Saying YES to Yourself

I will never forget an audition I did about 5 years ago for a rather large agency in Germany. My feedback - and I am not kidding - was simply, “You are good, but not perfect. You need to be perfect. Thank you and good-bye”.

I was left more than a little confused by that comment and found myself swimming in doubt and hurt. I wondered, “How can anyone ever be perfect!? Does this mean I will never make it? I see and hear so many people on stage that I personally don’t find to be perfect - what are they doing that I am not?!”

Five years and many, many auditions later, I now see clearly what was missing. Yes, my technique is much stronger and my stage experience has grown exponentially, but the biggest difference between the person I was then and the singer I am now is this:

I say YES to me.

I say YES to myself even when faced with extreme negativity. I know I am worthy of a job even if the high C wasn’t as powerful as it was earlier in the day. I believe in my talent and hard work even if it turns out I won’t be cast because I remind the director too much of his ex-wife (true story!). I respect myself enough to ask the jury member to stop looking at his phone and just listen for 5 minutes.

We professional musicians must 100% stand behind what we do and how we do it. This does not mean we are stubborn and inflexible; quite the contrary, we must always be learning and growing. It simply means we completely trust ourselves and our ability to make art. We have got to work, work, work so no matter what the circumstances may be, we can walk into an audition or onto a stage and deliver something we ourselves know is great. If we truly believe in what we do, others will as well.

Your performance does not have to please every single person on the planet; what one person finds “perfect” another finds 'boring'. Always remember, beauty and perfection are subjective and we must value ourselves in order to be valued.

My fellow musicians, I challenge you to be your most supportive fan instead of your own worst critic. Say YES to yourself. Trust in your talent and strive to be your best both technically and artistically but do so from a place of “I am enough” instead of “I am lacking”. I promise you, if you say YES to yourself, others will follow suit.

Anne Wieben is a freelance operatic soprano, currently residing in Vienna, Austria. For more information, check out her HELLOSTAGE profile Anne Wieben or visit her website: www.annewieben.com!
Author: Anne Wieben / edited by Nina HELLO STAGE
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