Secrets of the Cards: SAVI at MTEA

Once a year, teachers from musical theater programs all over the world gather to share best practices and new developments in their field at the annual meeting of the Musical Theater Educators Alliance (MTEA). The attendees are a “who’s who” of the field of musical theater performance training – singing teachers, dance teachers, acting teachers, […]

From Playbill.com: Top College Experts on What You Need to Know to Survive Your Performing Arts Freshman Year

Robert Viagas of Playbill.com posted these survival tips based on years of watching freshmen stumble–and succeed a little more than a week ago. The link I saved no longer works, but this is worthwhile information that deserves to hang around a little longer. All incoming freshman college students face a period of adjustment, but performing […]

Bit By Bit

I’ve got a new favorite catchphrase – “Just do your bits” – and it comes from a fascinating profile of the comedian and actress Maria Bamford that appeared in the current New York Times Magazine. Among its many insights, the article offers a behind-the-scenes view of the amount of labor – surprising, no doubt, to […]

“A Song That’s SAVI”

Insights from “The SAVI National Anthem” I’m a songwriter as well as a teacher, and I love it when I find ways to synergize my passions. A few years ago, I decided that setting Axiom One, the foundation of the SAVI System, to music would help my students remember it and embrace it: When I […]

Sell It, Baby!

I don’t know about you, but salesmen really turn me off. On the phone, at the door, in my inbox: it doesn’t matter where I encounter a sales pitch, I’m almost always hostile to the effort to sell me something. That’s probably why I used to cringe when I heard a particularly regrettable bit of […]

Bravo, Audra!

I originally wrote this a little over a year ago and posted it on my personal site, but it seems particularly relevant given Audra’s recent Tony Award triumph. In the spring of 2013, Audra MacDonald sang at Lincoln Center’s spring gala, and Stephen Holden from the New York Times was on hand to review her […]

No One Is Alone

The work of the singing actor is a lonely business. Sure, it might not seem that way at first. Singing actors are often in shows, either rehearsing or performing, and we feel ourselves come to life in the company of our fellow artists. And they’re often in classes, either attending college or high school or […]

Say the words!

That’s it, folks – the single most powerful piece of advice I can give a singer attempting to interpret a song in performance. Say the words! Time and again, my students have told me that when they’re feeling stumped by a song, lost in a fog of moods and sounds and prior interpretations that present […]

Why does it matter if we do good work?

Singing today from the hymnal of Seth Godin: As Jony Ive said, “When you realize how well you can make something, falling short, whether seen or not, feels like failure.” Practice is not the answer here. Practice, the 10,000 hours thing, practice alone doesn’t produce work that matters. No, that only comes from caring. From […]