Make a plan, and let go.

This past year, I've debuted some of my favorite roles ever, traveled to gorgeous cities, met so many amazing musicians and conductors and made music with them. This job is very fulfilling, but I've esp. enjoyed working with young artists this past season in lessons and masterclasses. The upcoming young classical singers are giving me LIFE. I find so much joy in conversation with why we do this silly, crazy, dramatic art-form.

Lessons from artists of all ages:

I worked with a young artist in Indianapolis, while singing Violetta. She inspired me with her fearlessness, her curiosity, her joy. During a masterclass in Whitewater, a tenor gave me chills when he let go technically at the risk of cracking and it paid off. These situations remind me that we all are working towards the same thing - technically - to have a plan, and then let go - in all categories of life, that works. 

While singing with the Liverpool Philharmonic this last year, I had many inspiring conversations with Sir Andrew Davis, who was conducting. He shared that if the moment where he gave a perfect performance occurred, he should quit. There's no reason to keep doing this without that curiosity.

Get to it. Make a plan, and let go. 



Emily Birsan
When preparing for a role…

1. Always singing snippets under your breath and people ASSUME you’re singing Beatles songs.

2. Lose your phone, wallet and keys at least once. Each. 

3. Best friends with your water bottle. Why am I peeing so much? 

4. Feel like August 1 is tomorrow and also 10 years away. 

5. WHY DOES THIS ROLE PERTAIN PERFECTLY TO ME and MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. not really, but you convince yourself of that.

mindgames stravinsky onemonthout

Emily Birsan
How to sing while jet-lagged, or try

Gah, its the worst to do an audition or performance while jet-lagged. It's best to avoid it all together, but here are some ways I've learned to deal.

1. Do your normal routine no matter where you are - yoga, stretching, amount of time to warm up. If you skip steps, your body will be like “what the heck?”
2. Sleep is huge when your jet lagged. If you have trouble sleeping like me, you need at least two nights good sleep to feel normal. Unisom, theamine, and valerian root work as sleep aids for me. It’s my mind that keeps me awake. 
3. Focus your mind on the task at hand, not your life at home. That will help you adjust to being in a different time zone. 
4. Water water tea water water tea water. FYI It’s okay to drink Berlin tap water, even though people still drink bottled. Don’t over caffeinate, I did that before my Düsseldorf audition because I wanted to sit in the dining car and read- I think I had 3 cappuccinos. Not good, made me feel jittery and ungrounded.