We can all wish for different educational experiences. However, that is not how it works in this world. We choose experiences before we know what we actually need. We get into the middle of degrees, training programs, and certificates before we realize we would have been better suited somewhere else taking those underwater basket weaving electives. Regardless of the teachers and coaches with whom you surround yourself, you will not know what questions to ask until your needs become painfully obvious to you. In the youth-obsessed diva life, the realization of what you really need as an artist too often happens after you’ve aged-out of the opportunities that can give it to you. Buckle your seat belts, lovelies, it’s about to get real.
Your 29 Days to Diva – Day 4 Challenge is to Build Your Own Diva School
Graduate school, pay-to-sings, and young artist programs are not one-size-fits-all. They are one-size-fits-most. Those programs, like 29 Days to Diva, are there as motivators to get you to take the next step toward what you need. They are idea catalysts. Think back to your most recent educational experience. What was the light-bulb moment there? Did you learn some new way to prepare a score? Did you gain insight on how to be more effective on stage? Did you realize there are people actually living the life you want? That’s a very powerful idea right there.
If you sign up for a training program because you think it’s going to gift you a career, you are delusional. Not even Lindemann or Merola can guarantee you that if you do not act on the information. Will it get you in the room with the connections that can have a positive impact on your life? Yes. Will you gain an incredible amount of knowledge from extraordinary mentors in the musical world? Yes. Will it guarantee a career? Dream on, little diva. It’s what you do with that information, the continued challenges you take on, and your ability to connect with decision makers in your field that will build your career.
The people who are most able to do this are proactive questioners. They have taught themselves to open their minds and wonder. It is about teaching yourself to ask bigger, unsettling, even disruptive questions about what you do not know. Most of us do this once we have left the academic setting. Boy, do we do it in a hurry. “I want to win a grant. How do I even apply for a grant?” Better learn this in a hurry. “I want to make a recording. How do I make a recording?” Better learn that in a hurry. You get the picture. Let the chorus be raised, “wow, I really wish they would have taught me this in school.” Chances are a lot of this information was available to you in your educational setting. You just didn’t know you needed it or how to get it.
Developing this questioning mindset will help you find/recognize all of the vast resources around you. It really is staggering when you open your eyes to it. It will make you aware of what you need to know and the first steps of where to find it. This questioning mindset will serve you once you’ve figured out the rules of your circumstances and it even works concurrently to learning those rules.
Your action item for the day is to look ahead at what you assume to be the next step of your career.
I want you to not only wonder, “how can I achieve that?” But push yourself further to ask, “what skills, aptitudes, or knowledge can I develop and bring to that experience to transform it?” For example, let’s assume that the very next step of your career is an elite young artist program. What can you learn between now and audition season about repertoire selection for auditions, about persuasive and confident body language in high pressure situations, about highlighting technical skill in brief meetings? Just to name a few jumping off points. Think about the situation you want and how you can provide that transformation to everyone else in the room. It’s not just about, “wow, she really came to play” anymore. It’s about making them say, “that just changed me.”
It is not the intention of this post to make you “wait” longer between education and implementation. It is a call to action to put yourself in both minds at the same time. Don’t let your various experiences apply their strategy to you. Absorb their strategy and see where it fits with your own. No more, “wow, I really wish they would have taught me this in school.” You’re ready to learn it and apply it now. You’re in a constant state of developing your own diva school.
Get Social with Me!
Wanna hang out on social media? You’ll find me all over the place on my Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. To follow along with what others are saying about the challenges this month, just check out #29DaystoDiva or #29DTD.
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