Tag Archives: audition

Get Over Stage Fright

Get Over Stage Fright: Rehearse in Front of People

I’ll start by sharing an anecdote about an audition I had many years ago (let’s not get into dates here). I had just graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s in English, but had decided that running my a cappella group and geeking out about vocal technique was by far my most meaningful activity there and that I wanted to teach music for a living. Ever the perfectionist, I decided that I needed a second degree in vocal music in order to accomplish this goal well (something that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to future musicians in a similar situation, but we can get into that in a different post).

This is all a long way of saying that I decided to audition to do a Bachelor’s of Music at Chapman University and that my debilitating fear of auditions was going to make it an uphill battle. I was so used to crumbling at auditions and dreaded the inevitable dry throat, shaky legs, shallow breath and uncontrollably fast heartbeat.

So I decided to use a new strategy. I would wear out all this anxiety by getting it out of my system ahead of time. I sang my audition song to anyone willing to listen: my voice teacher, family, friends, and even neighbors. I would ring random doorbells of neighbors I didn’t know that well, explain the situation, and ask if I could sing for them. Let me tell you, it doesn’t get much scarier than that. One of the neighbors, in an effort to be helpful, even stared at me stone-faced and wrote down notes about my performance.

The good news? When I got to my audition, I had not only rehearsed the piece a billion times, but it wasn’t really all that scary singing in front of the friendly music director. My sympathetic nervous system had already worn itself out on singing for all the neighbors.

My point is that an amazing way to combat stage fright is to get it out of the way ahead of time. Sing for family, sing for friends, sing for teachers. Sing for people who make you nervous. Find people you think will judge you a little, because if they do, they aren’t the ones who really count anyway, since they aren’t the ones doing the casting.

Check out our other strategies for getting over stage fright, and please share your own stories and strategies in the comments!

Audition for San Diego Opera

My Audition for San Diego Opera

The following was written by our voice teacher and resident opera singer, Anne after her audition for San Diego Opera, one of the top opera companies in the country.

Friday night, I stood outside a building in San Diego at 9:10pm. I double checked the email again, and punched in the number code written, slowly and deliberately, as the email had mentioned I should. I waited a second, the door clicked open. I was in. Marble floors accentuated the click of my heels as I caught my reflection in the ornate mirrors to either side of me. The building had a 1920’s feel to it, and it felt way too classy for me to be in. What the heck am I doing here, I thought. I was nervous.

Two weeks previous to this night a good friend had texted me to let me know that San Diego Opera would be having auditions for their chorus for the upcoming season. Now, San Diego is one of the top opera houses in the United States. Principal work there would require management and years of experience. But chorus work, now that was something I was fully qualified for. I had tried to audition for them years ago, before my resume was built up, and had been rejected without them ever hearing me (which is not uncommon). But now I had a resume. And also, apparently, all you had to do this time was pick a time. I went online, filled everything in, and chose April 20th at 9:51pm. So there I was, dressed up, with my binder stocked with audition rep, nervously shifting as I waited for the elevator to descend.

Of course, there really wasn’t a blank between those two weeks. Between those times was a lot of preparation. Some of the work had already been done. What makes opera auditions different from musical theater auditions is that they the way we choose our songs varies. I am not worried if the song is overdone (trust me, one of the songs was Mozart. It is, without a doubt, overdone). When they say they want two of contrasting style, it is more a contrasting time period than a ballad and uptempo song. Both my arias were uptempo. One was written in 1789, the other in 1946. Believe me, they were contrasting. And these aren’t 36-bar cuts. They are the full thing. I memorized them, sang through them, worked out the characters on them, had actually already performed one of the roles, and sang through them multiple times. I had all of the information that was emailed to me and I was ready to go. And I was back in my car, having gotten to the parking lot at 8:00pm, if not earlier, waiting for 9:30, the time I told myself I would go in. It was 9:10. I was nervous. I knew looking at my music would make it worse, so I decided it was time to go in.

I walked to the building, a sign on the door letting me know that I was in the right place. Deep breath. This was the big time. Punch the code in, walk inside. Deep breath. We were here in the first paragraph, I hit the elevator button. Deep breath. Walk into the elevator, hearing the empty click of my heels. Deep breath. Enter the code into the keypad, choose the floor they tell me to go to. The elevator lurches up. I remember to breath. I get off the elevator and turn down the hall.

A woman is sitting at the desk in the room at the end. A sign tells me that this is the San Diego Opera Corporate Offices. “Are you Anne?” I am taken a back. I’m not late, am I? There is no way I could be late! “I thought I was early…” I respond. “You are. But so was everyone else, and there was a long break before you. Are you ready, or do you want some time?” I tell her that I just need to get a drink of water, if she can point me to a water fountain or bathroom. She does. My mouth is incredibly dry. I drink water out of the tap in the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror. Here I go.

I walk back into the room and tell her I’m ready. Why sit around and wait anymore. She types
to them and tells them that I am ready. Then she waits. We make small talk, which has never been one of my strong suits. Just breathe, I tell myself. You found that space today, you can find it again. You know what you are doing. The good thing is that there is no one ahead of me. There is no one for me to judge myself against, or pressure myself to sound like. I have a light voice, operatically speaking, and nothing gives me an inferiority complex like some woman singing Violetta’s death aria with long, silky, legato lines when I know I’m going up there next with a song that is literally laughing into a telephone. The laugh requires a high D, I keep telling myself. Time passes, they don’t respond. I find myself staring at a poster. I have no idea what the heck opera that is supposed to be. The woman gets up, she is going to tell them that I am here and ready to go. She doesn’t think they saw her note. I am amazed that anyone can walk into an audition room with such nonchalance. I long for that.

“They’re ready for you,” she tells me. I go in. The room is small, there is a woman at the piano, and two men sitting at a table. I am taken aback. This is the same situation as every other audition I have ever done. A person at a piano. Two unimpressed looking people sitting at a fold-out table. I’ve done this before, I tell myself. I’ve done this a hundred times. I hand the accompanist my music. I stand in front of the two men. “Hi, my name is Anne LaBella, and I will be singing “Una donna quindici anni.” I forget to tell them it is from Cosi Fan Tutti by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. To be fair, I’m pretty sure they knew that.

Let me break in my narrative quickly to inform you that for the last four months I have been doing an intensive through a vocal studio in Los Angeles. This intensive is for singers who, like me, know what they are doing. When I work with a student, I can hear what needs to be changed and I know how to fix it. But humans have an amazing way of getting in our own way, and artists of all sorts seem especially prone to this. In auditions, I would find myself locking up. That freedom and ease I feel on stage was replaced with the single thought, “They are judging me. I want them to like me!” I had made breakthroughs with this intensive. I noticed areas of tension dropping away, my mindset changing to more healthy ways to view my singing, and an ability to make the necessary adjustments in the audition that I need to make. This audition was the culmination of a lot of that work.

There is no introduction to the Mozart. The pianist plays a “D,” and then I take it from there. The placement of the voice felt good. It was hard to tell, the room was dead and I did what a singer should do; I relied on what my body was telling me and not what my ears were telling me. My ears would tell me to push, that I needed to be louder. But my support knew better. It knew what to do, and I let it. I placed the voice where it should be, and proceeded to inform the auditioners that once a woman hits 15, she really should know how to keep the attention of all men and never actually give them anything for it, and I, Despina, know what this is all about. I distinctly remembered to “drink in the sound” (inalare la voce, if I were to use bel canto
terms) at the end of the aria. Okay, that was the one I was worried about. I messed up some words, but I kept going. Did they know, yes, probably. But it’s okay. It is done.

“Thank you,” one of the men says. Okay, this is it. It is over. They are going to send me out. I’m not going to do any of the sight reading. They didn’t like me. “Can you sing a bit of the Menotti for us?” “Of course,” I say.

Now, here is where I make a mistake. I forget to tell the pianist my tempo. I didn’t for the Mozart, but remember, this is an opera audition. We all know Mozart. He is bread and butter. As a classical singer, if I could only ever sing one composer for the rest of my life, it would be Mozart. If I could only ever sing two composers for the rest of my life, it would be Mozart and also Mozart. You get the idea. But the Menotti, while accepted within the general circle as proper canon (I mean, the song is in the Schirmer book of soprano solos after all) is a little less well known. I don’t give her a tempo. She plays it slowly. I don’t blame her. There are a lot of notes on that page, and about 30% of them make little sense.

I proceed to then ignore the auditioners while I talk to Margaret on the phone. Margaret talks a lot. To be fair, so do I. I also laugh a lot. There is a video on YouTube of a white fox laughing. That is what my laugh sounds like. I keep waiting for them to stop me. We are 2/3s done by the time they tell me to stop. I messed up the runs. I don’t actually know if they know that. I kept singing, and ended with the pianist, so there was that. I also laugh really well, if you are interested in casting someone who can play a fox. They should have let me finish though. The ending of the song is part of the joke.

“Okay, thank you.” I’m ready to leave again. “Please go over there and take a look at measure 45.” I look at measure 45. It is marked Soprano I. How did they know? “You can sing on solfegge or any other syllable of your choosing. This is the tempo.” He beats the tempo. I sing. I sight read a lot. I do it for my job. I’m pretty good at it. But you know when you are pretty good at something and then you get nervous and suddenly you are terrible? That isn’t quite what happened. I did pretty well. The ending got a little weird. I breathed after I was done.

“Okay, can you look at the top paragraph. There is a translation underneath if you want to read that first.” It is a joke in Italian. I look at the translation. I look at the Italian. I can do a quick, basic translation in my head, so I am able to line up the important words. I tell the joke as if it were a joke. I stumble on a word. I keep going. I very much want to cry.

“Okay, thank you very much,” they say. I can’t tell if being there for that long is a good thing. I say thank you to them and to the pianist. I say thank you to the woman sitting at the desk. I go down the elevator, which doesn’t need a code if you are just going to the first floor. I walk out of the fancy, bright lobby into the dark San Diego streets. I walk to my car that is in the parking lot across the street. I get in, turn the key, and breathe. That was the most important audition of my life, and also the one where I felt the most in control and the most competent. Success.

Academy of the Performing Arts: An Interview With Drew

Academy of the Performing Arts: An Interview With Drew

Because so many of our students audition for local performing arts programs, we decided to put together a collection of interviews with students who’ve successfully auditioned and been accepted to various programs. We’ll start with the ultra-talented Drew, who was just accepted into Huntington Beach’s Academy of the Performing Arts (APA) as a musical theatre major for next year. Drew shares her experience about her prep work for the audition and about the audition itself and even kindly offers her email address so that perspective students can get in contact with her and ask questions.

MM: Can you outline to me what you did to help prepare for your audition? Did you feel like preparation was an important part of your success?

DD: Preparation is the key to success. Without preparing myself and rehearsing over and over again, I wouldn’t have felt confident going into the audition room. I prepared by choosing my audition songs about 3 months in advance and just practiced as much as I could. It’s quite simple.

MM: Can you describe the audition process itself? Was there anything unexpected, or did it go like you thought that it would?

DD: So there was a dance, acting, and singing audition. During the dance audition we learned a short dance routine and auditioned in groups of four. In acting and singing there were about 4 or 5 people behind the table and I auditioned with no other students in the room. During my singing audition I only sang one of my audition songs and the pianist played some notes on the piano for me to match pitch with. I was at the school for about 3 hours since there were so many people auditioning but the actual auditions only lasted about 5 minutes each. Everything went smoothly and I wasn’t surprised that I only had to sing one of the two songs I prepared.

MM: Did you find preparing for the audition, or the audition itself, to be a bigger challenge?

DD: Honestly, preparing for auditions is always easy for me. I have an extensive knowledge of musical theatre audition songs and a musical theatre repertoire book that I can use for auditions. If you don’t know what a repertoire book is, it’s a binder filled with audition songs that are in your range and are a wide variety of different types of songs. Always have classic and contemporary songs, uptempos and ballads, and comedic and dramatic. I have a few pop songs in my rep book as well because you never know when the director might call for a pop song to be sung at auditions! I also fill my rep book with an array of different monologues. And I was nervous for the audition itself but it was over in about 10 minutes and went better than I expected!

MM: Do you have any thing that you do to help you calm down before the audition, or are you one of the lucky few who don’t get nervous?

DD: I’m one of those auditioners who seems like they’re calm and confident but on the inside I’m pretty nervous. I always try to calm myself by:

  1. Taking deep breaths
  2. Drinking lots of water because being hydrated can really calm you somehow
  3. Giving yourself pep talks! You can do it!

MM: How did it feel when you found out that you got accepted?

DD: Amazing! I felt that my audition material was great and my resume and essay were written well. I couldn’t stop smiling for a week.

MM: What are you most looking forward to in attending APA?

DD: Overall just getting to be around all my friends. I have been online schooled for the past 2 years so I sadly haven’t gotten to see many of them.

MM: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

DD: If anyone is auditioning for APA like I did and needs help finding audition songs, monologues, or just needs some advice feel free to email me at drewnicoleeee@gmail.com. I always love getting to help people find the perfect audition material for them!

How to Cut an Audition Song

How to Cut an Audition Song

When you see singing audition notices, you’ll often see instructions like, “32-bar cut,” “16-bar cut,” “one-minute cut,” and the like. But what does that mean, and how do you cut an audition song. And more than that, how do you know which section to choose or what latitude you have with these cuts and the keys you’re allowed to sing in?

What is a Bar

Let’s start with what a 32-bar or 16-bar cut means. Some professional auditions have even moved down to an 8-bar cut. Let’s look at “Tomorrow,” a song you’ll probably never want to show up for an audition with, unless you’re called back for the part of Annie.

Image result for tomorrow sheet music

If you’ve never studied an instrument or learned to read music, look at those little rectangles, which include the words, “sun-ll come out__to-mor-row” in one and “bet your bot-tom dol-lar that to-” in another. Each one of those is a bar (also known as a measure).

Now if your audition notice says “32-bar cut,” you’ll simply count around 32 of those. If it’s a 16-bar cut, you’ll choose 16. And so on. Many new auditioners will make the mistake of just choosing the first 32 because it’s the easiest way to go. But it’s much smarter to count out your most impressive and versatile bars. If the first 32 bars just constitutes the first 2 verses, for example, it’s a much better idea to cut the second verse and move to a chorus or a bridge. Or even start on the chorus and sing through the bridge–whatever shows you off the best! Just make sure that the bars you choose are well marked for your accompanist (if there is one), or that your backing track is cut correctly (if you’re using a backing track). Also leave room for some sort of intro so that you can easily know when to come in.

Does it Have to Be Exact?

Nah, probably not. If your cut is 30 bars or 34 bars in order to keep it from being an awkward end point, don’t sweat it. It’s unlikely you’ll get cut off or annoy anyone.

What If It’s a Minute Cut

Same rules apply. Pick your strongest minute. You’ll probably want some combination of verse-chorus-bridge if it’s possible to get all of that in. If not, pick your most impressive sections for your voice, and don’t repeat music too much (i.e. you probably don’t want to sing the chorus twice, unless the repeated chorus does something different and impressive).

What If a Cut Isn’t Listed

If it’s a musical theatre audition, learn the whole song, but be prepared with a shorter cut (32 bars is good) in case they ask. For a pop audition, like American Idol, choose your most shining moments and weave them together. Even if you aren’t asked to cut the song, you probably don’t want to come in and sing through a bunch of repetitive verses.

Can I Change the Key?

It depends! For professional musical theatre, you’re highly encouraged to stick with the original key and come in with a song sung by a part you could get cast as (i.e. don’t come in with “Stars” from Les Mis if you’re a soprano female). If you’re going in for a pop audition, you have a little more leeway. Choose a key that’s both impressive and manageable. If you’re singing a cappella, just make sure you have a way of figuring out your starting note so that you don’t accidentally start too high or low.

Have any audition questions? Leave them in the comments section below!

How to Make a Monologue Sound Natural

How to Make a Monologue Sound Natural

The following was written by one of our top voice and monologue coaches, Anne.

The hardest thing for a young actor is making the monologue not sound memorized. It is, of course, memorized. That is a requirement for any actor. But the trick is to make it seem not memorized. And that is where the difficulty comes in. How do you make something that is memorized seem to not be memorized? Magic? Possibly. But a more mundane, attainable option is to make sure you are clear about where the beats go.

Beats Aren’t Just Part of Music

Wait! Beats are part of music. Monologues don’t have music. If they did, they would be songs. That is true. But it is also true that all human language has beats. If someone speaks with a lot of long pauses, we read hesitation. If they speak quickly, with words pouring out of their mouth, we read excitement. We are able to read this hesitation or excitement in the speed and timing of human language, just like we do with a song. But since plays and, therefore, monologues have no composer to write the rhythm in for us, it is our job as actors to figure out how to put them in.

Listen to People in Real Life

Pay close attention the next time someone is talking to you. Chances are that they will stop a little bit. They might need time to think of the next thing to say, or might need time to react to what has just been said to them. There might be a moment when they are waiting for someone else to react. Those pauses, when we are referring to monologue preparation, are beats. It is a point in the monologue where you intentionally stop talking. Your character might be taking time to think of something, they might need to remember an event before they can say it. A memory might have knocked them off their feet for a minute, or they are waiting to see if the other character (who may or may not be there) is going to say something. But those pauses are necessary so that we understand what is happening, and understand why the character is reacting the way that they are. We need to read the character the way we read the people that meet every day.

What Are Beats So Important

Why else are the beats so important? Because they are what help us not sound like we are simply reciting something memorized. They are what allow us to get that organic flow of words that is the bridge between recitation and acting. It is a time to silently develop the character, to allow them to be a little bit more real and human to the audience. Another thing that makes the beats important is that they help us slow down. We are filled with adrenaline when we audition and perform, and that makes us speed up, which can cause us to lose some of the emotional impact. Paying attention to the spacing allows us to not only create an organic, emotive monologue, but also to maintain it when it truly matters.

How to Put Beats In

If you are unsure how to put beats in, start simple. Read through your monologue. Put in two beats (count one, two in your head if that helps) after each comma, and one beat (count one) after each comma. That alone will begin to slow down the monologue and make it feel less rushed. Practice like that for a while; get a feeling for what it feels like to go slowly. Then begin to take apart the monologue a little bit, what I like to think of as “going over it with a fine-tooth comb.” We are looking for the details to make the big picture bigger. Does your character have to think of a reason why something is, or have to come up with a list off the top of their head? If they do, you’ll want to put in some more spacing. If someone asked you to list ten birds, it might take you some time to think of them, even if you know them all. Unless, of course, your character has been practicing a list of ten birds, and they show off that skill in the monologue. Then the beats will be different. Understanding your character, and why they are saying what they are saying, will help you figure out timing for the monologue. Spend some time with who you think the character might be, and you might just find that the beats fall naturally.

musical theatre songs for pop voices

10 Musical Theatre Songs for Pop Voices

You’ve sung pop music all your life, but now an audition’s come up, and you need to sing a musical theatre song. Sound familiar? If this is the case, and you don’t have time to suddenly develop a legit musical theatre voice (think Rogers and Hammerstein), it’s very important that you don’t choose your audition song lightly. If you’ve only ever worked on singing Adele songs and haven’t developed your head voice, you’re going to seem massively out of your element if you show up with “The Beauty Is” or Vanilla Ice Cream. Luckily, there are plenty of musical theatre songs you can fairly convincingly pull off as a pop singer. Here are 10 great musical theatre songs for pop voices.
*Please note that if this is a Broadway audition, or something more professional, some of these are going to be overdone and should usually be avoided. But I’m guessing that if you’ve only sung pop music and have never worked on musical theatre before, you probably aren’t Broadway bound quite yet, in which case these will do just fine.

1. Blow, Gabriel, Blow

It’s low, it’s from Anything Goes and serves as classic musical theatre, and it doesn’t require much more than a belt. To fully sell this song, you’ll want to add some musical theatre vibrato, but you can totally sell it if you’re a good pop singer.

2. Lost in the Wilderness

Long before there was Wicked, there was the Stephen Schwartz musical Children of Eden. This wonderful pop-musical theatre song sung by Cain from the biblical Cain and Abel story is one of my favorites.

3. Part of That

This one is a go-to for me. As far as Jason Robert Brown songs go, it’s not one of the ones you hear constantly, despite the Last Five Years movie. It requires a good mixed belt and some acting chops.

4. King of the World

Since we’re on the Jason Robert Brown train, let’s just throw another one up here. “King of the World” is a beautiful, soulful number from Songs for a New World.

5. Everything Else

*Warning: this one uses profanity, so if you’re playing it for your kids, watch with caution. Stay away from this one as an audition piece if you’re too young to use swear words in your songs without making people uncomfortable. That being said, the character in Next to Normal is a teenager, and this is a fun one. It’s in a fairly easy belt range and is a great acting piece.

6. Beauty School Dropout

Here’s a classic one from Grease for you to have some fun with!

7. There Are Worse Things I Could Do

Let’s stick with Grease and throw in one for a girl. This one can definitely be a little overdone, though not egregiously, and it’s a great one for pop singers.

8. Wicked Little Town

If you’re young, pick the appropriate verses from this Hedwig number, or maybe just change “turning tricks” to something else, but regardless, this is a beautiful song with a beautiful sentiment: “And if you’ve got no other choice, you know you can follow my voice…”

9. Safer

It’s a Krysta Rodriguez song from First Date that’s fun to sing and isn’t as overdone as “Pulled.”

10. Hard to Be the Bard

There’s nothing hotter than Shakespeare, right? I bet you’ll be a giddy thing working on this Something Rotten number.

What are some of your favorite musical theatre songs that a mostly pop-trained voice can pull off? Let us know!

Student Spotlight: Angela T.

Our teacher Michael recommended Angela for this month’s Student Spotlight. Angela has lots of skills and accomplishments, including singing and dancing, and has participated in a number of auditions for South Korean entertainment shows. Here’s what Michael had to say about her: “Angela is great. She has really good natural singing ability, and has made rapid improvement. I can tell she works hard and puts in the practice to develop techniques with her voice (and most recently guitar!) She introduced me to K-pop, which is really cool and something new to me, and we always have a good time working through the songs she’s learning.

MM: What are some of your favorite hobbies, outside of music? Favorite school subjects, books, movies, shows, sports?

AT: Besides music, I like dancing because exercise assists me to release stress. I also like to read books about psychology. My favorite book is Transformation by Keigo Higashino, who is a Japanese author.

​The book is about a person who changes his personality after encountering a car accident. He changes his brain with a criminal who causes the accident. The protagonist was an excellent painter who has a smooth drawing style; however, his drawing style and personality become as violent as the criminal. He experiences a struggle with himself and the mind of being evil.

My favorite sport is bowling.

​ ​

My favorite subject is world history. As far as movies and shows, I love A Dog’s Tale, Mental Crime, Weekly Idol, and the K-pop show M Countdown

Basically M Countdown is not a program to pick the new idols or artists. It is for all the artists to get on the stage when they release a new song, and everyone who comes back at that time can join the performances, and there is a special scoring system that calculates the score of the artist’s song and album. It is kind of like a small reward for every week. The online music sale, album sale, and the social media searching rate will be counted in the system. two groups of artists will compete with each other, and the artist gets the highest score based on the system will get a refers to reward by the program.

MM: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

AT: I have been to many entertainment auditions (mainly South Korean companies). Different companies have different styles of choosing people, but mostly they will ask the people who join the audition to either dance or sing, and two judges will record the process of performing and send the video back to their company in South Korea. They won’t directly evaluate the people but they will say,”great you did a good job” after you perform well, but they will not tell you the result right after audition. They will discuss and see the videos with the whole team, and they will pick the people they want by emailing them or calling them. Basically every person has to sing without any background music, but a guitar is allowed. People who choose Dance have a background music to accompany with their dance.

MM: Oh wow! What’s your favorite audition?

AT: My favorite audition experience is my first audition experience with a company called YG Entertainment. It is my favorite entertainment in South Korea because my favorite artists are in this company and I really like the style of this company. It is very impressive experiencing it, but I was also nervous about performing well. I sang a song called “Lonely” by 2ne1. At that time I really had a lot of shortages and things to conquer because I was too nervous so I couldn’t sing very well at the beginning​​ . My volume was too small but after many experiences of auditions, I’m no longer scared to perform before people.

MM: How did you get started with music, and how long have you been singing? How long have you been taking lessons?

AT: After I saw the reaction of fans while they watch the concerts of their favorite artists, I decided to start with music because I feel like that music has power to bring people happiness. I want to make more people happy by listening to my music. I have been learning singing for 4 years. Initially, I learned classical rather than contemporary music. The singing style is pretty different from what I am doing now, but it helps me a lot with my basic skills. I learned classic singing for about 2 years and the contemporary singing for another 2 years.

MM: Who are a few bands/artists that have inspired you, and why?

AT: I am inspired by a group called Bigbang. Their music style varies but is mainly hip-hop. They also dance while they are singing, which is appealing to me a lot. They are the first group that made me desire to understand music and motivate me to perform on stage.

MM: Oh, are they why you also began dancing?

AT: Actually my parents asked me to dance when I was about three-years-old. I danced in a traditional dance style, but I’m not really interested in dancing because I just follow the order of my parents. Bigbang promoted me to learn singing more. Compared to singing I’m not that passionate about dancing, but after I saw some YouTubers dancing in the pop style, I found that is really cool to dance with the music. And at that time I went to a school that specializes in training people who want to be an idol. That’s the first time I learned dancing. I’m quite happy after taking the class. My friends say they can see the change in me after taking class there. Unfortunately, due to the time conflict I cannot take hip-hop class right now, but I’m planning to find new schools to learn more about dance.

MM: What are some of your favorite songs, and why?

AT: My favorite songs are: “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera (intense vocal, special tone); “Whistle” by Blackpink (impressive chorus); “Bermuda Triangle” by Dean, Zico and Crush (fancy rap).

MM: Do you share your musical skills with family, friends, or your community? How? And what’s been your favorite way to do so?

AT: I have shared many musical skills with my friends. My friends also like singing and dancing. I think it is intriguing that people grow together and enjoy the time performing together. I normally share some short vocal training music with them and give them suggestions while they are singing.

MM: What makes you keep up your practice, and what are your goals?

AT: I think it is my passion for music that makes me keep up practice. I will record my singing and check if there is anything I can improve. My goal is to have a better volume and learn more skills to make my voice sound better.

MM: Can you share about a technique, skill, or song you struggled with, and how you are overcoming or have overcome it?

AT: I used to struggle with the song “Love Me Harder” by Ariana Grande because there is a lot of vibrato, and I do not know how to sing it at all. After the class by Michael, I learned that I can separate the note to another three or four and practice slowly then speed up.

MM: What advice would you give to other students just starting out?

AT: I want to encourage the new students to show your talent confidently. Everything just starts and there are many chances to improve yourself and show your music to people. Keep working and believe you can achieve your goal!