You Booked The Job!…Now What?!?
9 Essential Steps To Preparing for a Role and Maintaining Vocal Health Throughout the Run of a Show
The day you’ve been waiting for has arrived! You nailed the audition, kept your cool through what seemed like an endless round of callbacks and finally got the call you’ve been waiting for. You booked the job. Congratulations!
After you’ve finished your obligatory happy dance and called your nearest and dearest who’ve been supporting you through this process, it may begin to hit you that you actually have to DO this now. You’ve got a ton of material you need to learn, you’ve got lifestyle preparations to make, and you may have to prepare to leave town- very likely at a moment’s notice . It’s exciting, a relief and anxiety inducing all at once. Many performers feel overwhelmed with the task at hand.
The following is a guideline of basic steps that you can take to prepare yourself for success in the run of your show while helping to maintain your vocal health along with your general well being.
1. RESEARCH: Begin to do your homework uncovering the world of the show and your character. You may have already scratched the surface in the audition process. Now is your opportunity to find out as much as you can and use your creativity as well. Try to uncover the details of where the piece is taking place, the time period, important events of the day, how people interacted and so forth. The more you can understand the world of the show going in, the easier it will be for you make strong and creative decisions in the rehearsal process.
2. NOTE BY NOTE: Get a hold of the score and script ASAP . You’ll want to go through the score and first identify any specific challenges you may want to work through with your teacher. Begin to figure out sustainable approaches to any challenging sections and make yourself familiar with the rest of the score. You’ll also want to take a look at the text and become aware of any moments that may be vocally or physically challenging there as well. Keep in mind that everything can change once you begin the rehearsal process such as vocal line designation and even entire songs and scenes being replaced. You want to go into the rehearsal full of information but ready to be malleable and open to new information.
3. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER: If it’s a revival – know what’s out there- know what’s been done. I’m not saying one needs to obsessively watch every performance of Gypsy that’s crossed the boards. I’m saying it’s a good idea to have some awareness of what’s come before. Have a knowledge of the work that’s been done on the piece and then see what you can bring to it to make it your own.
If it’s a new piece of work, try to become familiar with the teams previous work. Get a sense of their general sensibility. Seeing as you’ve booked the job, chances are you’ve already got a good sense of this. It can’t hurt to delve a little further and see what you can find.
4. PLANNING: Rehearsal can be the most challenging part of the process and it’s helpful to go in with some sort of game plan as to how you need to pace yourself. Decide in advance if you are going to try to keep up with your regular workout schedule during rehearsal or reduce it. Keep in mind that every body is different and has different requirements for rejuvenation. It’s important to be in tune with your body and have a strong sense of when it needs rest, when you are feeling vocally tired and what foods you can eat that will help to promote your well being , energy and focus through your rehearsal process. Come up with a solid game plan for work time, rest time, play time, homework and food prep going into the rehearsal process and make adjustments as you discover they are necessary.
5. ROUTINE: Once you’ve gotten through the rehearsal process, you will want to discover what routine works for you on a regular basis to maintain your health and well being throughout the run of your show. It can become tempting to fall into to some bad habits after the rigors of a challenging rehearsal process. Balance is an important key to keeping everything copacetic. Take the first few weeks of a run to ease into a routine that is going to keep you healthy and able to be at your best regularly and at the same time is fulfilling on a personal level. You can always make adjustments along the way as you discover the need for them.
6. WARM-UPS: Identify 3 specific set vocal and physical warm-ups that are great for this specific show that will prepare you for: 1. When you are under the weather 2. Feeling ok- it’s an average day and 3. Looking to challenge yourself. These are not the only warm-ups you will do while you are working on this show. However, it’s always helpful to have at least three tried and true warm-ups that you know you can turn to and that you feel confident will get you ready to go. Keep in mind these don’t need to be drastically different from one another, you may make some slight adjustments to your favorite warm-up for when you are under the weather or when you are feeling great and Voila!
7. CHECK-UP: Check in with your ENT before you start the rehearsal process. Assuming you have health insurance, this is a great opportunity for you to check in and be sure that you are starting the rehearsal process with a clean bill of health. If at any point you run into to difficulties either during rehearsal or the run of a show, it’s great for your ENT to have a record of what you looked like when you were healthy and perhaps be able to trace when your problems started to arise. In checking in with your ENT on a moderately regular basis you are also developing a relationship so that if an issue should develop at any point you are dealing with a doctor that you know and trust as opposed to someone whom you are meeting for the first time.
8. CHECK IN: Whether or not you are going to be in town, out of town or on the road ,set up a game plan for checking in with your voice teacher intermittently. That can mean weekly lessons , Skype or Facetime sessions, email correspondences or pop in lessons when you are in town. If you are not in town, you can also find out if there is someone in the area that your teacher would recommend working with as well as an ENT they may be aware of.
9. YOU DESERVE A BREAK: If you have the time and funds before the run-SCHEDULE YOURSELF A VACATION – you’ve earned it! Hoping and assuming your show is a hit, you may not get another break for a while. If you don’t have time for a vacation , try to reward yourself with something grounding like a massage, some meditation or even a nice bubble bath before you dig into the rehearsal process. You’ve worked very hard to achieve this and you owe yourself a pat on the back and a moment to take a breath and enjoy the victory.
Please feel free to make suggestions for other topics you would like us to explore in this blog, comment or ask any questions.
Co-Creator, The Broadway Warm-Up
A completely synchronized vocal and dance warm-up that can be completed in 30 minutes!