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Allergy & Cold Remedies for Singers

I know that it's only 3 days away from the Summer Solstice, but I have had my first experience this year of just how terrible seasonal allergies and a subsequent summer cold can be, so I have compiled this list of tips on getting back to normal when in the throes of a cold or allergies.

The advice comes from many colleagues and friends (thank you!) as well as my own experience. I hope it can serve as a reference (which might be handy to bookmark for cold season!) and if you're suffering currently, I wish you a speedy and complete recovery! :)

Over-the-Counter Medicines:

Claritin/Allegra/Xyzal: doctors say that Claritin is the mildest anti-allergy medicine (in pill form) and Allegra is the next strongest, followed by Xyzal, which is the strongest. I've not tried any of these so I cannot speak to their effectiveness.

Flonase: over the counter nasal spray which is a synthetic steroid and supposedly helps with decongestion. My disclaimer: when I used it once before going to…
Recent posts

Singing Sustainably

This evening I saw a very thought-provoking film called "Farming in the Millstone Valley" which was about the Farm-to-Table movement and how it helps farming in this region of New Jersey to be sustainable. This means that the farmers who are farming here are making enough money to live on, so that they can offer healthy and organic alternatives, even when their largest competitors are large grocery store chains.

Afterward I got to thinking about how this same concept might apply to living life as a singer and I had some realizations that I'd like to share with you.

There are many ways that singers can live their lives more sustainably, which in turn will help their wallets, time management, and overall productivity.

The following is a list that I came up with as a starting point, though I am sure that there are many ways which I'm not yet aware of that you can boost your productivity while still caring for the earth, your community, and your bottom line. Therefore, …

Teaching Others: A Matter of Trust and Self-Evaluation

Lately I've been running into people who are extremely knowledgable and whose technique is excellent but yet- they don't trust themselves teaching what they know to others. This makes me totally beside myself and disappointed. Now I know that many of you reading this might be thinking at this juncture that not everyone is a good teacher; but I'd argue against that theory and here's just a few reasons why.

First off, when it comes to making music (and that's what I'm talking about here because it's always what I'm talking about, lol) you should at least have a vague idea of how to teach someone some of the basics of what you do, simply because as a musician you've surely had at least a gazillion lessons in your lifetime (okay, minus those of you who were automatically gifted by some freak of nature- I say congratulations to you and also, you better not rub that in when confronted with the rest of us who had to work hard to get where we are). So, the…

Yoga and Singing: A Perfect Match

I write to you all after having just finished watching the movie titled "Awake: the Life of Yogananda". I have been profoundly impacted by this film and its interconnectedness to singing. More specifically, I was delighted, although somehow not surprised, to see that Amelita Galli-Curci, a very famous Italian opera singer in the early 1900's, was a visitor to Swami Yogananda's school in Los Angeles, California. The film shows that his teachings completely changed her approach to her own singing and benefited her not only psychologically but also heightened and improved her vocal abilities. This doesn't surprise me because I believe, as a singer, that we are drawn to discovering life's deep truths. We singers are called to tell stories that can uncover pathways into opening the hearts and minds of our listeners in order to positively change them and their views on life and their fellow human beings. When you sing for a living, you are inextricably bound to de…

Dissecting Vocal Technique: "O zittre nicht" sung by Christina Deutekom

This morning I was confronted with a video on Facebook that was posted by a fellow singer who was fascinated by the vocalism in the video and didn't really know exactly technically what was going on, so I decided to break it down in this blog post, because I think it's worth discussing how much tastes and vocal technical practice has changed in the past 49 years, since Christina Deutekom sang the role and was acclaimed by the New York Times (according to this Wikipedia biography of her) as being 'the greatest Queen of the Night of our time'.
Here's the video: 

So- I sing this piece- and have been studying it and singing it for 4 years now-just so you know where my thoughts are coming from- and from a technical perspective this recording to me is all over the place. In the recitative she changes the text (at "ja schuldlos" and "dies tief" which at the time she was singing was normal- in fact people here in Germany have even suggested that I do that…

HOW-TO: Choose Music for a Solo Recital

I think it's safe to say that all of us Singers will have to sing a Solo Recital at some point or another. Which, just to be specific, is a concert where the singer performs a bunch of songs with piano accompaniment for about an hour to an hour and a half, max. That's the traditional Solo Recital, hence calling it "Solo", because the Singer is the main performer and it's basically a showcase of their singing abilities.There are, of course, other variations on the traditional Recital theme, where you collaborate with other Musicians- either Instrumentalists or Singers or both- and one singer is not the sole focus of the event. This is sometimes called a Collaborative Recital (but some people refer to a Solo Recital as a Collaborative Recital too- so just note, these terms are flexible), and is also a common type of performance which you'll see just as often as Solo Recitals.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog post, and the most exciting part of any R…

Why LA LA Land is Dystopian, and what the National Endowment for the Arts and Ending the "Gig Ecomony" can do to fix it

Like many of you, I went to the movie theaters a few months ago to see the movie "La La Land" because of all the rave reviews it was receiving from critics. As you can imagine if you've also seen the film and are a working Performing Artist, I was pretty angry at the predictability of the movie's plot, and their insensitive and narrow-minded presentation of an Artist's life and options they have. And, then coincidentally, my issues with La La Land were summed up, in a masterful blog post that I happened to stumble upon last week written by Linda Essig, who is the Director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, and if you're curious to read her thoughtful words, you can click here to see her post.

Basically, what she says is what I was feeling right after seeing the film. Why does life's trajectory always get over simplified to two distinct and different choices for an Ar…