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50. Music Therapy

For Episode "Feel-Good Fifty" (it's our 50th episode, hurray for arbitrary milestones!) Chris and Isaiah attempt to loosen the shackles of confirmation bias. In this brief respite from our regularly scheduled programming ("Why Doing Music Makes Me Feel Bad, Parts 1-49"), we hear from soprano and music-psychotherapist-in-training, Lesley Emma Bouza. Throughout an interview that manages to be both educational and inspiring, Lesley eloquently advocates for her discipline via real-life...


49. Good Enough

Have you ever had the feeling you're descended from a line of forgotten royals? How about a suspicion that your ancestors may have been a dynasty of chambermaids, valets, and tenant farmers? This week Chris and Isaiah welcome recurring guest Woeful Inadequacy back onto the podcast to talk about that deep-down feeling that not only may you not be doing well enough — you could actually just not be good enough. Perhaps it served our forebears well, in their domestic duties, to feel that they...


48. Permission

Megan Ihnen – American mezzo, new music maven, writer, and self-described extrovert (I know! How exotic) – joins us this week to talk permission. Classical singers spend so many years – decades?! – being inculcated with respect for tradition (and humility about our own judgement) that some of us find ourselves, long into our professional careers, still asking for permission from some unseen authority to just do what we do. Does everyone feel this way? How do you balance respect for outside...


47. The Fragile Ego

This week Chris and Isaiah season Season Two's barrage of all-star guests with a brief return to the one-on-one format. And in classic Overthought fashion, we're going deep – deep into the neurotic mind. Some egos are unassailable. They can trundle on, secure in their place in the world, in the face of hostile environments, personal inadequacies, or unfavourable public opinion. Those egos are not our egos. 'Oh, how refreshing,' I hear you say, 'An introspective exploration of...


46. The Orthodox Opera Singer

This week we sit down with a current University of Toronto undergrad: baritone Jacob Feldman (well, actually, we were lying down, but you can't say that on TV). What was initially conceived as a generalized investigation of "student life today" quickly developed into an exploration of Jacob's unique situation: specifically, the potential conflicts between his identities as an Orthodox Jew and as an aspiring opera singer. Chris and Isaiah learn a lot, Jacob speaks eloquently, and the Lucky...


45. Streams

When Dr. Leah Giselle Field, Esq., is our guest, the show is like baking soda and vinegar — very white, somewhat explosive, and a lot of fun. We're talking career streams this week: Dr. Field has recently plunged into life as a (in her words!) "not-so-young young artist" after having taken the academic elevator straight to the top. Isaiah jumped into YAPs straight out of undergrad and has often wondered if it was the most prudent choice. Chris split the difference – getting a Master's...


44. Diplomacy, or, The Safe Choice

This one could have gone on for hours! Jenna Douglas – pianist-coach and captain of the intrepid ship that is Schmopera.com – joins us this week for a topic that affects each of us nearly every day. Working contract-to-contract means musicians are unusually dependant on a climate of good will. We have to weigh many decisions – whether to tell uncomfortable truths, to stand up for ourselves, to stick with a controversial artistic vision – against the possibility that they will threaten...


43. Money

Do you avoid looking at your bank balance? Do you feel guilty about spending money on anything other than essentials? Do you secretly welcome the clarity of having no money whatsoever, because it frees you from the panicky burden of fiscal responsibility? You are not alone. Enter Chris Enns, tenor, certified financial planner, and self-described personal finance nerd. It was not long ago that Chris, who now runs the fabulous ragstoreasonable.com (subtitled "money help for artists"), was...


42. Taking One's Own Path

EXTRA! EXTRA! For the first time in HISTORY, Overthought welcomes a guest co-host! Vivien Shotwell – author, singer, and GP (Good Pal) – joins Chris and Isaiah to discuss a matter very close to our hearts: "Taking One's Own Path." All three of us devote a part of our working lives to a non-singing pursuit, despite traditional wisdom that discourages singers from attempting to be bi-vocational. And in the absence of appropriate role models, we all ask ourselves the same questions: If no...


41. Habit, Ritual, Routine

It's weird to be a creature of habit in a career with constant changes of environment, workload, and colleagues; without the ability to maintain any regular routines, it can feel like you're not in control of your own life. Habits and routine give our lives structure, but they can also, of course, be insidious. How many times, as performers, have we been warned about the dangers of "going on autopilot"? This is where ritual can be a powerful tool. When we actively engage in familiar...


40. Living with Civvies

So many performing artists find themselves sharing their lives with people from outside the artsy career pool. Coincidence? For Chris and Isaiah, two strong proponents of this odd-couple lifestyle, the benefits are manifold. Are there drawbacks? And what goes ON in the minds of these Citizens of the Real World, drawn like masochistic moths to people in the grip of the greedy artist life? This episode (featuring a dramatic sound-quality upgrade that occurs mid-cast) was inspired by a...


39. An Even Keel (?)

Life is crazy, OK? The ups. The downs! Even the middles... are crazy. And everything is exaggerated under the microscope of performance pressure. So it's healthy to try to keep an even keel when possible, yes? Honestly? We don't know. Is it false and unhelpful to force "balance" in the face of the vicissitudes of life? For those of us whose ultimate Saturday night involves peace, quiet, and an early bedtime, adrenaline and nerves are hard to embrace. But what if life just Isn't about...


38. Boundaries

It took two false starts (Episode 35 and "The Bad One") and an 11th-hour data-loss scare before our discussion of Boundaries could be unleashed upon the world. [But aren't boundaries always difficult to establish? ...*sage nodding*...] Chris can find himself going WAY beyond the call of duty in his dealings with certain hard-to-please clients... But is it keen business acumen, or poorly defined boundaries? Meanwhile Isaiah reveals a shocking and unfortunate default mindset (another...


37. Good Things

For the first time ever, Chris and Isaiah are podcasting simultaneously from the very same room!? To mark this momentous occasion, and the arrival of Episode Number Lucky 37, we're talking about Good Things! Positivity! Optimism! For one thing: why is it so much easier to focus on the negative? Perhaps we learn more from bad experiences - but is life appreciation a skill we can actually acquire? And is there some universal truth behind "The Secret" or is optimism naïve? We also bid goodbye...


36. The Bad One

Dear Overthought Podcast Subscribers: This is not a drill. Things went seriously wrong this week, and, well, we didn't have time to make good. It's not that we didn't record. We did. It's just... Well, we all have off days — right?? Anyway. There are those among you with a macabre fascination for the depths of human neurosis. To you, and you alone, we offer up — with this caveat — a tangled, halting, and perversely meta cri de coeur uncomfortably reminiscent of an improvised open-mic...


35. Supporting Your Inner Child

In the most extreme occurrence of invasive OUTBREED (Overthought Unrelated Tangent Based on Recent Experience, Event, or Discovery) ever recorded, Chris and Isaiah set out to discuss one topic and end up spending the entire hour on a very different one. While Chris contemplates wading into a new market (NEW! YORK! CITY!), Isaiah confronts old anxieties in the audition room. What would happen if every bad thing we're secretly afraid of actually came true? Are risks and investments wasted...


34. Technique

and it opens the door for us to fully realize our creative potential. Right? ........riiiiiight. The course of uvulas never did run smooth, as Shakespeare probably once said. Singers so regularly hear that technique is our bedrock and our safety net that it seems obvious (to those of us living inside or own heads) that the path to consistency lies in closely monitoring and controlling the actions of our bodies. But singing is infinitely more than just the mechanics of bellows, reed, and...


33. Productivity

"It's 4 p.m. and I haven't been a useful member of society yet," says Chris at the top of the show. When schedules are self-directed, the pressure to make our time count can be at its worst. Which could be fine, were it simply to motivate us and then dissipate. Unfoooortunately, the feeling that we're not getting enough done often persists after - and even during - productive periods. In addition to causing general discomfort, this can interfere with our ability to recharge and with our...


32. Follow Your Dreams

Are you an artist? Have you ever heard someone innocently say something like "Keep following your dreams!" and had an irrational attack of irritability? (If not, DO keep following your dreams! Passion gives your soul wings. #blessed). We know being a professional in the arts is a privileged position, but clichés about the magic and whimsy of the artist's life can still touch a nerve. Is it because we'll always be hungry to be taken seriously? Or does that free spirit from the TV commercials...


31. Disappointment

We're all familiar with that sickest of grown-up burns: I'mnotmad, I'm just disappointed. Well, we're all grown-ups now; howdowe cope when life disappoints us? With personal failure wecanalways turn our focus to trying to do better next time, butwhatabout when things just don't go out way through no fault ofourown? Do we get mad? Or do we somehow try to stay Zen? Like, doweliterally read half a book called "The Zen Way to MartialArts"[Penguin, 1992] and then try to convince everyone that...