handful of skills are out of reach.

Some of the things I am working on are constant motivation, organization, and bravery. Sometimes, I find myself going on Facebook or spending an hour on Hulu when I still have many tasks to complete on my to do list. I feel like this could be because I don’t yet understand the magnitude of material that I still have to learn to be successful in this business, but I’m working on being able to stay focused for longer and longer periods of time. Next, as a mostly visual learner, I need organized space to have the most productive atmosphere possible. Clutter distracts me, and when I have time, I make sure everything is conducive to creativity, but sometimes I can get hasty, like when I have very little time to get everything done! I’m working on keeping my environment and myself organized (putting everything back the way you found it, as my mother used to say) to have a less cluttered space for my mind. Finally, just recently, one of the reasons I am so put off right now by entrepreneurship is because I don’t like getting things “wrong.” I can argue with myself and work myself up about how there is no wrong answer, but I am progressing in my security in making mistakes. Now is the BEST time to make mistakes, no one is judging me, and I am surrounded by professionals who know that the problems I have aren’t unnatural. They know what to do if you just let it all out! It’s hard to pull mistakes out of someone who gives only a little. The solution for me is to just let myself be instead of overthinking everything through SO much.  My way of working now is letting myself be and to exercise my skills freely. When I recognize something I can fix during that process, THEN I engage my intellectual faculties. When I’m not managing every moment, my creativity and ideas can flow better! I’m glad I have identified these main points to practice some deliberate change, meaning that I will work through the tough, nitty gritty stuff instead of  foiling over a whole process, allowing the bad to slide by and practicing what is already good because it’s easy.

 

 

Elevator Pitch

Hello, my name is Lauren Pinzás, like tweezers in Spanish except with an accent on the A.  I’m a mezzo-soprano opera singer interested in creating a greater communicative, global bond by becoming a dynamic part of the European classical music world. My voice has been described as warming chocolate sensation, and I strive to use my musicianship to celebrate the beauty in the human emotional expression in a world with a dwindling interest in classical music. I am currently a vocal performance and prospective world languages student studying under Barbara Hill-Moore at Southern Methodist University, and I thank you graciously for your time today. Here is my card, and have a wonderful rest of your day!

Blog #4…Motivations

I am motivated by my natural creative tendencies, and the experiences I’ve had in school.

On one side, I am proud to say that I am motivated by an inner drive to be a better, well-rounded, more self-aware person. It feels good to be conscious and to feel like an open life sponge. Lessons only truly make sense to me when they have made some sort of emotional, mental, or physical print. That’s when I know I have made a connection and can incorporate that teaching into my life. It’s almost similar to that feeling you get in math class when you finally understand something and can do it backwards, forwards, and diagonally!  I love the feelings of comprehensively folding another layer of knowledge into my life. I would spend my summers (not only going on Tumblr like everyone else…), but my motivation to understand drove me to giving a crack at learning Italian and German on my own for two summers, made me push myself to branch out and listen to classic rock, classical, and learn to appreciate the music in message regardless of the packaging. I wanted to being by watch classic movies and read classic novels and better absorb new perspectives and learn a little more about life and myself.

 

Unfortunately though, the other side of me can be a big strategic learner. Since I am trying to use this blog to try and get out of this habit, whereas my normal instinct would be to delve enough to make this poignant enough to be impressive, I believe this kind of attitude was garnered throughout my schooling. Don’t get me wrong, I am INCREDIBLY appreciative of the education I received. If my mom had not been a teacher there, I probably wouldn’t have been able to go to a school as good as the one I did, but the competition to have a high GPA there is almost crushing. Because material can move so rapidly in the coveted AP courses, sometimes students didn’t have the luxury of getting to plunge into the material they were covering. They needed that A to A+ that fit into perfect slot on their transcript to get into the best school to get the best and most high-paying job. I’m not saying all of the students were like that but being in that sort of environment for most of your life can change the way you look at achievement.  When I got a good grade or made the impression as the “brilliant, gifted student,” I felt special, and if I gave a wrong answer in front of people, I felt like my credibility would wane.

 

To this day, one of the things that motivates me, but I very much wish didn’t is that feeling of shining. It’s confusing because it’s a mix of external and internal reward. If I feel like I did my best or better than my best in front of people, it doesn’t matter if I actually was the best one, I feel absolutely super.  It doesn’t matter if people tell me that I did a fabulous job, if I don’t feel super, then I am convinced that I didn’t do everything I could.

 

Honestly, I am so glad to be writing this blog because it is clearing so much of my problem up for me. One of my hairiest problems is trying to “survive” and make myself look good. Because I am partly a strategic learner, when I get a song, I am so excited to get into the emotion and feel like I can learn the technique so well that I could express anything I want with it. With every song, there are technical roadblocks that you have to work through. If these blocks aren’t easy to move, I work extremely hard on them, and I begin to forget my strong to desire to portray to person at the risk of not sounding open and beautiful 100% of the time.  I get so wrapped up in that fear of failure that I go to perform it with the mindset of “surviving,” simply singing it beautifully and impressing the people watching me instead of exploring the creative ideas for my character that are just itching to get out. The best and worst part is that it typically works for me. It was only until about yesterday in studio, where I had sung the piece technically first, that I was urged above all to portray the character. Getting to take the first baby steps of that risk in such a supportive environment showed me that throwing all that thinking away can make the technique even easier.  It’s a little bit counterintuitive…when you don’t focus on the technique your technique is better, but I am grateful and so excited to get going.

 

I have to point out that I am not a strategic learner for everything. My desire to learn and grow emotionally, mentally, and physically gets in the way of my desire to look good all the time, and I am so glad. J I think the best thing I can do is ask myself questions like how/why does this work? And what part does this aspect play in the grand scheme of the concept?  I really really don’t want to keep “surviving” and worrying about failing. Another thing I am going to try is failing all over the place. I don’t care what people think of me at this point because it’s not worth missing out on the changes that I could be making for myself.  Although it might hurt at first, I am going to take risks that I am not comfortable with, and ask myself more why questions

If you have any suggestions about your mindset on failure or anything mentioned above, all sorts of comments would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much for your time, and have a wonderful day!

Blog #3 Core Value

 

Blog #3:

I’m very hesitant to write about my values here…so I’m going to keep it short. I may extend it later on, but I really do not have the right words to express all of my values, and I would be doing an injustice to myself and to the integrity of this assignment if I just “fudged it.”

As you can see, one thing that I truly do value is honesty; honesty with your instincts and honesty with other people.  Honest to me is when I can acknowledge and act upon what I feel in my gut and show that to other people. This is why art is so meaningful.  When I can work to uncover a truthful and specific understanding between myself and a character I am portraying, it is the most gratifying feeling I can think of.  I am saying something for a soul and am doing my job my making the textures and universal similarities of the human existence clearer to the audience.

When I am honest, I am open to understanding what I need as a person, what unique thoughts and sentiments I can offer, and my life ends up being a lot less complicated! I wish that people wouldn’t have to put up fronts and wouldn’t worry about being seen in a certain was because to me, some of the most beautiful and provoking memories I have are those where I’ve met someone who allows what they truly feel to cross their face and involuntarily change the moment. Honesty leads to self-discovery, improvement, meaningful relationships, peace, and specificity. Dedication to it allows someone to understand what they have to offer that nobody else can and allows art to be raw and universal. There’s so much beauty at the core of things that there is no need to make anything else up.

Thank you for reading.

 

Blog #2 Work Habits

 

This post is supposed to be about my habits…funny how I’m writing this at 12:08 a.m.!!

My work habits vary for both my artistic and technical growth.

For my technical growth, I try to look at practicing as simply engraining muscle memory and being a robot. Because I have a tendency to forget specifics when I’m told a string of corrections, I always have a notebook at my lessons, and, soon, I will be recording my lessons to get a more accurate view of my blind spots. When it comes to my technical growth, I can feel like a tightly wound Swiss watch. I make sure that I exercise regularly to be able to maintain stamina while singing a difficult piece, and I do my best to put myself in the best possible place to be as open to correction as possible.  To me, technical correction is not all about building. I personally believe that each person has the potential to be extraordinary, like there is a specific light inside of everyone that is obstructed by doubt, inexperience, and ignorance. Training allows my blocks to be removed and let that light right out of my mouth (as odd as that sounds that’s what it feels like…).

On the other side of the spectrum, being in the best possible place allows me to be, as cliché at it sounds, a better student of life.  I’ve heard before that an artist’s tool box comes from an artist’s life, and I do my best to make sure I am experiencing, appreciating, and learning as much as I possibly can. My goal in this pursuit is to be a sponge, to take everything I can from a given situation, and learn something about myself, other people, and the next step.  I make sure I am reading classic novels, watching old and new movies, learning languages, analyzing my impulses and actions, and documenting in a little moleskin notebook what makes me stressed, happy, pained, etc.! Artistic growth is my favorite part of improving my craft because there are so many ways to make yourself a more educated person and to have a more interesting, understood message to convey onstage.

The main problem I am working through right now is self-doubt. It is one of the biggest obstructions in both my technical and artistic growth because it makes me stop and wonder, “Am I doing this right?, What if I’m not practicing this or looking at this in the best way that I can.” Usually, the only answer that I have to that is that my body and mind are both doing what they need to do to get to the next step.

If you made it all the way down here, thank you so much for bearing with me! I hope you have a great rest of the day, and I would love some feedback if you happen to have any thoughts!

History

Singing is my escape to the truest part of myself. I sing because I am a grateful person, I sing because I am a pained person, but most of all, I sing because I am an honest person who craves emotional connection. I’m almost hesitant to disclose any vulnerable material, despite this being my place to learn about and express myself, but I feel like the payoff would be worth it.

I could make this blog about my voice teachers, or my high school, or my family, but I think what  truly shaped me as a performer was already a part of me all along. If you asked a handful of my teachers from freshman year to about junior year, most of them would describe me as sensitive. Of course, they only got to know me for a short time, but, yes, I am oversensitive.  I used to think of it as a hindrance in my life, a part of my personality that could only hurt me. I believed this because, at the early point of my dense emotional development, it definitely did. Until my mental understanding of this special quality evolved, how I felt ran rampant and shifted my views of all of my relationships and the world around me.

What I came to realize this was though I had a gift in expression. My oversensitivity makes me extremely attuned to changes in energy and the unspoken language people gave off. It made me react quickly, and I developed strong attention to detail by indulging in it. As I was growing up, expressing everything I was feeling was so easy, but in this society, I got the impression that it was weak to be completely honest about I felt. No one wanted to listen to something they wouldn’t understand, and it was more truthfulness than I felt people wanted to deal with. It forced me on put on a thick skin because I realized that that was what people preferred. As I was getting used to this shell, this struggle shaped me as a performer because it made me crave honesty and simplicity even more than before.  I wanted to connect and understand in ways that were as raw as the way I felt. Connections like those don’t come around very often, so in the meantime, the rest of that urge went straight into my excitement to become one with a character or get to experience a scene with a partner. While I do get caught up in being technically correct, and my nerves do affect how willing I am to be open with other people , when I sing with the charge that the music gives every cell in my body, then I am finally free. It’s like a dam that is just bursting to be let forth, and I am glad to have gone through the emotional roller coaster that got me to the point where I not only like to express but need it to feel complete.

Just to be clear, I’m won’t burst out into tears if you tell me you don’t like my song. I’d most likely say “ouch.” then head away. Also, if it just doesn’t make sense to you or doesn’t resonate fully with you, I would say ” I didn’t with me either.” It took a loooottt of space in my diary at the time! Luckily, I am blessed with the chance to be fulfilled in a way that has shaped not only the way I am as a performer but as a human being.

It was quite challenging, yet very wonderful, to try to articulate this kind of history…My ability to write out what I feel will improve with time, but for now, I hope your day is going swimmingly and that you enjoyed reading this entry!