This Is A Voice

Golden Nuggets 21st Feb - Chickens, wind, exams & happiness

February 21, 2022 Jeremy Fisher and Dr Gillyanne Kayes Season 4 Episode 4
This Is A Voice
Golden Nuggets 21st Feb - Chickens, wind, exams & happiness
Show Notes Transcript

How do you handle singing exams, vocal auditions and voice competitions? Do you know exactly what to do or are you a gibbering wreck?

In this week's Golden Nuggets singing experts Dr Gillyanne Kayes & Jeremy Fisher chat about their resources on how to ace the singing audition.
 
The introduction was recorded during Storm Eunice and they share the tale of chickens and wind, and how they had to move their chicken coops to higher ground because of flooding - how prepared are you when anything out of the ordinary happens?

And in Inspiration of the Week Gillyanne & Jeremy discuss happiness and Mo Gawdat's book Solve For Happy.
 
You can go straight to the Learning Lounge and dive into 600+ videos and resources on singing, voice and performance here https://vocal-process-hub.teachable.com/p/the-vocal-technique-learning-lounge

Or check out the video version of this podcast on our YouTube channel here https://youtu.be/1Xhd4k0YRqw


Or sign up for the newsletter here https://vocalprocess.co.uk/build-your-own-tilting-larynx/


 And you can pick up Mo Gawdat's book Solve For Happy here https://amzn.to/3BAukZD

Jeremy:

This Is A Voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher. Hello and welcome to this week's Golden Nuggets.

Gillyanne:

So Jeremy, what's in the Golden Nuggets grab bag this week.

Jeremy:

Oh. This week it's chickens and wind.

Gillyanne:

Chickens and wind. Yep. That sounds like an interesting combo. Why are we talking about this? We're actually recording. I wouldn't say we're quite in the eye of the storm, but we're definitely being visited by storm Eunice right now as we're recording aren't we,

Jeremy:

and for those of you who know as well, that we have chickens in the garden. And actually the last time we had a storm that was even vaguely similar to Storm Eunice the housing that they were in blew away.

Gillyanne:

Twice.

Jeremy:

Yes.

Gillyanne:

Costing us a lot of money actually.

Jeremy:

So we decided, because they were out on the back garden that we were going to undo all the fencing because at the moment the chickens are in lockdown.

Gillyanne:

Avian flu.

Jeremy:

Yup. We have to undo the fencing, get the chickens out move the coop into a safer place, much closer to the house and then put the fencing round again and hope that they will be all right. And that this Storm Eunice won't actually pick the coop up.

Gillyanne:

All in the howling wind and the driving rain. And I think it's well, we had to stop and think, what can we control? In this situation, that's going to be comfortable for usand that's going to keep our hens safe and all the rest of it and still demonstrate responsibility.

Jeremy:

In a way the theme for this week is around what can you control and what can't you control.

Gillyanne:

Do you know what Jeremy I think you're much better at responding to the need for change than I am. I'm a bit crap at aren't I? We've got to admit...

Jeremy:

Gillyanne is like a train on tracks. Once she gets an idea she's on the tracks and it takes some really serious stuff to get her off that track.

Gillyanne:

Yeah, I kind see my path. I have a vision and off I go towards that vision. And I don't like, sometimes I'm bad at my own flight correction because of that actually. So it's a really useful bit of information, but you are much better at managing change and that's one of the things that. Maybe it's come out of you being a collaborative pianist or maybe it's why you're such a good collaborative pianist.

Jeremy:

I think it's a bit of both. I'm not good with different types of change, sometimes change will really stymie me, but on the whole, as a musician, I am so used to working with other people and I'm so used to somebody bringing in a piece or a song. And actually when I'm doing, when I'm teaching in my studio, three people in a row could bring the same song in, but because they bring themselves with that song, it's that singer in the room that I'm working with. And it, therefore that will change the way the song works. And if it changes the way the song works, I have to change what I'm doing on the piano, because I want to join in and reflect and support and co-create with that person. And if I'm doing the same thing every time, I'm not co-creating with that person, I'm reproducing. So I'm used to it with anything I do musically,

Gillyanne:

so Jeremy, what's the focus of this week.

Jeremy:

Okay. The focus of this week comes from a situation that many singers will find themselves in the theme of the week for February the 21st long pause, plus a closeup of a singer biting her lip and crossing her fingers, hoping that we can help her with her next challenge, exams, auditions, and competitions. And this is webinar 5 on judged performance. Wonderful. So Gillyanne we'll see you later. Exams, auditions and competitions. You're in a challenging situation as a singer. What can you do? And what can't you do? Webinars five exams, auditions and competitions looks at judged performances. And while you can't set your own targets and us, you know what the job is, we both work with actors and singers, musical theater at classical CCM, and we noticed how many great performers were freaked out by judged performances. This inspired us to write a book on auditioning 20 years ago. And eight years later, we put webinar five together for teachers and performance and added some of our top techniques developed over the years. And in 2021, we added webinar five to the online Learning Lounge for you to access straight away, exams, auditions, and competitions. Did you know, they're all different. Use my checklist from webinar five to check the purpose of different judged performances. It'll change the way you do them. What is it for? Okay. If you can understand the purpose of the event, it's going to help you to set your goals, choose your strategies for dealing with nerves. And the best possible way it change your thinking. So we're going to talk about what each event is for what its purposes. You can't set your targets and your goals, unless you know what the purpose is. And actually there are different sort of purposes for different types of auditions. And as Jeremy said, it also helps you once you know, what the event is for. It helps you to control your psychological response. There's something quite interesting about a performance in general, in that it has two parties, the performer and the audience. If the audience isn't there, it's just a rehearsal. So the audience brings something themselves. The audience usually wants to enjoy the performance. That is the general trend, but in exams, competitions and auditions, you have to rely less on the audience because they are there doing a job, but that's the examiner or the panel. So your mental focus becomes more important and your focus needs to be task-dependent. yeah, you're very reliant on yourself. Aren't you Jeremy, in this kind of situation, because of something that we're going to talk about later, which is the lack of interaction often, and the lack of feedback from a judged performance when you're actually doing. We're going to launch straight in with quite a complex chart, but I thought it was just because there's so much information in it. I thought it was the best way of doing it. So there you go. What is it for? And then you have the exam, the competition, or the audition. And then these are some of the reasons that we came up with not going to spend a lot of time on it, but what is interesting if we just take the first couple is it to reach a standard. For an exam. Yes, it is because, I'm, I want my grade eight or I want to know that I've done my grade six or whatever. Do you reach a standard in a competition? No, because you actually already need to be that standard. And do you reach a standard in an audition and that's the name? That's a, maybe mostly auditions are not about measuring whether you've reached a standard or not, but occasionally they are. And then go on to the next one. Get feedback in an exam. Yes, you do. Because you got to report. In a competition. Yes. Maybe you sometimes get a report, sometimes you don't. I would just like to drop in. I did a competition years ago after I left college, I just won the Britten Pears international piano competition. As the accompanist and I went to do a competition in Ilkley doing a singing competition, I was playing for a singer and my report sheet from the examiner had three words on it, boring and unimaginative. And my reaction to that was you have no idea what you're talking about. And can I just say again about feedback and this applies really to auditions, you may well find that the panel nod and smile and appear to be really enjoying what you're doing, but you don't get called back. And that's not because they're, meanies, it's actually, because they're doing a different kind of job. Can I also just point out that when we're looking at auditions, there are only two why's that which are get the job place, role, be seen and be seen. it is interesting that there's always a lot of nos in the auditions. You don't do an audition to get feedback. You don't do it to get a prize. You don't do to get publicity. You don't do it to measure yourself against others. It's interesting when you start reading these columns downwards, what, in fact, the purpose becomes. Not all judged performances are the same. There are different goals, different outcomes, and therefore you need different techniques to deal with them. Knowing the goals of each type of judged performance puts you back in control, check out my chart. Got a judged performance coming up, exam audition competition. What is it for? Okay. If you can understand the purpose of the event, it's going to help you to set your goals, choose your strategies for dealing with nerves And the best possible way it change your thinking. So we're going to talk about what each event is for what its purposes. You can't set your targets and your goals, unless you know what the purpose is. And actually there are different sort of purposes for different types of auditions. And as Jeremy said, it also helps you once you know, what the event is for. It helps you to control your psychological response. There's something quite interesting about a performance in general, in that it has two parties, the performer and the. audience If the audience isn't there, it's just a rehearsal. So the audience brings something themselves. The audience usually wants to enjoy the performance. That is the general trend, but in exams, competitions and auditions, you have to rely less on the audience because they are, there doing a job, but that's the examiner or the. panel So your mental focus becomes more important and your focus needs to be, task-dependent yeah, you're very reliant on yourself. Aren't you Jeremy, in this kind of situation, because of something that we're going to talk about later, which is the lack of interaction often, and the lack of feedback from a judged performance when you're actually doing. We're going to launch straight in with quite a complex chart, but I thought it was just because there's so much information in it. I thought it was the best way of doing it. So there you go. What is it for? And then you have the exam, the competition, or the audition. And then these are some of the reasons that we came up with and it's we're actually going to send you a copy of this because it's so dense. We're not going to spend a lot of time on it, but what is interesting if we just take the first couple is it to reach a standard. For an exam. Yes, it is because, I'm, I want my grade eight or I want to know that I've done my grade six or whatever. Do you reach a standard in a competition? No, because you actually already need to be that standard. And do you reach a standard in an audition and that's the name? That's a, maybe mostly auditions are not about measuring whether you've reached a standard or not, but occasionally they are. And then go on to the next one. Get feedback in an exam. Yes, you do. Because you got to report. In a competition. Yes. Maybe you sometimes get a report, sometimes you don't. I would just like to drop in. I did a competition years ago after I left college, I just won the Britten Pears international piano competition. As the accompanist and I went to do a competition in Ilkley doing a singing competition, I was playing for a singer and my report sheet from the examiner had three words on it, boring and unimaginative And my reaction to that was you have no idea what you're talking about. And can I just say again about feedback and this applies really to auditions, you may well find that the panel nod and smile and appear to be really enjoying what you're doing, but you don't get called back. And that's not because they're, meanies, it's actually, because they're doing a different kind of job. Can I also just point out that when we're looking at auditions, there are only two why's that which are get the job place, role, be seen and be seen. So it is interesting that there's always a lot of nos in the auditions. You don't do an audition to get feedback. You don't do it to get a prize. You don't do to get publicity. You don't do it to measure yourself against others. It's interesting when you start reading these columns downwards, what, in fact, the purpose becomes. Here's a list of things you can do to control the situation and a neat trick you can use to help you deal with the judges is involves angry birds. We say the same thing. Every time, practice, everything. That means walking in saying, hello, setting your tempo with the pianist, introducing your songs and not getting phased. If the judges ignore you, I created this angry birds exercise from experiencing thousands of auditions in the west end. Duetting with a stranger? You've practiced everything. The song, you know how the audition is going to go. Then you meet the pianist on stage. How can you take control? I have some advice. Did you know that when you're nervous, you will nearly always give her a faster tempo. And if the pianist isn't paying attention to you, when you start to sing, you're stuck with it. How do you give them the information they need to help you do your best? I've got decades of experience dealing with singers songs, and tempi - the one you want, and the one you give. In webinar five, I'm going to show you how you do it. Okay. And I'm just the first big one that we talked about in your issues, which is dealing with the pianist.

Gillyanne:

Now, Jeremy is not taking this personally in any way, shape or form. Some of you, again, will know that I think he's a veteran of something like eight and a half thousand auditions, not auditions that he took part in himself, but in which he was accompanying people. So he really knows a lot about how you need to deal with a pianist.

Jeremy:

Yes. And I want to separate thing between two different sections. Do you want him with a stranger, which is what I did mostly when I was doing audition pianist for various shows or working with someone, normally when you're doing an exam, you have at least rehearsed with somebody that so it's a slightly different situation. Therefore requires a different solution. If you were you with a stranger, obviously you get no chance to rehearse at all. So there are certain preparations that you can do that are in your power. Practice beforehand. And this is you practicing beforehand. Learn to give the speed or feel that you want. This is really important. So many people when they give a speed to appear nice, actually don't give the speed that they're going to do. And my advice is don't sing the first four bars or the first four bars of the chorus. Almost every singer I work with tends to settle into a speed about eight bars. So the advice is to sing to yourself find the bars that have the most notes or the most words, because those are the ones that you will know have fast. They are, and sing those to yourself to get the speed and the feel. And by the way, if you sing under your breath, you'll likely to sing faster. So just be aware of that. I call it map reading is, I want you to start here. I want you to do this repeat. And then the second time by you go to here and there are several songs which are really bad examples of that, where you have to start at the beginning, you do three goes round, and then you jump to the second time bar, then back to the first, then to the third, then back to the beginning and then to the coda. Your map reading has to be really clearly marked. And the idea is you can point it out in 10 seconds, 10 seconds or less. That really keeps things focused. And again, School of the Obvious, remove any other markings from the music. If you've borrowed a copy from somebody else, take all their markings out. As a sight reading pianist, I will read everything that is written. And if somebody has put a pause in that you don't do, I'm going to do it.

Gillyanne:

And it's particularly important if someone else has done it in a different key and they put the chord symbols above each bar. Mistake.

Jeremy:

Because I will read them. Okay. That's the sort of background. Those are the concerts, that's the overview. We're not going to go onto the tools and this is the real meat of this webinar and we have three great tools and then the cycle of nerves, which is absolutely fascinating. So setting goals, carrying your space with you, answers on a postcard and the cycle of nerves. And I have more details in the book. Why do I need a vocal coach? Check that out too. You're in for judged performance exam audition competition, and you're nervous. How can you control the performance space and get yourself feeling more comfortable? We share techniques for owning the space, even if you've just arrived. This is one of the hidden gems in Webinar 5. Maybe the performance space isn't all you'd expected. It's a shoe box. It's a barn. It's public. How can you own the space if someone else has just sung in it? Check out why this surprising "carrying your space around with you" list of techniques is relevant. Furniture scenery, whether in indoors, outdoors, alone, or with someone, the performance bubble, which way are you facing camera technique, this place is MINE. All of these are techniques that we talk about in webinar five in the Learning Lounge right now. And why don't you hop over to the this is a voice podcast to listen to an extended version of this golden nuggets plus our inspiration of the week. You can discover why we talk about chickens and wind, what we can and can't control and which book and podcast we've enjoyed on happiness. And let's face it. We need some happiness in the world. Right, Now. So Gillyanne's back. Can we talk about something that really inspired us, that we'd like to share with others, because it feels really relevant for this particular podcast. And it's very much along the theme of what can you control and what can't you control. And we both watched Steve Bartlett's diary of a CEO on YouTube and he was interviewing Mo Gawdat. Now I'm just going to call Mo Gawdat The Happiness Guy. And if you haven't come across him, you really need to, he's written a book called Solve For Happy. And then it has created an algorithm for happiness and it's particularly good. We haven't got through the whole book yet. I have it. But we watched the podcast and it's so good. And in fact, we've started to do some of that already. We were doing some of that already, which really surprised me and knowing what you can control and what you can't.

Gillyanne:

And I, in fact, I've written down Jeremy, a few read these three points out, I've written down these the algorithm, if you like on a little prompt card that I keep in my personal journal, just as a reminder,

Jeremy:

now I'm paraphrasing this, but essentially there are three questions that you ask your self when something happens, which is it true? Is it really happening to you or is it just your opinion of what's happening? And the second question is, can I do anything? Can I do anything about it? Can I do anything to solve? And the third question is if I can't, can I accept it and move on with my life? And then. So those questions are really simple, but they are so profound because it really does say what control do I have in this situation? And I will take control of anything that I have control of, and I can't take control of anything I don't have control of I might as well stop trying.

Gillyanne:

Are you able to move on with your life regardless? Are there things that you can do to simply carry on being you? And I think, I just think it's enormously practical and it's a little bit challenging as well. There's levels in which we are actually responsible for our own happiness as a response. And that can be quite challenging for people to watch and listen to for all sorts of situations,

Jeremy:

There's a couple of places where Steve says, oh, we just lost 8% of the audience.

Gillyanne:

Hope you're still here people.

Jeremy:

Yeah. I want to share a story because this was really the first time that I got the idea that I was in a situation where I couldn't do anything, even though I was still trying. And it was when I was at music college and I would probably be about 18 or 19. And I was sat on the bus, going to college and I was getting I'm late for this lesson. And I hate being late for anything. I'm not sure to be early than late. And if I wish this bus would go faster and I could feel myself almost trying to make the bus move faster. And I suddenly went why am I doing this? Me getting uptight and me trying to expend the energy, me trying to be, whatever I'm doing in this situation is going to make absolutely no difference whatsoever to how fast this bus goes. So why am I doing it? And it was such a clear thought and it's pretty good for an 18 year old was such a pretty clear thought. I can stop doing this and I can actually sit on the backseat and go, you're going to be late. There's nothing you can do about it. Just accept it.

Gillyanne:

That has served you very well in your professional career as a collaborative pianist, because you've been traveling all over the country and you had 10 years when you didn't drive. So you had to go by public transport and you were often late. Yes. Not through your own fault. You went on and you did the performance. So that's the key thing, isn't it? That mindset allowed you to still go and perform rather than going in, completely wound up angry, frustrated and that impacting on your playing.

Jeremy:

There was one glorious moment. When we were doing a concert and I was traveling from London to the Southwest of England, the far Southwest tip of England, and I booked the train ticket and I booked the seat on the train and I had all the reservations and everything, and I got to the station and they went, oh, that train doesn't run. And what you mean is canceled. So they know it doesn't run. It was canceled five years. And I went, but they've sold me a ticket to get on that train. And someone's meeting me at the station to drive me another 30 miles to the venue.

Gillyanne:

I remember this, I remember you calling me and telling me,

Jeremy:

I know I was in such a panic and it was actually very good because the person that I was working with, I rang them and I said, this is a real problem. And they said, don't worry, Somebody else is coming down by car, get a train to wherever you can intercept them on their journey and they will pick you up and carry one. And I think I went to somewhere that was about 100, no 50 something miles further, further north field, closest to London. And they just picked me up and we carried on then. And that's actually, once the as soon as I knew that what can I do? What can I do? How can I get to this concert? Cause I need to be there. And as soon as we'd worked that out, I went, oh, good. It doesn't matter if we don't get there completely on time because they can't start the concert without me, I'm playing the piano. So that was a really interesting example of what is essentially a catastrophic event where you go, what can I do about it? Okay. We can change trains. We can do this form a plan. And then once you've got the plan in place, relax.

Gillyanne:

I'm still impressed hearing that story. I was at the time and yet, I thought you were all amazing the way you handled it.

Jeremy:

So the golden rule is find what you can control and do something about it and release what you can't.

Gillyanne:

Sounds good to me! This is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.