It's the most wonderful time of the year! If you know and love a performer in your life, read below for some gift ideas to make this season a fruitful and exciting one for them!
Give the gift of training one-on-one with an instructor your child or loved one would be excited to work with! You can check out this page of my website to see what I personally offer (had to plug myself!), but ask your student if there is anyone they've heard about who they might like to work with. #auditioncoach on TikTok is a popular niche on the app, and if your student has learned a lot from various artists on there, they'd likely be excited to work with a long list of folx! If your child is a fan of particular Broadway Artists, I also recommend searching for coaching availability through a Google search, their website, or by reaching out directly through Instagram! Or, look for local coaches and teachers in your area (if you don't have a voice teacher already!) for continuous, structured time together.
Self Taping Tools
So many auditions take place in the form of self tapes, prescreens, and video auditions these days (and will for a long time to come!). If you want to help the performer in your life make a strong, professional impression, consider helping them invest in any (or all, if you're feeling insanely generous!) of the following items!
Shure Mic, MV88 -> This is a mic that can attach directly to your iPhone, and it takes your sound quality to the next level! Seriously, cannot recommend investing in this microphone (or one like it) enough. Click here to listen to a video of mine without the mic, and here for one with the mic to compare. Do you hear how tinny the first video sounds when compared to the one with my mic?
Soft Box Light Setup -> Lighting, next to sound, is the most important technical element of a self tape. I recommend investing in this sort of lighting set, because it comes with two lights (helpful for filling in shadows that just one light might create!). They also have adjustable brightness and color settings and come with two battery controlled remotes to make life easier. Finally, they're VERY portable and easy to sling over your shoulder and take around with you; not too heavy and easy to bring with you anywhere for a professional, easy setup!
Blue/Green Screen Setup -> The background in your self tapes is also important, and while it can be fine to use a blank wall in your apartment or home, oftentimes the colors of walls are not very flattering on camera. If you're ghostly pale like me, standing in front of a white wall is not always the best option, and regardless, white walls can sometimes mess with the color settings of your camera and can distort your the true color of your clothing and other features, leaving you washed out. Blue, like the one in this blue screen setup, is flattering on most everyone, and the reverse green side is helpful if you're ever interested in or cast in virtual shows that require virtual background editing.
Ring Light -> While I recommend Soft Box Lights first and foremost for self-taping, ring lights are also helpful tools for filming purposes. They're smaller and even more mobile, so they can fit in smaller spaces in your house. If you're filming in closeup, they can also be helpful in giving you another light source. Also very helpful for Zoom auditions, classes or meetings!
Warm Up Tools
Any singer would be grateful for some helpful tools that will maximize their warm up ability, while minimizing any disturbance to their neighbors!
Singing Straw -> Helpful for those SOVT exercises, and for really warming up your voice while remaining pretty subtle and quiet.
Oovoo Straw -> Another brand of singing straw, but this time in a smaller, necklace form! Also available as a ring.
Belt Box -> You may have heard of the BeltBox and thought, does that really work? Many people, including myself, can attest that it does! While it definitely doesn't replace the benefits of an unobstructed vocal warmup, it definitely is helpful for those auditions where you might find yourself in a hotel, crowded studio, bathroom, etc. It was a savior for me during college audition + travel season!
Vocal Steamer -> There are so many different brands and varieties, but this is my favorite! Steamers are great to help soothe your chords and keep your voice happy!
... And Generally for Lovers of Theatre!
Warm up and self tape tools are lovely, but how about some simply fun things?!
Subscription to Broadway Boxed Up -> Get access to merchandise, events, and virtual chats through this fun subscription service!
Playbill Binder -> The perfect way to store and display your collection of Playbills!
Broadway Costume Print -> This has always caught my eye, even though I can't sew a stitch to save my life! Perfect for any New Yorker's (or future NY'er's) apartment!
Playbill Pajamas -> So fun!
Plays and Merch from the Drama Book Shop -> A New York staple.
Here's hoping you and yours have a fantastic (and theater filled) Holiday season!