There are countless out-of-control-diva stories floating around the collective consciousness of our field. Hollywood is also rife with 15-minutes-away-from-obscurity actors and actresses trying out their worst behaviors for a smidgen of attention. While I probably do not need to tell you not to chuck your cell phone at someone’s face a-la Naomi Campbell; you may want to brush up on your everyday demeanor around your colleagues. The opera world needs professionals. We do not need to stoke the fires of stereotype.
Therefore, the day 12 challenge is to practice professionalism.
People are constantly observing your behavior and forming opinions of your work ethic, maturity, and commitment to the craft. Here are some tips to elevate your image in the rehearsal space and beyond.
- Dress appropriately for rehearsals. If you’re supposed to wear your character shoes – don’t forget them at home.
- Be on time always (half of success is showing up). Know the stage manager’s number so that you can call if there is a problem.
- Be proactive about learning.
- Learn about the company or series before you perform with them.
- Know your music and libretto before showing up to rehearsals.
- Be familiar with your colleague’s music so you can anticipate your entrances etc.
- Read other source materials for the show if possible so that you may bring more background knowledge to your character.
- Help market your performances. Use your social networking prowess to spread the word. The company will appreciate your efforts to bring in ticket sales.
- Don’t be too earnest. Observe the dynamics of the ensemble and try to go with the flow of rehearsals.
- Adaptability: be willing to change. Please do not be the person that goes on and on about what you did in your last production or what you did in your grad school.
- Do not wait until the last minute to let anyone know about problems with scheduling. Scheduling is a huge nightmare for administrators/directors. Do your best to avoid schedule conflicts.
- Successful people take responsibility when things are good and even when things aren’t so good.
- Do not bad mouth your colleagues. It often seems that this is incredibly difficult for many in the performing arts. It is more than acceptable to have opinions. It is not acceptable to be malicious and spiteful in this small, small world.
- Observe what your colleagues do successfully. Apply that knowledge to your own performance.
- Have a pencil and take notes throughout rehearsal. You will not be able to remember everything the director wants you to do. Even if you can, writing it down demonstrates that you are listening to the notes.
- In that same vein, practice your listening skills.
- Practice being quiet. Singers have a terrible propensity to talk through anything and everything. Show respect to your colleagues by being quiet when others are talking.
- If you do not understand a direction, ask a quick clarifying question.
- Follow through. It’s not enough to send an email or a fax; always confirm that important pieces of information were received.
- Be a stickler for spelling people’s names correctly and remembering names in rehearsal.
- Always bring your score and materials to rehearsal – even off-book rehearsals.
- Regardless of vocational or avocational status, musicians of all levels deserve your respect. You have not been chosen over someone else to follow this career path. You chose this career path.
- Silence your cell-phone when you enter the rehearsal space. Always.
- Give your best possible performance. Church choir? Give it your best. Tech rehearsal? Be high-quality. Back of the chorus? Take it as seriously as the leads.
Have a wonderful Sunday! Hope to see you tomorrow for more 29 Days to Diva (#29daystodiva). I appreciate you taking this short, month-long journey with me. I learn so much each time you comment. Please let me know in the comments below what you think are the keys to professionalism.
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