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August, 2007


by Webmaster

I'm lucky. I've been working with a vocal and performance coach, Christy Wessler. There's an old saw: those that can't, teach. Christy is the exception to the rule. She is a fabulous performer and a fabulous coach.

Recently, I performed with a good musician. He studied music in college and has been performing for many years. He bemoans his lack of gigs and asks people to help him get more gigs. While he is a good musician, I feel he could benefit from some performance coaching, and suggested that to him. He replied, "I've been to school to study music and there's nothing a coach could teach me that I don't already know."

The best atheletes know the value of coaching. At every level, there are team and individual coaches. Olympic stars get where they are by working intensely with a coach. Actors work with dialect coaches for specific parts. A director of a play or movie is a coach.

"We all have talent. The lucky ones are born with it, but most of us have to develop it. I’m not talking just about artistic talent. I’m also talking about the talent that can help make you a successful artist manager, booking agent, record producer, executive and business person. Examine the talent you have, and see what you need to develop in order to advance toward your goal." — Jim Halsey, "The Keys to Power of Performance, Pt. I"

As far as I'm concerned, my coach is a miracle worker. She's taken me much farther than I ever thought I could go. We discuss my vocal technique as it applies to each song I perform. We also discuss the arrangement for each song I do, and the selection and order of songs (the set list). I appreciate her feedback, and feel like my work with her is making me a better performer and entertainer.

Since she was a former president of the Denver chapter of N.S.A.I., we also discuss my original songs. She frequently makes suggestions that help me improve the songs I write. Her feedback is also making me a better songwriter.

And, she is a cheerleader. We share my accomplishments, set goals, and work through my failures.

"Sometimes it seems as though personality is like talent; some people are simply born with it. This isn’t so. There are people who have the ability to present themselves better than others, but they usually can do this only after training and lots of experience. And in making a good presentation of yourself, you develop your personality." — Jim Halsey, "The Keys to Power of Performance, Pt. I"

Last January, I had an opportunity to work briefly with a life coach. I was impressed. I was at a stuck place, after discovering that some of my childhood experiences were keeping me from doing what I wanted to do. That coach was adept at seeing the heart of the problem, and asking me questions that got me past my stuck place. In addition, the life coach made suggestions for things I could do that would help me be more successful on a personal level.

Somehow, working with my voice and performance coach is like life coaching: it helps me identify things that are keeping me from being as successful as I want to be and it helps me get past those stuck places.

Like the suggestions from the life coach, the suggestions from my performance coach are up to me to follow. I can see which ones are meaningful to me at this time and which ones I'm actually capable of doing. The only tests for what I've learned are what I do, in my life and on stage. I have chances to improve.

I come away from my coaching session feeling wonderful about myself and my future. I really can't imagine why someone would not want to feel that way.

"If your attitude is bad, nothing is going to work for you. If it’s good, your attitude will enhance your dealings with others and make your performance better. If you’re a performer, your good attitude will radiate out from the stage and engage the audience. ...You have to understand that maintaining a positive attitude is, simply, an important aspect in the pursuit of a quality life. Life is a process of constant change, and with these changes often come problems – but these problems and changes bring growth. Sometimes, that’s a hard fact to realize while working through one of life’s difficulties, but maintaining a positive attitude always helps you get through." — Jim Halsey, "The Keys to Power of Performance, Pt. I"

Have you had any experience with a performance coach that you would like to share and see published here? Please contact me: Webmaster

Thanks for visiting AcousticByLines. And, thanks to Disc Makers for making Jim Halsey's article, "The Keys to Power of Performance, Pt. I," available to me.

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