Taking care of your instruments

Would a painter leave his (or her) easel sitting out in the rain? Would a violinist not take the utmost care of his (or her) violin? When something is your livelihood you guard it, almost with your life. Being a creative performer my instruments are my voice, my body, and my mind. I have to nurture these things in the same way mother would her child.

As an actress, spoken word artist and speaker; it is very important that my voice has variety. Can it be strong when necessary? Can I project my voice to the last seat in a venue? Can I be heard and more importantly can I be understood? Do I need to work on my articulation, pronunciation and enunciation? Do I know how to use the right inflection and intonation to effectively get the point across? Can I correctly master dialect? Can I completely drop my own dialect? It’s important that I exercise my voice by doing warm-ups and other exercises. It also important to protect myself against illness by being properly nourished and wearing the proper attire during cooler weather. It’s also very important that I don’t damage my vocal cords with excessive or years of drinking and smoking which has been proven to be harmful.

My physique is also a very important part of my business. I need to have endurance, stamina and agility for times when I need to dance (and don’t mention singing simultaneously). My walk and posture need to exude confidence. No director wants to work with an actress who constantly needs affirmation and can never fully commit to a physical action because she isn’t exactly comfortable in her own skin. When you don’t love your body, it’s painfully obviously to everyone else. (Especially if your job is to study human behavior and body language.) Nobody will listen to a motivational speaker whose posture says, “I’m unhappy” or “I’m depressed”. These things are very important. I work out because I want the best instrument possible. I eat healthy because I know it’s essential that I remain energized and in good health. Eating healthy not only gives you energy but it helps your body function at it’s peak, grows healthy hair and beautiful skin that doesn’t age as quickly.

Everyone in the world has to use their mind and brainpower. Being able to quickly think critically and creatively is important. Having an interesting interpretation, a vast imagination and impressive memory is essential for cold readings, auditions, writing poems, plays and speeches. Being a creative thinker helps you get yourself out of unpleasant situations. Being innovative puts you steps ahead of your competitors. I train my brain by constantly reading and learning new things learning how to think positive and by doing creative visualization and memory exercises.

To many people this seems like too much work or maybe like huge sacrifice. I say create a paradigm shift. Have fun with it instead of viewing it as work. Enjoy it. A wise man once said, “don’t judge your success by what you have but by what you gave up to get it”.

What’s your instrument? How do you train and hone your skills?


The Artist Pledge

The ability to create is truly a God-given gift. God, the master creator, has given us all a part of himself. When a painter paints his energy he goes into every stroke of the brush.

Artistry’s purpose is to move you; inspire you; entertain you; persuade you; provoke an emotional response. Nowadays there are too many “artists” content with the profit that comes along with promoting promiscuity, violence, materialism, womanizing and drug abuse. Although art is a reflection of society, it should aid in it’s progression, not contribute to its regression.

Do people not know that the content they pushed into the world directly affects individuals, especially a young and impressionable one. Let’s use our divine talents to uplift others, realizing that this life isn’t all about you.

If you are reading this and you’re a writer, musician, instrumentalist, singer, rapper, poet or an artist of any sort I dare you to join this pledge. Pledge to inform, educate, lift the consciousness, inspire and entertain our audiences!

Making a commitment to YOU,

Many people will take care of commitments to others and neglect their own (not saying that you should follow through with your commitments). We see it all the time and the person we are looking at just might be looking back at us in the mirror. The mom who uses all her energy to care for her children and husband but has nothing left for herself. The man working crazy hours when he’d rather be home bonding with his children or working on opening his own business. We can kill ourselves to be there for other people and employers; can we put this much effort and commitment to ourselves.

You may have wanted to write a book, take a vacation, go to the spa, start a business but time and lack of energy has talked you out of it.

When we want or need something, we have to take full responsibility of making it happen, no one else will.

Yesterday after church I decided I to fast. I wasn’t going to watch TV,eat, listen to music, use the telephone or Internet. I needed some time to exist without noise, without any outside influence, spend some time with God. By the end of the night I turned on the TV and ate some chicken salad and crackers. I completely broke my commitment to myself and more importantly to God. Well the cracker I was eating broke off one of my teeth. My tooth scratched my tongue all night and I can’t consume solid food for at least 30 hours, maybe longer. (I have a dentist appointment tomorrow) I’m sure this would have eventually happened, (Not saying this was a punishment or anything) but it certainly sucks that it happened now, like this. I’m going to take it as a lesson learned. I constantly make commitments to myself and God but I rarely keep them. From now on, I will follow through on these commitments the same way I would for a job or a friend.

When you compromise on your own commitments and goals, you’re compromising yourself.