Sometimes it seems like there are not a lot of things to do when your performance schedule is light. After all, there’s only so many times you can refresh your audition package. Plus, if work is slow, you might find that you don’t want to spend the money on extra coachings and lessons. In other words, not having work can feel pretty bleak.
Now, I’m not telling you to not go to your coachings or lessons. However, you may feel more motivated if there’s work you can do that doesn’t take too much money out of your pocket and will enhance your performance credentials in other ways. Hopefully, this list will get you started.
#1 Clean out and organize your email
Once those role offers and rehearsal schedules start flowing in, it’ll be great to find everything you need easily. You can organize folders a couple of ways and set up tags for each email as it comes in. This article will get you started.
And while you’re at it, why not add a signature to your emails? Many people already have this, but in case you don’t, now’s a great time to add it. I recommend keeping it super simple. Your name, contact information, and maybe your voice type are all you need. Ideally, you’ll also keep it in a similar style to your website by using the same font.
#2 Update your website
Have any roles to add to your resume and bio? Did you get new headshots? Just want to make your website prettier and more user-friendly? Now’s a great time to do that!
Don’t have a website? Now’s a great time to get one! You can buy your domain name at Namecheap instantly at a low cost, and then find hosting at any number of sites. Personally, I use HostGator, but I know many others who use Wix or SquareSpace.
#3 Read a great book about performance
Do you have a favorite singer that you find inspirational? How about a composer you always wanted to know more about? Maybe one of these non-music books that are still great for musicians? This is a great time to boost your knowledge, especially if you are working on something in particular (we’ll get to this more in point #6)
#4 Boost your language skills
There’s always more work you can do with languages. Especially if you are working on repertoire in a certain language or hope to work in a certain country, having more knowledge of that language before you take the big leap can be extremely helpful.
It doesn’t have to be super expensive either. Get on Duolingo. Check out some books from the library. Watch YouTube videos in your target language. Translate some easy poetry. Find a Skype buddy. And here are 6 other ways you can affordably learn a language.
#5 Listen to a new opera
Nothing will get you more revved up than discovering new repertoire you can sing. Especially if you’re opera-focused, get a score from the library, from Classical Vocal Reprints, or maybe pull out one you own but have never looked at before. Then, find a great video or audio recording of it, maybe from the Met HD player or from Spotify (maybe even YouTube if you’re lucky), and get listening! And maybe if it goes really well, you’ll be able to move on to #6.
#6 Learn a new role
So you may not have been casted for a role anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn one! Even learning a role on your own is resume worthy (as long as you note it as a learned role). And if you need help with learning new vocal repertoire, let this course help you out.
#7 Update others on your recent events or work
Have some colleagues you want to keep in the loop? Want your friends to know what you’re doing? It can be hard to reach out to others when you think you don’t have a lot going on. That’s not true though! As you can see, you already have six new things you’re doing.
Okay, so maybe you don’t want to update your last opera director on how clean your email is now, but there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I recently discovered X opera and therefore have begun working on Y role.” Your social media followers will probably be happy to hear it at the very least, and it’ll demonstrate to your colleagues that you have the work ethic to always do more.
#8 Periscope your rehearsal
Alright, Periscope is relatively new, so if you don’t know what it is, check out my post on Periscope here.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you to release your blooper reel to the world. However, I believe that Periscope could be a game changer for performers. In essence, you can get experience performing in front of others right in your own home. Doing this might even get you more followers who come to your paid performances once the gigs start rolling in again (Just note that if you want to do this at home, turn off your location services for your safety).
#9 Sing just for you
It can be frustrating sometimes to use your voice just for work and for others. As a result, it can be difficult to tune in to the love of music that brought you down this career path in the first place. If your performance schedule is light, this is a great time to reconnect with your voice. Have a dream aria you’ve always wanted to work on? Go for it! Want to bust out some jazz or musical theater? Why not? Maybe you want to play around on some other instruments? Yes and yes!
Taking the time to reconnect to your voice can be so powerful, especially if you’ve been feeling discouraged. Furthermore, you might build some more technical skills. Don’t let this be the goal though. The point of this is not to practice. You do so much of that already, I’m sure. The point of this is to build your voice spiritually.
#10 Chat with other singers
The other thing that can be hard about a light performance schedule is the disconnect between you and other performers. It’s hard feeling like you’re the only one going through this, especially when we’re saturated with others saying how well they’re doing.
I promise you, you are not alone. There are plenty of other singers going through the same thing. Reach out to some of them. Maybe even develop projects of your own with them. Check out your immediate friend circle, reach out on social media, or join an online group just for classical singers. There’s a wide variety of them. Many of them are closed groups to weed out singers from non-singers, so if you want to be added to one, please feel free to contact me and let me know. I’d be so happy to help you out!
I don’t know about you, but I already feel more productive just reading this list! There’s no particular order to these suggestions, so if you find that one or two are sticking out to you more, go for it.
What do you do when your performance schedule is light? Have you ever done anything that directly helped your work prospects, especially in an indirect way? If it occurs to you to do something not on this list, then let us all know. I would certainly love more suggestions!
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