What are you preparing for?

An audition?

A part in a musical?

A career in music?

American Idol?

America’s Got Talent?

A lifetime of working in the performing arts?

Are they all the same? Ask the ones who received national attention on TV talent contests, only to discover they were not ready for a sustainable career. A sustainable career requires having simple things: like, vocal endurance, to be able to spend hours in a studio, recording, and having the fortitude to persevere despite everything.

Excuses, being vocally tired, being unable to keep the artistic and technical and musical aspects of your singing for hours at a time mean nothing to industry professionals. A recording company invests millions of dollars into an artist. If you have not prepared to deliver, how can you then have the idea that you, in any way, deserve that investment?

Mental preparedness is where it all begins or where it eventually falls apart. I have seen many, many singers who have had the talent but lacked the mental toughness to ever get beyond the level and accolades of karaoke lounges. They thrive on praise but choke on real work. Getting one song together to a level of acceptability is light years away from getting 15 songs together for recording and concert tours. When the voice fails in a performance, the mind is quick to follow.

This is not to say that a person cannot recover from failure, because true failure is quitting after the problem occurs. This further substantiates that preparing is the only real hope of ever succeeding. Part of this is being ultra clear on your goals.

Michelangelo, a true and proven artist, said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” With that in mind, goals and dreams are not the same thing. Wishes and hopes are good things but pursuing a goal requires studying the things which have invariably worked for others who have succeeded. It requires “follow up” and “follow through”.

Michelangelo was an artist, not a contestant. Artists make an entire lifetime of making art. This has everything to do with setting our aim high. You have to see beyond the short term goals and be ready for the long term goals, as they show up.