Updated: Jan 8
Leslie Knope is not only one of the funniest ladies ever on television- she is also one of the most inspiring. Her quirky brand of wisdom will see you through the rejections, tough lessons, and bad auditions all the way to the standing ovations.
Singers get opinions from a lot of people-- coaches, teachers, directors, colleagues, audience members, and everyone and anyone in between-- and they are not always the most helpful. Even the most constructive criticism can sometimes feel like an attack. Take a step back, process the advice, and evaluate if and how you want to implement it. Especially when a teacher or musician you respect takes the time to criticize you, they are doing it because they are invested in your career and want you to succeed, not to tear you down.
A career in singing often means making sacrifices. You have to spend hours toiling in a practice room, scrolling through YapTracker, sitting in rehearsals, and traveling between auditions. Before a big performance or audition, you can’t take any chances, so you have to miss getting drinks with your friends. This lifestyle is not always the most fun or glamorous, but all the hard work will get you to your goal. Try to make the most of the less-than-fun activities. For example, if you have to go to bed early before a performance, pamper yourself: take a bath, make a cup of tea, and cuddle up with your favorite movie. You'll be relaxed and ready to go the next day, and you won't miss the bar too much.
We often brush off all of our successes to focus on our failures. That strife for perfection makes us better, but ignoring the positives makes an often thankless career even tougher. Savor every ovation, and celebrate the small victories too. Let yourself be happy when you finally learn that difficult passage or make progress toward a technical goal. It’s easy to focus on the bad, but don’t forget to enjoy the good.
Being a singer can be taxing on your confidence-- you’ve basically decided to get criticized and rejected for a living. But you’ve survived it all! You’re strong, and even though times can get tough, you’ve gotten through it before and you will get through it again.
Singing is so challenging that it can consume our lives, so sometimes you need to take a step back from it. Your work is a significant portion of your life, but remember that it’s only a portion. We’ve all had times when we’ve fixated on singing at the expense of health and happiness, and when that happens, the singing doesn’t even improve! Instead, we drive ourselves straight over the point of diminishing returns. You can’t be a successful singer or a successful human without cultivating other aspects of your life. Make time for all of your priorities and you’ll be able to find balance even in this crazy career.
The moral of this story is in order to have fulfilling professional and personal lives, we need to find a good work-life balance. It can be hard to leave your work at work. But if you take care of yourself and your personal life, you will be more balanced and better able to give your all when you perform. Then you can truly quote Leslie Knope and say: