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Thursday, September 11, 2014
Tips for Preparing for an Audition
Tips for Preparing for an Audition

If you are interested in any kind of performing arts, and wish to perform, whether you do it as a hobby or as a career, you will have to go through an audition, which is a time to showcase your talent.  Here are a few tips on what to do to prepare for an audition, whether you are an actor, singer, or a dancer.

1) Pick a relatable piece.  If you are acting, choose a monologue you can relate to.  For example, if the monologue has a sad tone, try to recall a sad memory in order to make your acting appear more genuine.  This also pertains to singers.  If you are a singer, then find a song you can relate to.  If you choose a love song, maybe think about your loved ones while you are singing.  Lastly, if you are a dancer, you can recall memories to make you feel the emotion of the song.  Maybe you would think of sad times if you have a slow ballad, and happy times if you have a more upbeat song.

2) Consistently practice.  Of course, not only should you prepare by performing your audition piece over and over, but also, try to perform for audiences as much as possible.  You may wish to simply perform informally for your friends and family, and if you can, try to find opportunities to perform at karaoke events, open mic nights, talent shows, etc.  You can even get your practice at different auditions.  You know have had enough practice if you can perfectly perform your piece even on your worst day ever.

3) Be aware of your abilities.  This tip is mostly pertinent for singers and dancers.  If you are a singer, be sure that your song has notes well within your vocal range, so that not only can you sing the song easily, but it will also sound great.  If you are a dancer, make sure you only perform moves that you know you are physically capable of doing.  Do not try to add complex moves hoping to impress the judges, if you are not capable of doing them.

4) Stay healthy.  Having a successful audition requires having both a healthy a voice and healthy body.  This means you should eat healthy, sleep sufficiently, and get some exercise everyday for at least a week before your audition.  When the day of the audition comes, if you are a singer, try not to consume foods that may affect your voices.  No matter what, however, always be sure to have enough food so that you have enough energy to perform your best at the audition, but also, do not overeat, so that you won't feel sick and full during the audition.  Lastly, drink plenty of water!

5) Don't worry about mistakes.  If you ever happen to make a mistake during your audition, don't worry too much.  Just pretend like it didn't happen and continue.  For example, if you are acting out a monologue and forget a line, just improvise some words that logically flow with the monologue.  If you are singing, you can do the same thing with lyrics.  You can just simply sing some vowels or other lyrics, but make sure you commit to what you do.  Also, remember that even professional singers don't always hit all the right notes.  If you are dancing and you forget a dance move, just think of something, but make sure you are still moving to the rhythm of the music.

6) Overcome stage fright.  Stage fright is simply an emotional state of mind.  When you walk into the audition room, convince yourself that you are capable of succeeding, and believe in yourself.  Just try to have fun and smile!


Posted Thursday, September 11, 2014 1:05 AM    0 comments



Thursday, September 4, 2014
Tips for Working in Science Laboratories
Tips for Working in Science Laboratories

As a student, whether you're in college or high school, you will definitely take some science classes in which you will need to perform labs.  Perhaps you may even have a job as a scientist.  Regardless, here's some tips for working in these types of labs, whether it may pertain to biology, chemistry, or physics.

1) Safety.  Always remember, safety first.  This means always wearing your personal protective equipment, which includes lab coats, goggles, and gloves.  Lab coats are meant to be flame retardant and also to prevent chemicals from spilling on your street clothes.  Also, if you are working with organic solvents, be sure that your gloves are nitrile, not latex, since nitrile is more resistant to dissolution.  Lastly, know where the safety shower, fire extinguisher, eye-wash stations, and emergency exits are.

2) Follow the procedure.  Not only should you follow the procedure, but you should be fairly familiar with it before you enter the lab setting.  This way, you can finish in an efficient amount of time, without having to ask too many questions.  The best way to familiarize yourself with the procedure is to handwrite the procedure in your lab notebook, while imagining that you are performing the lab.

3) Know the underlying theories and principles.  Do not just follow the procedure simply because it says so.  For example, ask yourself why you must lower the temperature, or why you are adding certain chemicals.  Know the relevant scientific theories to logically know why you are performing each step of the procedure.  This way, you will have a more enjoyable experience if you understand the lab, and furthermore, it will develop your critical thinking in case you have to perhaps develop your own procedure for something in the future.

4) Label everything.  Label all your containers with the names of the chemicals they contain.  This is because many liquid chemicals are clear, and they may easily be confused with other chemicals, or even just water.  Many solid chemicals are white, and therefore, can also be mixed up easily.  Be sure to appropriately label your containers so you do not accidentally mix things up.

5) Write down everything you do.  Of course, you do not need to write down absolutely everything you do.  For example, since you are expected to follow the procedure step by step, you do not need to write that down, but rather, you should write down observations and numerical data.  For example, if you notice a color change after the addition of a certain chemical, you can write that down.  Also, write down all of your numerical data.  For example, if the procedure asks you to get 1 milliliter of a certain chemical, and you only got 0.9 milliliters because of how difficult it is to obtain an exact volume, then you should write that down.

6) Be aware of safety hazards.  First, be aware all equipments are functioning properly, being sure that no outlets or short-circuited and there are no malfunctions of the machine.  Furthermore, also be aware of hazardous chemicals, their effects on you, and how you should handle them.  If you are in doubt, it is best to assume it's dangerous.  When it comes to glassware, look out for even the smallest cracks, because if cracked glassware is heated, it can easily and quickly shatter.  Lastly, if you are heating something, do not touch it, even if you think it has cooled, because hot glassware does not always appear to be so.


Posted Thursday, September 4, 2014 6:16 AM    0 comments



Saturday, August 30, 2014
John Cage 4 minutes and 33 seconds
John Cage 4 minutes and 33 seconds

Maybe the proper way to write this article is to write nothing at all. But would it then even be considered an article. It is, if you think it is. Well, the title and meaning of this article is taken directly from John Cage’s music piece 4’33”. It’s literally 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence (with the score indicating 3 distinct movements). It’s also the only piece ever made that can be played on every instrument, even on the pots and pans in your kitchen. Most will wonder how “silence” would qualify as music. In response, I ask, what is music?

Everyone has seen Mondrian’s “Composition in Red, Yellow, and Blue.” How many have actually understood it? I remember saying that I could do the same with a ruler, a box of crayons, and an hour of time when I was in the fifth grade. And sure, I could, and so could you, but then it would just be a series of lines and colored boxes. Mondrian, however, presented the world with a new idea (which I won’t get into here). Think of his painting as a combo package; the painting itself and a well-researched, well-written paper on the meaning of the painting, except that the paper is invisible, and the exact words (while hinted at by the artist) is up to each individual viewer. Do some research and try to appreciate it before writing it off as new-age nonsense. The same applies to music. Attending a John Cage concert might not “sound” the best to you (or “sound” at all), but you will leave it with a new concept of what music is, and, in turn, a new appreciation for all kinds of music. Modernist art can’t be enjoyed, or even appreciated, if you don’t understand it first.

Check the internet for the countless performances of Cage’s 4’33” before and after reading this article. Now it may seem like silence to you, a lack of music of really. But, after it is explained to you, it should seem as musical as anything.

Cage was an advocate for something called “chance music.” It relies on random occurrences to decide the music that will be performed. For example, a performer might draw a card to decide what key the piece will be played in, or flip a coin to decide what instrument to play it with. Or maybe play an instrument in such a difficult and uncomfortable way (like up-side-down) to ensure that it can’t be played the same again. This way every performance is truly unique. Cage took this idea to the limit with 4’33”. The piece isn’t 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence as it would seem, but rather 4 minutes and 33 seconds of the random noises the audience and the surrounding environment happens to make. The rationale behind this is that during every performance, the performers can’t control everything (a baby may begin crying, or someone could hit the wrong note), so why try to control anything at all? In 4’33”, the audience and the environment are the performers.

It can also be interpreted in a more “Zen” fashion; sometimes the best thing to hear is nothing at all. A few minutes of no noise every day, other than the random sounds of the surrounding environment, could be very relaxing. If you think about it, the random background noises of everyday are an entire opera really! The chirping of a cricket could be the basso continuo, a man’s series of coughs could be a recitative, and the buzz of a fly gradually becoming more prominent could be a grand string crescendo leading up to the aria, which happens to be a woman yawning.

So, now since your almost finished reading this article let me remind to watch a performance of John Cage’s 4’33” and at least try to appreciate its message now that you understand it. You don’t have to like it. And to truly make this article worthy of its title, I need you to act like you just read nothing at all and leave your own ideas in the comments below. Imagine this article has no words at all; I’m leaving the task of writing it up to you…


Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014 4:40 AM    0 comments