30 Jan 2014

Are You a 10 or a 1? Create Your Own Evaluation System To Ensure Singing Success



Are you assessing yourself and others in a manner that ensures positive progress? 


Do you want to grow in your artistry, but feel at times you are attempting to fix singing or performing issues in a random, haphazard fashion?


Do you ride the roller coaster of criticism and praise with directors, friends, or from feeling the crowd during your performance?


Do you listen to other performers passively, not knowing how to assess and learn from their work?


Create a Flexible System


For me, I like systems, tables, checklists and pie charts… So, when I was on this roller coaster, I thought, “Tricia, why not create a flexible system to address all areas of singing that are important to you?” I felt that bringing in some type of order to my process would take the chaos out of my head and put it on paper, adding objectivity and clarity to what I wanted to improve, and providing a great foundation to create a focused strategy.


Use it Often


I chose a similar evaluation process to what music students go through every semester when panels of teachers assess the student’s work… or what adjudicators use during a vocal competition…


But why only use it a few times a year?


And why not create your own to meet your specific needs?


World-Class Singer, Cynthia Lawrence, Judge for the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions Sharing Supportive Comments with the Singers


Not sure where to start? Try this…


Ask a Great Question


I believe it all starts with asking a better question. Not, “Why is my voice so terrible?” or “Why are my high notes always hard?” but rather, a question that adds in discovery and positive progress, like, “ How am I using my breath?” or “How is the focus of my tone?”


From Oprah to Tony Robbins – leaders and personal development coaches teach that our ability to ask great questions will serve us immensely in meeting our goals. 


I believe the level of how we are able to assess our results, and the results of others, determines how quickly we can progress in our artistry and the joy we will feel in our work.


The System at Work


Last week I attended two very different kinds of performing events – an open mic at a local restaurant/bar, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Auditions. While I thoroughly enjoyed each occasion, I was there on a mission: to ask great questions, study what I saw and heard, and then apply my observations. Both events provided the chance to listen and learn.


Take Lots of Notes


I took notes about lip and tongue placement, posture, diaphragmatic engagement, convincing gestures, character development, and even observed their “energy” when they walked on stage. I came home with lots of tools and ideas to try for my own betterment.


Below is a loosely constructed evaluation that use for my performances, and one that I keep as mental checklist when watching others.


Observe from a Loving Place


Let me add, when I am watching others, it is with a loving heart. I appreciate where we all are in presenting our music. I truly believe that each of us is doing the absolute best we can at that moment and the lessons gained from walking a musical path are priceless. Anyone that has the courage to sing has my instant respect, and while they perform, they are my greatest teachers.



My Questions



How am I using my breath?

How is my posture?

How is my vocal projection?

How is the focus of my tone?

Am I always on pitch?



Are my words easy to understand?

How am I singing my consonants?

How am I singing my vowels?



Are my rhythms accurate?

How is my musical phrasing?



Are my style choices appropriate?

Is my interpretation accurate?



Are my gesture choices serving the piece?

Do I have clear character choices?

Does my audience believe me?

Are all my transitions smooth?

How am I entering and exiting the stage?

Is my wardrobe serving my intention?


My System Evolves With Me


As I grow in my own ability to assess, this list adjusts to include specifics to which I am drawn. My system grows with me. Sometimes I may use numbers to rate my performance, adding one or two words for clarification, or at other times I will journal to work through a targeted area. This week, I am preparing for and doing an audition… you can be sure my self-evaluation form is close at hand.


Create Your Own Empowering Evaluation System

1. Pick the areas of singing and performing that are important to you

2. Create some great questions for each area

3. Create a word document evaluation form with these areas and questions

4. Print out 10 evaluation forms

5. Whole punch them

6. Put evaluation forms in a notebook

7. After performing or attending a performance fill one out

8. Track your patterns, create a plan, and celebrate your successes


Create your own flexible evaluation system and take the judgments and agendas out of your head and put them on paper. With your new assessment process, the next time you listen to someone or want to improve a recording of yourself, you will have more tools to ensure your success and have a starting point to better meet your performing goals.


Is there something missing from my list? What would you add to help you in the evaluation process? I would love to hear from you. Comment below, and if you know a friend that could benefit from this post… pass it on! As a creative community, we want to support each other at every turn.


Hello from the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver! – I am still on cloud nine after hearing such beautiful singing at the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions.


Happy Singing!


Always Rejoice In Your Voice™!




One comment

  1. This seems like a great idea for a number of circumstances, not only singing and performing, but of course teaching and presenting in a variety of situations. Have to try this! Thanks.


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