- a person or thing that begins
- a person who has begun a course of instruction or is learning the fundamentals: swimming for beginners
- a person who is inexperienced; novice.
Today is the beginning of something really, really cool. Maybe even the beginning and the reason, why I even got the idea of coming to New York in the first place. I am starting my five weeks Actors Therapy course, with Lindsay Mendez and Ryan Scott Oliver. I can not belive it. I have been fans of Lindsay Mendez for so long. And now she is going to teach me. I do not care, if she is going to hate everything I am doing. I mean, Lindsay Mendez is maybe going to hate everything I am doing – I feel so privileged. Not to forget, the fact that I am actually getting to know Ryan too. This morning, my first task flew into my e-mail; to fill out the Actors Therapy Diagnostic Survey. “During these five weeks we are going to challenge you” they wrote. But first they need to diagnose me, to know what to fix. Cool, I thought – bring it on.
Name, nationality? (ok, that is easy). Do I live in New York now? (may I answer yes to this – even if it is only for a short while?). Age? – you can put a range if you want to (range – why do people put that? do they want to be older? younger? and what would my age range anyway? in my thirties? 35 to 40? category of playing a mom?) Where did you hear about us? (hm, maybe from the fact, that I am like stalking Lindsay Mendez on the internett, like all the time?).
Ok, not so bad – let us continue:
Me as an performer. On average you audition how many times a month during normal periods? (none, never has done, they actually scares the sh***t out of me. can I write shit on the internet?) Rate your personal motivation on a scale of 1-10, 1 being “Laziest Mofo is me” and 10 being “No one works hard than I do.” (well, I would say my work ethics are pretty high, I think I will give myself an nine on this one actually – if it wasn’t for the fact that it is quite hard to practice in New York, I am not that good on finding songs either- and I hate doing vocal scales for hours – ok, maybe 7 then). What are some upcoming auditions you’re preparing for? 1. (nope) 2. (nope) 3. (nope) Not preparing for auditions? Why? (as I said, they scare the ***** out of me…) Dream roles you could play now or within the next five years: 1. (Elfie in Dreamgirls? – no, not sassy enough) 2. (Elphaba in Wicked? – hm, probably too old) 3. (Kristina in Kristina från Duvamåla – yeah right, if I ever would get the emotional life for singing that).
At this time I was really starting to sweat my pants off – I really had no clue how to answer this question. How well do you dance, 10 being dance captain, 1-10? (2). Do you take dance class weekly? nope (oh gosh, sweating even more by now). I really almost gave up. Then I turned the page, and they ask me: What’s in your book? My book? What book? I reached out to my new voice teacher in NY. She tells me to go and buy a binder. With plastic protections. The non – glossy ones, otherwise the pianist cannot read the music. My book should be a three inches ring binder that is not too big, but also not too small (for those Norwegian people counting in cm, a three inch binder is a BIG binder!). She tells me the music should be organized by section or alphabetically, or anyway I want actually, as long as there is a method in the madness. And in this binder, I should put all the music I have audition ready. I really want to scream at her, I DON’T DO auditions. But I recognize my inner demolition devil – and thank her politely, and remind myself that I am actually here in New York on a voluntary basis. Then I take out all the sheet music I have with me, and ask my best friend mr Google for advice and he answers me, also politely, that this is the music you need, for having a audition book to be proud of:
- Contemporary musical theatre – uptempo and ballad
- Classical musical theatre – uptempo and ballad
- Pop/Rock/Country – a mix of two or three pieces showing off pop vocal styling
- Jazz – consider having a blues piece as well as an uptempo jazz song depending on your vocal abilities
- Go-To Pieces- these should be your two most polished 32-bar cuts, usually an uptempo and a ballad
- Comedic – one or two pieces that you know are funny, whether it be the writing or the way you are performing the piece
- Disney – Disney songs have a very specific feel and vocal styling, if you’re going to audition for a Disney show you should have one in your book*
(* thank you to New York Film Academy for letting me steel this list…)
I look at my sheet music and discover I have eight pieces of contemporary music theatre with me – all that has kind of a medium style swing to it. Ok – breathe now. Let’s find out what I really should prepare for todays first lesson. Each week of class, you should come dressed as if dressing for an audition (here we go again with the sweating stuff) If it’s an audition for a general casting session, come in dressed as YOU on your best day (breathe again, ok – I can do that). For this class, we ask that you please prepare two 32 bar cuts that show your range as an actor and singer. And this is when it really hits me – I am a beginner. I do not even know what a 32 bar cut of a song is – how to choose it, or how to perform it. Is it a piece of it’s own – or should you exactly sing it as it would be in the full song?
Until now, I think I thought, that I really could rely on everything else I know about music. Now, I know, I can not. I must accept I am a beginner, a person who begins. I will wear my best shoes – as it was my first day of school, and I will not perform or audition – I will begin – and I will learn. A beginner.
PS! I am off to class – and I am not sweating anymore – the act of surrender has a calm beauty-ness to it, and to tell the truth, off course there was some good answers to my diagnostic sheet as well: Brainstorm some strengths as a performer: I rely deeply on musicality, and I feel very creative when it comes to singing – I have also performed so much that I really love and appreciate the connection with the audience – and it tickles all down my spine, when I think of all the wonderful music, I am going to sing over the next weeks!
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