I know in my last blog I promised you some more detailed practice tips. Hold on to your hats,that is coming. However, I have to take a time out and talk about the importance of song choice and presentation as a whole. If you watched the couples’ figure skating event of the 2018 Olympics, you might be starting to get where my title came from. Russian pair skaters, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Moroza took some criticism for their outfits and song choice. They skated to Christina Aguilera’s “Candy Man” in black and yellow polka dotted outfits! Commentator and former skater, Tara Lipinski said it best, “When you go to the Oscars you where Oscar de la Renta, not a party dress.”
I felt sorry for the Russian pair, because I think they just got some bad advice. The lesson here: stand up for yourself and really know what you do well. Did this team’s music and costume choice cost them the podium? I think you can make a solid case for yes, it did. These were make or break decisions in this case. These bad choices trickled down, got into their heads, and ultimately, negatively affected their performance.
What can we learn from their unfortunate experience in Pyeongchang?
- Take ownership of your song choice
Let your teacher guide you. Listen to their rationale behind the choices they’ve made for you. Really put your best effort into learning everything that comes your way. But, when the rubber meets the road, you are the one at the audition, the recital, etc., make sure you are 100% comfortable with what you are presenting. Present what you do best. Not to be confused with what you like best. Sometimes these are the same, and sometimes, they are not.
- Understand what is appropriate for the event
Is it an audition? A formal recital? Jam session or karaoke with friends? Every performance is unique, and sensitivity to what is expected and appropriate is crucial. That doesn’t mean you can’t do something unexpected, but even that can still be appropriate. Here are two other examples from the Olympics: when Red Gerard won the gold for snowboarding and dropped the f-bomb like a million times, this was unexpected and inappropriate. But, when Mirai Nagasu successfully did the triple axel – what no woman in figure skating had done successfully in competition – that was unexpected, but completely appropriate.
- Dress for Success
I think this speaks for itself, but here are some guidelines and examples. I say always dress a notch better than what you think the event calls for. Is it an evening recital? Probably a gown or dress for ladies and a coat and tie for gentlemen is the way to go. Is it an afternoon performance or morning competition? Maybe a casual dress, skirt, or dress pants is okay for women, and men could probably lose the tie and/or coat. Is it an audition? In general, dress for the part you want. Do the audition guidelines say “dress comfortable?” Be careful with this one. I once took them at their word and got dinged for wearing jeans. For singers, if there is a dance portion to the audition, consider taking a change of clothes for that part. So, if your desired outcome is to give a fun, entertaining performance, maybe black with yellow polka dots is the way to go. But, if your desired outcome is to be on the podium at the Olympics, then maybe not.
Please let your presentation accurately reflect all of the hard work you’ve put into your art. You want people to remember how talented you are not your horrendous wardrobe choice or bad song pick.
Now go wow people!