Hi, I’m Johnny!

BWALPHA

a Completely synchroninzed Vocal and dance warm-up

www.broadwaywarmup.com

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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

www.broadwaywarmup.com

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 😉

BWALPHA

www.broadwaywarmup.com

A completely synchronized vocal and dance warm-up in under 30 minutes!

 

Get Generous With Your Warm-Up!

BWALPHA copyOur friends at Motivated Movers recently asked Broadway Warm-Up co-creator Kim Stern to contribute a blog post that talked to their monthly theme of generosity. Check out this post and then get to know more about motivated mover over at www.motivatedmoversnyc.com!

GET GENEROUS WITH YOUR WARM-UP!

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It’s been said that generosity is the act of giving even when we are not necessarily in a position to give.

I recently joined a gym again and have started swimming. It feels great! The past two weeks I’ve committed to swimming every day and I have seen a marked change in my overall health, my energy level, my productivity and general well being.

imagesDespite all of these incredible benefits, this week it seemed to be more of a struggle to motivate to get to the gym and get myself swimming. I knew I would feel better for it, I had conscious intent to go and yet there was a part of me that felt a definite resistance. Oy! It’s no news that sometimes taking action to do the things that will benefit us the most can feel like moving a mountain. We just don’t feel like we have the time, energy or desire to give to ourselves.

Over my years of teaching, I’ve found this to be an overwhelming truth when it comes to performers taking the time to warm-up before a performance. While we all may have great intentions of warming up before each performance, a lot of the time when push comes to shove, our warm-up seems to be the first thing that gets thrown to the curbside if we are running short on time or energy. That was actually one of the things that inspired The Broadway Warm-Up, my business partner Deidre Goodwin and I recognized our students and colleagues either skipping their vocal warm-up and just doing a dance warm-up—skipping their dance warm-up and just doing a vocal warm-up or not doing a warm-up at all. We recognized that there was an urgent need for an efficient warm-up that could organically warm-up your whole instrument in a set routine and make it easier for performers to commit to the generosity of a warm-up.

lkIDuNPY44lbET9dwRvt7ba4-OsdQiJfAHlJRtFeAvg,FOW1SDVEwEr6Rr7Ta3MiCw7pi2gh-HvC6OMNMmZ11FU,LgeIJVEIJRVU0Z9AToMeISYh09KxWQSuBMVQnlpIQw0What if we looked at the warm-up as an opportunity to be generous with ourselves? An opportunity to give even when we are not necessarily in a position to give. How many moments in a day do really take out to take care of ourselves? A warm-up can be the daily gift we give ourselves and a true act of generosity towards ourselves and others. In warming up, we’ve prioritized our time and our energy towards the maintenance and betterment of our instrument. We’re being kind and generous to our muscles and are giving ourselves the best odds to avoid injury and achieve optimal performance.

Magic_Hat_-_sliderEvery time we warm-up we are increasing the probability that we will have a successful performance. By taking the time to prepare our voice, body and mind we are not only allowing the actual muscles to reach their potential but we are giving ourselves the incredible gift of preparation. Armed with the knowledge that we have properly prepared ourselves for our performance our level of confidence will automatically increase exponentially. That’s when we have an opportunity to discover some really magical moments as a performer. Because our instrument is awake and ready and we have gifted ourselves the confidence of preparation we are far less likely to become distracted by what is happening for us technically and have the freedom to be in the moment and artistically present! Huzzah!

In finding the time to warm-up you are not only being generous to yourself and images-1your instrument. You’ve also created an opportunity for yourself to be generous with your fellow performers and your audience. Take the challenge to give yourself the gift of a proper warm-up every day this week. Be generous with yourself. Let that generosity feed into your performances, your auditions and practice sessions. Comment on this blog and let me know how it feels to commit to that sort of generosity on a daily basis. As for me… I’ve got my bathing suit in my gym bag and am headed for a swim.

 

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Kim Stern is a co-creator and owner of The Broadway Warm-Up along with Deidre Goodwin. She is also a private voice teacher and vocal coach in NYC. Kim is the editor of The Broadway Warm-Up Blog.  For more information go to: www.broadwaywarmup.com

 

BWALPHA copy

 

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

NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD!

www.broadwaywarmup.com

 

Reverie Revelation: Rev It Up!


Exciting news folks! We are thrilled to introduce our first Guest Contributor to The Broadway Warm-Up Blog.  Check out Broadway Warm-Up Cast Member Marc Santa Maria’s monthly installment of  Reverie Revelation for inspiring info on Acting, Fitness and Adventure:

Reverie Revelation: Rev It Upquote-reverie-is-the-groundwork-of-creative-imagination-it-is-the-privilege-of-the-artist-that-with-him-w-somerset-maugham-320200

What Up. I love me some Broadway Warm-Up. Huge fan. Honored I got to be a part of making the DVD. And super stoked to be contributing right here, right now to the BW Blog. Here’s how it’s gonna go down. I’m going to offer three thoughts (I’ll call them reveries) and three photos to support them. They will be in the zone of acting, fitness and adventure. And by adventure I mean living life large, trying new things, being well traveled, chowing down and guzzling tasty drinks. Let’s do this . . .

ImageACTOR REVERIE: I’ve got the coolest Acting Mentor – Roz Coleman Williams. She hits me hard with pearls of wisdom (and yet can crack me up two seconds later). In class yesterday she said this about “the Work” – the stuff we put out there to the world – “The key to growth is to stand in the strength of your own choices. True artistry is being your own gage. Walk in the strength of your own individual artistry.” Walk strong my artist friends, walk like a bad ass and work.

 

Wimpy Photo-2FIT DUDE REVERIE: I’m the National Director of Group Fitness for Crunch Gyms so I get a lot of questions about getting in shape. Like it or not, it’s a fact that what we look like is a major factor in how we are cast. So,what’s your body type and what would you likely be cast as? If you’re happy with your answers – awesome. You’re on the right track. Go get seen and go book work. But if you want to say, play an action hero in Avengers but have a physique more like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, then get thee into an exercise routine – pronto. Don’t think about it – just do something physical. Got a Crunch Gym in your city? Email me at marcsm@me.com and I’ll hook you up with a 5 day guest pass to jump start your routine.

Chariot photoADVENTURE REVERIE: I love wine. I love wine chilled – even my reds. I discovered this keep the wine cool gadget called – The Corkcicle. #protectcool. Google it. And use it. With what you say? How about a great red under $10? Chariot at Trader Joe’s. So tasty – we’re serving cases of it at our wedding

Until next time. See you on the dance floor of life.

-Marcmarc-santa-maria

Check out www.marcsm.com for more reverie.

Marc is a Contributor for:BWALPHA copy

The Broadway Warm-Up: A Completely  Synchronized Vocal And  Dance Warm-Up for Performers that can be completed in under 30 minutes

www.broadwaywarmup.com

The Organic Connection Of Emotion To Breath When Singing

 

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“If you are connected to a feeling your diaphragm WILL respond!”

I was doing a 29 hour reading of a new musical recently and these words came out of the director’s mouth. It instantly struck me that this is an idea that I teach in my studio repeatedly and it was worth exploring further .

I think what struck me about this director’s words was that singing is a truly organic experience connected to an emotion and more specifically connected to the body, mind and spirit’s need to communicate that emotion. We can spend countless hours in the studio hammering out vocal technique (which is of course a crucial basic element), but when push comes to shove, if we are not fully invested emotionally and spiritually, that magic “X” factor will inevitably be missing.

I just took a break from writing this to teach a lesson. As I was working with the student (who is someone new to the studio) on her song, instead of working on her breath support, vowel structure or resonance, I simply asked her to speak the lyric and connect to what she was saying. I then asked her to sing the segment we were working again. The result was immediate and dramatic. Instantly, she was connected to her breath , she was articulating and the sound was ringing like a bell!

In her book The Right To Speak, Patsy Rodenburg talks in depth about the connection of emotion to the release of sound and breath support.  She states, “Once we feel supported and ready to speak we connect to real vocal power. Any previous temptation to push, bluff, embellish, or even retreat from words is lessened. These are, after all, only manipulative habits we use to compensate for our fear of trusting our innate means of support. The whole scope of the voice opens and widens.”

She goes on to say,” Sometimes when we come face to face with a heightened choice-a moment of grief, pain or joy- we can experience support as never before. The habits of the body and the voice are overridden and suddenly we go on automatic pilot, almost as if the moment can only be purged through sound. We laugh till our sides ache, someone new to support work will feel their ribcage beginning to work.”

This same idea is true when we are singing .  We can train our voices and work on our breathing, but it’s the intention to communicate a feeling that will really allow the breath to respond and the voice to soar. So often the performer gets caught up in “How do I sound?” “Here comes the high note” or “I wonder what they’re thinking of me right now”. I can guarantee that performer, audience and everyone involved will feel a greater sense of fulfillment from a performance the moment the singer lets go of all of those questions and commits completely to what is happening in the song. That means what the lyrics are saying, what is happening on the page in the music, what the accompanist is giving you in the moment, and the energy in the room.

When working on repertoire, I’m insistent that my student bring their acting choices into every lesson from the start. What you are thinking and feeling as an actor will dramatically affect how you are approaching the piece. Chances are, you’ve done your work and trained. You’ve warmed up your instrument and are ready to go.  Now that you are working on a piece of material, it’s time to trust that work and know that “If you are connected to a feeling, your diaphragm WILL respond!”

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! 

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!

The Sound of Music: Embracing The Open Space Around You.

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Picture yourself doing the star solo spot of a show stopping 11 o’clock number in a Broadway show. Now picture yourself singing in front of a table full of people at the final callback for a major production. Now picture yourself in your voice lesson. In each of those scenarios, think about the amount of open space you have around you and what might feel like to fill that space with your energy and with your voice. Hopefully as you imagine the sensation, it feels relaxed, released, energetic and free. Many times when I am working with a student, I find that a large part of what is keeping them from reaching an honest, free sound is the fact that they are not willing or able to release their sound or energy into an open space. Without really realizing it they are shutting themselves down and refusing to free their instrument. When I discover this happening , I like to introduce them to the “Sound of Music”. In this exercise I have the student imagine they are Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music ( in the beginning of the movie) . She’s on top of the Swiss Alps with nothing but open space around her, her arms are stretched out and she is spinning like there’s no tomorrow. Usually , I have a student imagine they are holding giant hands full of autumns leaves or glitter dust (whatever sparks their creativity) at the center of their core in their hands. I then have them take as breath and open their arms and release an extended sound on any pitch that feels comfortable while envisioning releasing that object into the open space ( Swiss Alps) around them. The result is generally instant , effortless and very effective. From there, we will go further and explore what it feels like to explore a truly released sound in an open space in an effortless way throughout their range. I’ve also noticed over the years, that generally, the first time someone comes in for a lesson, their instinct will tell them to stand right next to the piano when they start to sing. It’s as if we somehow think the piano has a magic ability to help us to sing better by staying close to it. (* Note: While pianos are wonderful instruments , they currently have no proven magical powers.) Realistically there are very few performance or audition instances where we find ourselves actually standing that close to the piano. I encourage my students to take the space available in my studio and own it in a truly energetic way. It’s what we do when we perform and we need to practice that in our lessons as well. If we can own the space we are in and allow our voice to fill that space in a free and comfortable way, we will inevitably be at an advantage. I spent several days recently teaching a vocal technique and vocal performance workshop to a lovely group of students from Shore Crest Prep in Florida. During our work together , many of the students made big vocal strides simply by embracing this idea, it was just fantastic to see their voices open up and really shine as they released their sound and let it fill the space around them. We also use this idea consistently in The Broadway Warm-Up. Several times in the warm-up you will find yourself opening up your arms or expanding your space for a port de bras. Explore what it feels like to really embrace the space around you in these moments. Imagine the room you are warming up in is limitless so that your energy and sound can extend well beyond the borders of that space with out any efforting. I truly believe that one of the things that is so inspiring about the human voice is the fact that we are literally transmitting a part of ourselves through the vibrations we create when we sing. It’s incredibly vulnerable to release that voice into the world and let it be heard, but when you do, the reward for everyone involved can be immeasurable!