Remember that exciting audition I told you about last week? Well...click on the photo below to find out what happened!
ABOUT THE CONCERT
Join the Baton Rouge Symphony, David Torns (conductor), and the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus for the 2023 Home for the Holidays concert at the River Center Theater in Downtown Baton Rouge, LA.
Join your BRSO and BRSO Chorus at the River Center Theater for this family favorite concert featuring seasonal melodies and music from favorites like Polar Express, Home Alone, The Nutcracker, and Sleigh Ride. Ring in the season with the biggest carol sing-along in Baton Rouge, and make this show an annual tradition for the whole family!
I've dreamed of one day singing with a symphony ever since I was a little kid watching old black and white movie reruns on PBS. Then as a recent college graduate, I sang in the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus for a short time. So getting selected as a featured vocalist on the same stage is truly a dream come true.
I'd love to share the experience with you, too :)
Last weekend I had a big vocal audition! Click on the image below to see how it went:
This brings me to the subject of "growth mindset" and what almost prevented me from ever getting to this exciting place in my life today.
When researcher Carol Dweck first discovered and coined the terms "growth mindset" and "fixed mindset" years ago, people assumed that they had one mindset or the other.
But the research soon showed that we shift between these two mindsets throughout the day/week/year. The problem is that we often don't REALIZE when it's happening.
My story is a classic example.
As a kid I was labeled "talented" in music. I could match pitches well even though no one could hear me at first (I had to learn how to project my quiet, angelic voice). Throughout high school I received lessons, competed in voice competitions and special programs. My skills grew tremendously, but by senior year, I recognized that there were still several major gaps in my vocal ability that I had not been able to solve. I assumed my "natural gift" had reached it's limit and started living/acting from a fixed mindset when it came to music.
Eventually, the fear of failure in this realm became too painful to think about my childhood dreams of one day singing jazz. I avoided it, stopped talking about it and closed the book on that part of my life (except for singing at church, weddings and funerals).
On the flip side, the whole time I was hiding from music, I was growing exponentially in another area of my life--learning French. Because I was never considered "gifted" in this area, and nobody but me cared if I ever learned the language, I was less afraid of failing! This low pressure environment helped me find the courage to regularly immerse myself in the language.
Years of consistent, daily practice in fun, immersive situations worked. (Big surprise, right? :p)
So now you may be wondering how did music re-enter my life?
Thank the ukulele.
This fun, joyful instrument took the pressure off of learning music and eventually broke up my fixed musical mindset. Learning and growing my musical skills became fun and flowing rather than difficult and forced.
This got me back into voice lessons as well, and working with a vocal coach who knew how to help me learn to navigate the issues holding me back.
Without these major shifts, I would not be the more well-rounded person I am today, nor would I have exciting new opportunities to challenge myself musically, like in the audition video above.
With this example in mind, I invite you to take a look at your life and ask if there are areas where you are operating from a growth mindset and others where you're stuck in a fixed mindset. Then see if you can think of one small action to release some of the pressure holding your fixed mindset and start having a bit of fun instead.
A little bit of growth goes a long way when you compound it daily!
When I get frustrated or stuck in the weeds of a project (which is pretty regularly since I'm human...), I have a very simple yet special tool that I turn to.
I call it my "Smile File" (got the catchy name from a fellow coach), and this amazing little thing wields more power than any hammer in busting my negative thinking.
I have both a paper folder and a digital one (so that I can access at any time). It contains notes, screenshots, photos, letters, etc. that I want to remember because they make me smile.
The reason this file works so well is because it reminds me of my WHY--why I do what I do--helping people discover their true potential and leadership skills through music and charismatic communication--and why that's important.
For example, take this little note from a recent speech presentation attendee:
"What a warm, charming story and great speech. Maybe there's hope for me yet. Until now I never thought I could become a charismatic communicator. Thank you!"
Comments like this one remind me that helping even ONE person broaden their perspective to what they could achieve means I am doing my job, reminds me that my voice matters, and is evidence to challenge my inner critic that I serve my community in a positive way.
I hope this idea inspires you to create your own Smile File and get unstuck/reenergized to continue projects that you care about.
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.