How To Love Yourself In 8 Counts of 8 and One Try

BWALPHA copyHoly Cow! We are sooo excited to introduce our newest guest blogger: the incredible Jesse Palmer from Motivated Movers! If you haven’t heard of Motivated Movers yet, boy are you in for a treat. They are an inspiring company that is all about creating a safe space for movers and dancers to create , explore and grow. We love it!  In this installment, Jesse will talk about how to leave your movement or dance call feeling great AND she will share a FREE 1 minute Audio Motivation EXCLUSIVELY to Broadway Warm-Up Blog Readers! How awesome is that?!? Read the blog , click on the link to get your FREE awesome motivation and check out Motivated Movers today  Y’all!

How to Love Yourself in 8 Counts of 8 and One Try
By: Jesse Palmer
Creative Director & Co-founder of Motivated Movers NYC LLC

There you are in your dance call, movement callback or in your nightmares (depending on how comfortable you are with movement). You’ve had 20 minutes to learn 8 counts of 8 of choreography… Run it a few times in large groups… Small groups… With the choreographer and without.

Now: it’s your turn to show them your stuff. Book that job. Do what you do best and show them how you love it.

In a blink of an eye: it’s done. And they say THANK YOU… Next group.

What?! Huh?! You forgot count 4 and then were late on count 5… But YOU KNOW COUNT 4!! Your heart is screaming,”PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE!!” Your brain is taunting “You know better”.

82nd Academy Awards, Dance AuditionsIn this reality of low employment, 6am sign ups, and contracts getting smaller and smaller, auditions are getting more and more crowded. This means that creative teams and casting directors don’t have time to give us that second chance we so desperately want.

Motivated Movers is all about empowering you to make confident and smart choices, SO
Here are 5 ways to help mentally prepare yourself before,during and after your audition to help you keep shuffling off to your next audition with confidence.

BEFORE:

Live-to-create-love-art1. Create art. Don’t book jobs.
What the what? This is a tough mindset to get yourself into, but dang, how good it feels when you are there! No matter why we are in this business, the base reason is: to create. See each audition as a chance to do what you love. Detach yourself from the expectation of booking work and revel in the process and creation of “something” in that 8 counts of 8 or 32 bars of a song.

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2. Mantra it out.We LOVE mantras at Motivated Movers. Having a little conversation in your head isn’t only for the slightly crazy people who you see on the train any longer! Here are a few we love:

 

* I am enough

*Breathe in joy and simply make a choice

* I am enough

* Breathe in joy and simply make a choice

* What is meant for me will not pass me.

If you can use these little triggers to get your mind in a better place– you are already walking into the room more willing, able, and open… All very castable qualities. CLICK HERE to get our special gift to the Broadway Warm-Up community. It’s a great tool to get you motivated for that next movers call!

d1x7RNHwlRJ7J9aRnmAEX06NsgbesvYDKWvIdfDV62c,fKwMAgdvhFAURCe1GKOST2PONj60y_G0J9MC8XetVms,x680lbzLhlEa_HEkbTS8m8S_uvt73CKvidm1w4W4fas3. Warm-up
(I know. I know. Here I am writing for BROADWAY WARM-UP and I am about to harp on the importance of warming up, BUT I only speak the truth! I promise they didn’t ask me to do this.. haha)
By choosing to start your day with the Broadway Warm-Up or getting that rehearsal room to run through material and/or your own form of mental/physical/emotional prep, you are setting yourself up for success! You have time to get your brain into the right mental frame, you are able to prepare your body and voice so that they are able to work to the best of their ability in that moment. Plus, you’ve already made sure that everything is in working order, so you can enter that room confident that you are at your best!

IN THE ROOM:

4. Create a sense of community– not competition.
Actors have a bad rap for being cut throat and crazy (pushing the lead down the stairs… sabotaging costumes… etc) but we all know that we aren’t THAT crazy….
I love to make eye contact with the choreographer and their assistants, answer them when they ask a question “Should we try it from the top?” Or “Anyone have questions?”. This makes me feel more at ease and comfortable, and they notice as well.
I also love to compliment people when their work or presence moves me. Now– I don’t mean you have to hand out compliments right and left. I mean when you see a great performance – tell someone.
Sizing others up and wishing others ill just makes for a toxic environment in the room and in your mind. Let’s try to quell that.

AFTERWARDS:

journal5. Write it out and LET.IT.GO.

I keep a journal with me at all auditions: On the train ride home,
I write:
•what I auditioned for
•who was in the room
•2 things I did well
•1 area of improvement

Then– I’m done with it. It’s off my back,and I am on to the next. Auditions are just job interviews. We don’t deserve to beat ourselves up all day about what we could have done better. We also have to be wary of pumping ourselves up too much when we think we do well. The journal helps me keep everything in perspective.

Now go out there and hit the ground running!

Follow these 5 easy steps and maybe you’ll even be able to embrace
Motivated Movers 3 favorite words in your next audition:
Love. Joy. Movement!

Motivated Movers is a contributor to The Broadway Warm-Up Blog

MotivatedMovers logoAbout Motivated Movers:
Motivated Movers is a unique mind/body dance program designed to create a safe space for beginner dancers to explore, express, create, and manifest empowerment as performing artists. It is our mission to motivate and educate movers within the musical theatre industry in a safe and positive space to set our students up for success for all auditions and artistic endeavors.​ We provide affordable, convenient dance classes, private coachings, goal coachings, and masterclasses, all ways for actors to hone their dance skills and evolve as artists. Our classes are theatre based, exploring fundamental jazz, ballet, and tap technique, take the time to break down steps and concepts at the pace our students needs, and pay close attention to the mind and emotions of a beginning dancer. For more go to www.motivatedmoversnyc.com.

JesseAbout Jesse:
Jesse is a Catholic University of America alum & Maryland native. As a performer and teacher, Jesse loves empowering others to find joy and abundance in their lives. Jesse resides in New York City as she is pursuing both a career in theater as well as choreography. For more about her, check out her website http://www.jessekpalmer.com. Do what you love. Love what you do.

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A completely synchronized vocal and dance warm-up for performers. 

Now Available on DVD!

www.broadwaywarmup.com

Snapshots of NOW: My Photo Shoot With Lululemon

 

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Another inspiring blog installment from Broadway Warm-Up monthly blog contributor Jessica Latshaw:

 

Snapshots of NOW: My Photo Shoot With Lululemon

UnknownTomorrow I am doing a photo shoot for the ambassadorship for Lululemon. If you don’t know, Lululemon is a fantastic clothing line for all things movement. With the hashtag, #TheSweatLife, they encourage people to live their best lives; to constantly be challenging themselves and working towards health–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. If there is a way to be healthy, they are for it. I am so happy to partner with them. I love their philosophy and their positivity and it’s an honor to be part of their team. And like I stated already: tomorrow morning is my photo shoot with them.

The ironic part is that right now, I have probably never felt less like being photographed in a tight tank top. You think about these moments in life; you imagine them being a certain way. I remember first walking into the Lululemon in Union Square and seeing a large poster-sized photo of a beautiful dancer/ instructor on the wall and literally thinking, I’d love to be on that wall someday.

That was a little less than two years ago.

Now it’s happening.

Now I get to be on the wall.

And now I am almost four months pregnant.

images-1 “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans,” is what John Lennon wisely said. You have plans–you should have plans, too–but they are not the obedient little children you thought you were raising. They are wild things, plans. They sometimes go their own way. And as the plans run the opposite way, you face something even more wild than the plans: the moment. And if you’re smart, and maybe a bit wild, too, you embrace it. You learn to let it lead in this dance, swaying and dipping to a music that is both wonderful and new and unlike anything you’ve heard before until now. Until this moment. And life is a lot of things, yes, but it is not boring and it is not predictable and it is probably better than what you’d originally conceived in a mind that is brilliant, yes! but a mind that cannot take in or consider all the elements of this glorious universe that, together, land in the same place. A place we call now. A place where the wise and daring ones live.

Unknown-1So tomorrow morning I will not be rocking my favorite crop top, as I would have just a few short months ago. Not this moment; for this is a different one than then. I don’t regret this baby growing inside of me for one second. I just never imagined that I’d be a pregnant girl on the wall of Lululemon. It is a vulnerable thing to pose without feeling perfect. But it is also an honest thing. And it is also an always thing. For we are kidding ourselves when we toss around the word perfect. It does not exist, really, in the realm of art and movement and individuality. There is excellence and there is vulnerability and there is you–and I would argue that those things, together, capture a heart and make one content to stop looking for perfection, for what they’ve found instead is far more captivating, anyway. So here goes embracing this moment. This beautiful, imperfect, vulnerable, new, never-before-seen, awesome, and pregnant moment.

 

 

img-26Jessica Latshaw is a monthly contributor for The Broadway Warm-Up Blog.  For more info on Jessica go to: www.jessicalatshawofficial.com 

 

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The Broadway Warm-Up: A completely synchronized vocal and dance warm-up for performers that can be completed in under 30 minutes! 

Now Available on DVD! 

www.broadwaywarmup.com

 

 

 

The Top 7 Signs You’re Working With THE BEST Voice Teacher or Vocal Coach

The Top 7 Signs You’re Working With THE BEST Voice Teacher or Vocal Coach

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It goes with out saying that we would all love to be working with THE BEST. We do our research online, ask our friends who they study with, find out who works with the stars we love and try to make an informed decision as to who is THE BEST Voice Teacher out there. While most of this seems like good sense when looking for a teacher– there is an element missing in this equation that is crucial to your success as a vocalist. That element is YOU.

I’d like to believe that in the city of New York (or most any city for that matter) a person who has set out to make their life’s work to teach or coach voice will have something extremely valuable to offer their students. Hopefully, they will have spent years doing their own exploration, studying several different techniques and pedagogies and making discoveries with their own instrument. They may hold certificates of study or be members of a teaching association such as NATS or NYSTA. They will have gained a reputation by slowly building their clientele and benefitting from positive word of mouth about their teaching. They may even have reputable clients that you recognize.

"Hey Elphie, I found THE BEST voice teacher!"

“Hey Elphie, I found THE BEST voice teacher!”

Of course, these qualities are desired in a teacher and when your friend tells you their teacher is THE BEST– that’s probably a fantastic referral source that you should take very seriously .

With all this in mind, the most important element in finding THE BEST teacher is finding out whether or not they are the best teacher for YOU.  The following is a list of signs that the teacher you are working with is working for you and you are a THE BEST match:

 

weinstein_goals1. MUTUAL GOALS:  You feel like your teacher understands and supports the goals that that you have set for your instrument and for your career.

 

SO HOW DO WE OVERCOME COMMUNICATION BARRIER

2. COMMUNICATION: You feel as though the way in which your teacher communicates is clear to you. You’ve found a common language and way to express ideas. You don’t have the sense that  your teacher understands something and you’re just not getting it.

 

3. CONFIDENCE:  You feel confident that your teacher has an understanding of your instrument and you as a person and will be able to help you achieve your goals.

4. TEAM SPIRIT: You feel your teacher has your best interest at heart and is on your team.  

Quote-Productivity-is-never-an-accident5. PRODUCTIVITY: You feel that the time spent in your lesson is well structured and productive towards your goals. Whether your working purely on technique or on repertoire, you feel that the time in the lesson is geared towards helping you move forward. 

 

 

6. INSPIRATION: You generally leave your lessons feeling motivated and inspired.

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7. FUN:  You look forward to your lessons and consider them an exciting and special part of your week.

Your voice teacher is an important member of your support team and the right teacher can be key in helping to reach your goals and stay motivated and focused. When it’s a good match you will feel supported, confident and like you are consistently making progress— it’s great! Whether you are looking for a new teacher or have been working with your teacher for years, it’s important to check in and see where you are and if these dynamics are working for you.

Keep in mind that sometimes we go through plateau phases or set back phases while other times we are growing exponentially. If you are feeling stuck with your teacher, that does not necessarily mean you need to move on. However, it would probably be a good idea to have an open dialog and discuss the situation. Most of the time, if you are feeling frustrated, your teacher is feeling that as well and would like to help you find a way through that frustration.You may make some exciting discoveries within that discussion. Other times,  you may discover it’s time to move on and explore your work with someone else– even if it’s just for the time being to discover a new perspective.

With the proper research you will be able to find several teachers who have a ton of great technique, inspiration, experience and resources to offer. The only person who can really know if you’ve found THE BEST teacher is YOU.  Whether a teacher or student, we are all artists and we got into this industry because we are passionate about music, theatre and creativity. It’s part of our life force.  We all want to be inspired and we all want to use our gifts and creativity to contribute to the world of music and art. The best teachers learn from their students and are there to offer their experience , knowledge, guidance and support. When those elements are in place and communication and inspiration is flowing… it is truly THE BEST. 

Be Warm, 

Kim Stern

The Broadway Warm-Up: 

A Completely Synchronized Vocal and Dance Warm-Up that can be completed in under 30  minutes!

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www.broadwaywarmup.com

The TOP 10 ROADBLOCKS MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMERS FACE (PART 1)

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Happy New Year Folks!  As we see the horizon of a New Year many of us have our sights on exciting new goals.  We’ve made resolutions that we’ve been able to stick to thus far and we have high hopes for the promise of the coming year. Unfortunately, as we continue along our path we may find that some of these resolutions are a little harder to keep than we thought or we may get frustrated at not hitting the mark for all of our goals right away.  The following is intended to help you work through the rough points, stick to your resolutions and reach your goals.

Recently, Deidre Goodwin and I did an interview for Theatre Cast: a  webcast where theatre teachers and professionals share a passion for theatre trends and share practical advice and tips. We talked about our work in developing The Broadway Warm-Up and shared stories of our experiences as  performers and teachers  At some point in the conversation, I mentioned  that I could name about 10 obstacles or road blocks that I have seen my students come up against consistently-regardless of how far they are along on their career path.  At this point, a listener of the program wrote in and asked me to go further on that topic.  I took some time to look at this and came up with the top 10 roadblocks that I see students consistently face. I realized each “roadblock” is surmountable the moment we are able to acknowledge it in a supportive way and find a way to address it.

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TOP 10 ROAD BLOCKS MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMERS CONSISTENTLY FACE IN REACHING THEIR GOALS ( PART 1)

 10. SEARCHING FOR APPROVAL FROM SOURCES OUTSIDE OF YOURSELF BEFORE GAINING YOUR OWN APPROVAL

Many times I will have students coming to me hoping for me to tell them if I think they have what it takes to reach their goals. I found that the only real answer is to suggest that they take a look at themselves and ask that very same question. So many times we are tempted to search for approval in auditions, rehearsals, performances or in our day to day life. If we can begin to grow that sense of approval and worth within ourselves we’ll find ourselves continually nurtured. Confidence will soar and our performance will flourish as a result. Value the input of your mentors and teachers but trust that you and you alone can determine your worth.

9. DIFFICULTY EMBRACING THE BRILLIANCE OF THE PERSON YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER IN A UNIQUE WAY- TRYING TO REPLICATE WHAT OTHERS HAVE ALREADY PUT OUT THERE

To me, part of the wonder and brilliance of life is it’s absolute uniqueness. Each one of us has our very unique qualities and our very unique ways of expressing ourselves to the world. So often, I will find students trying to replicate a performance they’ve seen  on YouTube or heard on ITunes and most of the time it’s obvious right from the start. They may not even realize they are doing it, but they’ve gotten it into their heads that there is one way to put a particular piece across and they aim to replicate it. The result is generally fine—but less than inspiring. When I discover this happening, I will try to find a way for the student to break the mold completely and find their true voice in the song- both on a technical level and as an actor. Invariably, the performance will flourish and the actor and audience will feel more satisfied when this kind of work comes into play. Bring your own unique voice to the table – it’s the one thing you have to offer that no one can take away from you!

8. FEAR OF TAKING A RISK

“If you do what you always do, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”- Tony Robbins

By definition a risk is a situation involving exposure to danger. It seems quite natural that most of us instinctually avoid risk at all costs. However, as musical theatre performers, we’ve already committed to the idea of taking a risk at some level. When we walk on to a stage or enter a room for an audition we’ve taken a leap into the world of of being vulnerable and free ourselves up to act and react authentically and in the moment. Let’s commit to that idea in a full way.  To be clear, Risk taking is not throwing caution to the wind and going in to an audition unrehearsed expecting brilliance.  It’s challenging yourself to be fully present in the moment , trying a new piece of material or making a bold choice. When you take a smart risk as a performer you will inevitably leave the performance feeling fulfilled, rewarded and exhilarated and 9 times out of 10 your audience will walk away with the same feeling.

7. BECOMING HYPER FOCUSED ON ONE AREA OF WORK THAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGING AREAS OF GROWTH AND STRENGTH ALONG THE WAY

I’ve seen it over and over.  A student will get super focused on belting a certain note in a song or become so hyper aware of a section of their instrument that needs some developing that they will completely lose track of the growth that they are making as an overall performer.  Then they will start to become frustrated, lose interest, lose motivation and lose focus. When we  focus on one specific area and lose track of our creative instrument as a whole, the work starts to become less satisfying and more and more of a chore.  I think it’s always important to have a realistic view of the goals we wish to reach and check in with those goals on a regular basis.  At the same time,  try to remember that you are developing your whole self on several different levels and you want to continue to acknowledge your growth and strengths along with your opportunities for improvement. The results can be surprising.  I’ve seen students step away from working on an area that’s been challenging for them and begin to really focus on building their instrument as a whole.  Then, a few months later they will come back to a piece of music that seemed impossible for them earlier and it will be a piece of cake.

6. DIFFICULTY COMMITTING TO REGULAR PRACTICE

We’ve all heard the old joke: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?…”  Well,  there’s no way around it, practice is key element for anyone looking to master their craft.  Most of us have great intentions but  when it comes down to it may find it difficult to commit to a regular cycle of practice.

I find there are several elements that may get in the way of a steady practice cycle. The first is committing to too much too soon.  If you haven’t been in a regular practice cycle it is going to be quite a shock to your system to suddenly commit to practicing 1 or more  hours a day working on vocal exercises running through repertoire and cooling down. Try starting small. Commit to 10 minutes 3-4 times a week. Half the battle is actually beginning to practice. Chances are, once you start, you won’t want to stop and may end up doing more practice time than you committed to. If you do more, that’s great, but consider your practice fulfilled once you’ve done your 10 minutes. Do that for a month and then expand your commitment to 20 minutes 5 times a week… you get the idea.  Before you know it you will have eased yourself into a regular practice pattern.

The second element that may interfere with regular practice : LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Many of us live in urban areas and don not want to disturb our neighbors or live with roommates. We may want to practice but find it difficult to find a proper time and place to really let our voices out. For my students living in urban areas, I suggest a few solutions: If you are living with roommates, it might help to come up with some sort of a schedule. Most likely your roommate would not mind having an hour or so per week of private time in the apartment even if they are not a performer.  Make an  agreement that both of you will plan to be out of the apartment for one hour per week at a specific time ( they would be using the apartment when you are out  and vice versa) .  You can then plan for that to be your rehearsal time. As for the neighbors, I recommend being as upfront as possible.  Try knocking on the door or leaving a note and letting them know you are a performer and will be rehearsing from time to time . If at any point the noise is a problem invite them to please let you know.

A third element that generally gets in the way of regular practice is not knowing what to do or a general lack of focus. I recommend to my students to work with the vocal exercises that we have recorded on a given week along with the recording.  I suggest for them to to do the exercises along with the recording and listen to the things we talk about in the lesson as sometimes you may hear an idea in a different way upon repetition. This element of not knowing what to do is actually one of the inspirations for The Broadway Warm-Up.  I had so many students asking me for some sort of a set and efficient warm-up that could get them ready for a show or audition and found myself making repeated recordings for people. I finally decided to come up with a better solution.

In terms of working  repertoire, it’s always tempting to strictly work on new material and let some of your older material suffer. Try to get in the habit of running through at least one or two of your old stand by’s a week and see what fresh insight you can bring to them.

Try to look at your practice time as a regular gift you can give to yourself . It’s time that you are taking away from any of the day to day drudgery to be creative and nurture your artistic self.

COMING SOON: TOP 10 ROAD BLOCKS MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMERS CONSISTENTLY FACE IN REACHING THEIR GOALS ( PART 2)

Anyone Can Whistle… but can anyone SING?

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“So, can you teach anybody to sing? Or is singing a natural gift that someone needs to be born with?”

If I had a penny for every time someone asked me that question… well let’s just say I’d have more than a few dollars. The first time I was asked, I proudly answered, “I can teach anybody to sing!” and at the time I believed that answer 100%. As the years have gone by and I have become a little more experienced, my answer has refined itself into something that I feel I can stand behind with a little more grounding, “I can teach anybody to sing BETTER.”

Usually, when someone asks me that question, they are really asking, “Can you teach ME to sing?” Having never worked with them before, it’s a tricky question to answer in the moment as there are many factors that go into working with a vocalist. However, I find that most people begin to understand what their potential might be when I relate it to the idea of an Olympic Runner.

Most of us are born with some basic ability to run. There are certain people who are naturally born to be Olympic runners. Their bodies are just made for it. From the day they were born they had the strength, stamina, speed and agility to be one of the fastest runners in the world. They have long powerful legs, their movements are efficient, they’re naturally aerobically fit. Some of those people discover their talent, hone their gifts and go on to win Gold Medals.

There are others whose bodies might not have the same natural gifts but with proper training, persistent hard work and dedicated practice will go on to win races and achieve those very same Gold Medals. These are the people who are committed to training their instrument to be the absolute best it can be. They will quite literally go the extra mile in order to reach their goal. These people take the raw materials they have been given and maximize their potential. They may not have been born with a gift for running, but through passion, persistence and training have overcome obstacles to achieve their goal.

Then, there are runners that fall into every category in between. There’s the naturally gifted runner who doesn’t have the desire to train every day. There’s the runner who is not so gifted and strives for the gold , but lacks the focus to train consistently. There’s someone like myself who loves a good walk or spin on the elliptical , but really will only be inspired to actually run if there’s someone chasing me… you get the idea.

In training a singer , we are dealing with an instrument of the body. We must develop strength , flexibility and agility similar to the way an Olympic runner would in preparing for any race. The primary difference is that the majority of the muscles that we are dealing with in singing are internal and not visible– so they are a little more challenging to access. We also must take into account the mind and spirit of the performer. How quickly a vocalist progresses can vary greatly depending on their motivation, their intelligence, their creativity, their confidence and their passion- to name a few.

A voice teacher can help to train the muscles and develop coordination. We can teach proper vowel structure and breathing. We can help the student develop their ear and match pitch. We can expose them to great music and vocalists and inspire their spirit and creativity. At the same time, we must recognize that we are working as a teammate with the student and there are several variable factors at play. Some of those factors include the student’s willingness or ability to practice on a regular basis, the way and speed in which their mind receives information, the connection between teacher and student -how well they communicate and how comfortable they are with one another, the student’s willingness to try new ideas and stray from their comfort zone. There is also that fantastic moment when after months of exploring an idea, for one reason or another, the clouds part and something just clicks.

One of my favorite moments as a teacher is finding my way into a students way of thinking and into their hearts and helping them to unlock the voice that has been waiting there for them all along. I’ve seen gifted singers who had lost their inspiration regain their spark and create magic. I’ve seen people go from not being able to match pitch, to singing songs full out and booking jobs in the ensemble of Broadway shows. I’ve seen people who thought that maybe, they just might have a voice, come in for a first voice lesson and discover that not only did they have a voice , it was something to be reckoned with and something to be shared.

When someone asks me, “Can you teach anyone to sing?”, I can confidently say, “I can teach anyone to sing BETTER.” Where we go from there , well that’s the fun part: discovering how far you can go if you put your mind to it. : )

If there are any topics you’d like me to address or questions you’d like me to answer, give a shout out by contacting Kim@broadwaywarmup.com

Be Warm,  Kim