Meditation & Creativity with Mark Price

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YO YO YO! I am so pumped to bring to you my first The Broadway WarmUp interview with the inimitable Mark Price. Mark is a creative genius and I look up to him so much. Both Ithaca grads, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark back when he was a mentor for the Hangar Theatre Lab Company in 2014. Mark’s energy, zest and passion is contagious. He is an incredibly talented performer and teacher. So generous and detailed with his insights, he’s the perfect person to start our interview series.

In this conversation, we focus on Mark’s meditation practice. I have personally struggled significantly with anxiety and stress, so I learned a lot from Mark’s words on his meditation practice, and I’m itching to take his course when it comes to New York this fall.

“The whole goal is not to be an expert meditator, the whole goal is to be better at life. To be a better partner, better creator, better husband, better wife, better friend, better brother, you know, whatever. So, the whole name of the game is up-leveling performance on all accounts.” -MP

We had such a blast talking that we exceeded our intended duration, so I’ve decided to break this interview into two parts. Part I is below…come back for Part II soon.

In PART 1, we discuss:

  • Vedic meditation
  • Left brain/Right brain functions
  • Finding spontaneity in work and life
  • ‘Fight or Flight’ response
  • The fourth state of consciousness
  • Plus much more…

LISTEN HERE:

 https://broadwaywarmup.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/mark-price-final.m4a

In Part II, we’ll dive deeper into Mark’s views on creativity. We discuss:

  • the importance of resiliency in actors
  •  How to ask better questions
  •  Self-Promotion
  • The advice Mark would give his 20-year old self

FOLLOW MARK PRICE

TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

  • www.alchemycollective.org — Alchemy Collective is a meditation and performance lab, designed for creatives and high performance individuals who are looking to uplevel their performance, dissolve stress, and increase fulfillment and bliss states.(Website live end of July).
  • www.aboutmarkprice.com (Actor, Teaching website)
Mark will be teaching a meditation course in NY this fall. If anyone wants to be notified, email for more info at mprice8@gmail.com.

Be Warm,

Johnny

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Hi, I’m Johnny!

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I’m Johnny Shea and I am the newly appointed Blogger-In-Chief and Head of Brand Ambassador Development for The Broadway Warm-Up.

I’m going to be posting some awesome content on this blog over the coming weeks, so I thought I’d take a moment to say hi!

I have just moved to New York to pursue a career in acting. Just over a month ago, I graduated from Ithaca College with my BFA in Musical Theatre. The link to Ithaca is actually how I met Kim Stern, Owner/Creator of The Broadway Warm-Up. Back in March, all of IC’s graduating Theatre Arts majors traveled down to NYC to for a week-long series of panels and workshops with industry professionals. Kim was joined by fellow IC alums Mark Price and Caesar Samayoa in their panel called Empowered Artistry. I remember feeling so inspired after this panel. I left with a feeling of confirmation that my dreams were legitimate and possible in this city.

I’ll be honest – there are times when I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. For all my life to this point, I’ve had the structure and schedule of school to return to and live by. Now that I’ve graduated, the blank canvas before me is both exciting and terrifying. I’m choosing to be excited and inspired by the unknown ahead. I’d love for you to join me as I venture into the unknown and pursue my dreams of acting professionally.

This city, this lifestyle and this business are new to me, so my plan is to be a sponge. I will soak up anything and everything that pertains to life as an artist in New York. I thought it’d be fun to share what I discover as I go. SO, I’ll be conducting interviews with industry professionals to break down their daily habits & routines, and to deconstruct what makes them the best at what they do. In these interviews, I’ll talk to people with all different backgrounds and ties to the entertainment industry. I’ll speak with anyone from Broadway actors, composers, directors to ENTs, therapists, personal trainers…you  name it. I am interested in speaking to anyone with relevant info on this awesome industry. My mission is to inspire you to do what you love by interviewing people who have done just that.

Why do we warm-up? I know I warm-up so that I may perform at my best and stay healthy. I want my voice, body and mind to be in optimal condition before I go out onstage. The Broadway Warm-Up is designed to help performers reach optimal states before audition or performance. These interviews and blog posts are designed to dissect top performers so that all of us may strive to reach and realize our potential. My hope is that these interviews will provide tangible, actionable information that will inspire you.

The interviews will vary in form: video, audio & written. Be sure to follow the blog and check back soon for our first!

Be Warm,

Johnny

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The Anonymous Actor #02

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The Anonymous Actor #02

The Anonymous Actor

Les-MiserablesHey New Yorkers! Anonymous Actor is back with a platter full of this week’s entrees and hors d’oeuvres in the concrete jungle where dreams are made! This week was full of chorus calls including one for Les Miserables! The men’s call and the women’s call were packed with non-equity and equity singers hoping to make their splash on the Broadway scene! I certainly hope it went well for everyone! Chorus calls can be intense! Not only is the holding room brimming with unbridled amounts of testosterone or estrogen but nerves are active and the sun is just starting to peek over the horizon, which means our vocal chords are not awake yet and they still want us belting out sustained high E flats! So, I chose to sustain a legit music theatre piece instead. In some ways it was a big-time cop-out. imagesI was afraid of my voice cracking in front of a major casting director and a major music director. I was afraid that one false note would mean the end of my singing career in NYC which has only just begun – I have not even lived here for 6 months yet. But as my voice teacher, Kim Stern says, I have to take risks! And that alone is terrifying. I have an audition coming up this week that would be a huge risk, at least in my head as a singer new to this belting sound. Should I take it?

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And…We’re Back!

BWALPHAHey gang! It’s been while…but we’re back! Going to be starting to bring you some more blog content focused on performing musical theatre, audition technique, singing, dancing,  auditions, warming up and all around inspiration.  For starters, check out this exciting new blog series from The Anonymous Actor!  The Anonymous Actor is a real, live, young performer who is out there trying to make it happen in this great city of New York.  He/She will be giving weekly accounts of their victories and disappointments , discoveries and day to day dealings as they work towards booking the next job, getting the attention of an agent, finding the perfect NYC apartment and figuring out how to balance it all with a smile at the end of the day.  The Anonymous Actor could be someone who reminds you of yourself when you were starting out, or someone you hope to be in a few years, it could also be the person your sitting next to in your audition… RIGHT NOW. Enjoy!

The Anonymous Actor #01

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Hey New York artists: singers, musicians, actors, dancers, and all around cool people! Anonymous Actor here, bringing you the first ever titillating news on auditions, New York living, shows, and tips and tidbits about being an artist in this crazy city!

Unknown-1This week was full of incredible auditions including three days of singing EPAs for a brand new Broadway musical with casting by Telsey + Company. The CD was incredibly kind in the room, tapping his feet along to my 16 bar rock number and the accompanist was flawless! Sometimes you have incredibly fun and expectation-defying auditions (which this was for me) and sometimes you have crash and burn situations (which I have certainly experienced). One thing that I have learned from both situations is that a warm-up before a singing audition boosts my confidence ten-fold! It could be going to the gym, or walking and humming, or yoga, or a full classical 20 minute warm-up, but the one that truly stands out for me is The Broadway Warm-Up developed by Kim Stern and Deidre Goodwin!11011221_901133246616502_8468730541207047620_n  It is a fully immersive and completely synchronized vocal and dance warm-up. If you are already salivating at the prospects, then you will want to stay tuned for what I have to say next week! If you live in New York, audition, perform, or just love the arts, then you will want more of this behind the scenes look at the life of an NYC artist, brought to you by me, Anonymous Actor. Stay spicy chickadees 😉

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I Lost Control and Then I Found Something Better

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Check out this awesome and hysterical blog from Monthly Guest Blogger Jessica Latshaw about the benefits of losing control!

I Lost Control and Then I Found Something Better

I think good things happen not only when we lose control (because, really, when do we ever have total control?), but the best things happen when we lose our dearly held–albeit delusional–idea of our control over anything other than what exists between the crown of our heads and the soles of our feet.
How’s that for a first sentence? If it’s not long enough for you, I can work on it.

april25babies_ellafitzgeraldSomebody told me a story about Ella Fitzgerald. I cannot tell you if this is entirely true, because I was not there, but this is what I heard. When Ella went to the studio to record, her producer made her sing a song over and over again-to the point of exhaustion, even. It wasn’t until then that someone would finally hit record. The truth comes out when you’re too tired to pretend anymore. And there’s nothing so interesting as the raw, unguarded truth, was the point of the story, I believe.
(Tell that to someone who is belting, and they may very well prefer clarity of tone and pitch over interesting, but still.)

I work for a company called Fly Wheel Sports, teaching indoor stadium cycling to people who have big goals and the motivation to match. Oftentimes clients will tell me they perform better when they are exhausted and walk into a class with not nearly as much expectation on themselves because of it. They are shocked. But I wonder if it has something to do with the pressure being off and a sense of control being lost. I wonder if better things happen as a result of those two factors.

images-9One of my best auditions came out of some of the worst circumstances. First of all, I was late. Not just I-am-not-there-to-sit-in-a-split-in-the-holding-room-with-headphones-on-an-hour-before-they-call-me late. I mean, I literally was not there when the audition started. The casting director called me, “Where are you?” she asked, concerned.
“On the train–it’s delayed and I will be there as soon as humanly possible.”
I had come to the conclusion that there was nothing I could do about the train being delayed and the fact that I was still on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel while my competitors were dancing for the director I wanted to hire me.

Finally, I arrived. I heard the music, but I couldn’t help it–I HAD to go to the bathroom. Yep, my belly was not feeling so well and it chose that moment to decide to move things around inside.

I was already late–what’s a little bit later? I decided.

Then I got my period.
(I am sorry, but that is a part of this story, and to leave it out would be an injustice to the art of story telling.)

So I did what was necessary (the art of story telling sometimes demands certain details be left out, too, you know), and finally walked into the audition room. I threw my heels on and without so much as a stretch, started doing whatever the choreography demanded of me.
Somewhere between my train getting delayed, getting sick in the bathroom, and getting my period, I decided to let myself off the hook in terms of HAVING TO GET THIS JOB. I decided I have no control over most things–and what I do have control over, well, I can only do my best.

They made a cut and told me to please come back and sing when they call my name.
So I went back to the bathroom and composed myself.

Which is when I saw it.

The thing about getting your period is that you use certain tools to keep yourself clean.

The thing about being a dancer is that you sometimes wear a leotard and just fishnet tights to auditions.

The thing about those certain tools is that they tend to have strings.

The thing about fishnets is that they tend to have holes.

I noticed with horror that a string was actually threaded through my fishnet tights and sticking out the other side in a most unseemly and untoward manner.
In short: I was mortified.

While hiding the embarrassing evidence of my femininity, I couldn’t help but laugh over the whole situation. Late. Sick. Unexpected time of the month. And then my tampon string literally threaded through my fishnet tights and out the other side–all this while I am doing high kicks just a few feet in front of the whole production team.

let_it_go_by_impala99-d740xws.pngI tuck the string away and walk back into the room. I sing. Then I read a monologue. I realize that I don’t have a say over whether or not I get the job, but, man, at least I am very alive and at least I am doing my best and life is more fun when the pressure is off, anyway. Plus, there is a part of me that is standing back, analyzing the situation, and realizing that this will make a good story.

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I finally finish and start the journey back home. Which is when I get a call from the casting company.
“You got the job!” they say, “You’re our Kristine in A Chorus Line–either here in New York, or the 1st National–whichever opens up first. But the production team wants you.”
I thank them. I can’t help but smile, laugh, and cry a little. The role of Kristine is a somewhat neurotic and quirky role; if they saw the tampon string, it only helped my case.

But the point is, there is a freedom that comes with realizing that none of us are in total control. That we all just do our best in the moment. We take whatever we can grab within our very finite reach and we make something. Dear God, we hope that something is good. We really hope that something makes money. But it’s what we do, over and over again, and the more we do it, the more we realize it is imperfect, hardly ever according to plan, and sometimes even better than we could have imagined.

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But no, it never really involves us being in control of the situation.
And maybe that’s when the truth comes out; which, as someone told me, is way more interesting than a carefully composed lie, anyway.

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

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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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TOP 10 ROADBLOCKS MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMERS FACE (PART 2)

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Last week I started to explore the Top 10 Roadblocks that I have seen my students consistently face-regardless of how far along they are on their career path. As a private voice teacher, I have the privilege of exploring these obstacles with my students on a regular basis and finding creative solutions. No matter how many times I’ve confronted each challenge with a student or on my own, I am always inspired when someone overcomes a hurdle and discovers their true potential.

This list was inspired when Deidre Goodwin and I did an interview for Theatre Cast: a  webcast where theatre teachers and professionals that share a passion for theatre trends exchange 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 roadblocks that I have seen my students come up against consistently.  At this point, a listener of the program wrote in and asked me to go further on that topic.

The following is intended to help you work through the rough points, stick to your resolutions and reach your goals. For more details on items 6-10, please check out the previous post (creatively titled The TOP 10 ROADBLOCK MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMERS FACE ( PART 1) )

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5. COMPARISON TO WHERE OTHER’S ARE ON THEIR PATHS

When we were in grammar school and were assigned a creative project, the teacher would tell us, “Eyes on your own page!”. She wanted us to focus on our own project and use our own creativity to create something without being swayed or influenced by what other people were doing. I find this motto to be very useful when it comes to my students wondering if they are where they need to be on their career path. It’s oh so tempting to take a look at where our friends and colleagues are and wonder what we are doing wrong or how we can follow in their footsteps. We can spend so much time and energy focusing on other people’s paths and comparing- that we lose our own focus and take energy away from the things that can lead to our own victories. Stay on your own path. Celebrate your friend’s triumphs and at the same time acknowledge that your path is different and your victories will come in their own time.

4. EXPECTING ONE’S SELF TO BE WHERE YOU WANT AS A PERFORMER WITHOUT ALLOWING TIME FOR GRADUAL GROWTH

When a little baby takes it’s very first step, everyone in the room claps and cheers. There are smiles and celebration – and when the baby plops down on his behind seconds later, there are more smiles, applause and encouragement to try again. If he falls, he is not admonished but encouraged to reach further. No one would expect that infant to be up and running a race moments after his first step. Watching the child develop we understand that he must literally put one foot in front of the other to develop muscular strength , coordination and stamina.

As we develop our skills as an artists it’s easy to become impatient with ourselves and expect instant results. We want to see the fruits of our efforts quickly and get frustrated with our status quo. Try to embrace where you are in this very moment as a performer and celebrate that. Acknowledge that you are on a journey as an artist and are developing actual factual muscles. That takes time , patience and practice. Recognize that while you are reaching for greater goals, that does not take away from where you are and what you have to offer in THIS VERY MOMENT.

3. FEAR OF MAKING A MISTAKE- NOT LEAVING SPACE FOR THE “BAD” SOUNDS

It’s very rare that something will come out just perfect on the first try. Great ballerinas have had to fall out of their pirouettes when they were first learning to dance, renowned painters have thousands of sketches that end up painted over or in the trash.  When it comes to singing , I’ve found that most people would like to “sound good” all the time.  For some reason we leave very little room for breathy, cracky or vulnerable sounds when we are working on our singing.  We will go to great lengths creating tension or shying away from notes to avoid “sounding bad” . One of the first things I point out to my students when we begin our work together is that we are not in the studio to “sound good”.  We are in the studio so that we can “sound good” out in the world.  That means that there may be times when we will take the voice to places that are weak, cracky, vulnerable.  As opposed to creating tension and trying to cover those areas up, I encourage the student to actually deal with the reality of what is going on with their instrument so that we can give them the exercises to build upon those areas that need development. It reminds me of going to the gym. Personally, I don’t look my best as I’m sweating on the elliptical machine. However, I hope that as I continue to put in that work I will leave the gym looking and feeling a little better. It’s so important to have at least one safe space where you can feel completely free to “mess up”.  Let that space be your place to play with your instrument, find your creative voice and really let go.

2. NOT GIVING ONE’S SELF THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE BRILLIANT DUE TO LACK OF PROPER PREPARATION

There’s a certain magic that happens when we have done our homework and are truly prepared for a performance . Suddenly, our shoulders release, our breathing becomes easy and our confidence swells. We are able to be present and in the moment and lo and behold-we can have some fun. Anything becomes possible. Proper preparation involves several factors that can sometimes get overlooked or skipped but each element can make a major difference in leading to a victorious outcome. Simply being familiar with our material and having rehearsed it is a good place to start, but preparation can go deeper than that. By giving yourself the opportunity to practice your material in front of other people several times before your audition or performance, allowing yourself the time to warm-up your voice and body,  being certain of how you are going to enter the room and communicate with your accompanist, checking to be sure your music is set up in the proper format and in the proper key and clearly marked, exploring your piece several times and playing with your acting choices and so forth you are setting your self up for an enjoyable performance. Challenge yourself to create opportunities to be brilliant on a regular basis.  As Oprah says, “I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity. ”

1. QUESTIONING “AM I GOOD ENOUGH?” 

This is most certainly the #1 road block I see Musical Theatre performers come up against no matter how far along they are on their career path. A performer can have multiple Broadway credits and award nominations or wins. Still the “evil doubt monster” can rear his nasty little head at a moment’s notice. Part of our job as performers is to continually nurture our sense of value and worth. Create a strong support system of teachers, friends, mentors and medical professionals that you trust to guide you on your journey and fill your days with work that inspires you. Continue to strive towards improving your skills while acknowledging how far you’ve come on your path thus far. Practice and be prepared. From there, do the work and just keep doing it. When it comes down to it, we have very little control over what other people’s opinions of us might be — quite frankly it’s none of our business. I’ve seen people talk themselves into the idea of begin good enough and just as easily talk themselves out of being good enough. Make the decision to do the work and let it be an exciting journey rather than a one time trip to greatness. There will be great days and less than great days but you will always be an artist . In my book, by definition, that is more than good enough.

Be Warm,

Kim Stern

Co-Creator – The Broadway Warm-Up

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