The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Lower

Squat
230 x5, 265 x5, 300 AMRAP (5 - Very Tough)
 


Pause Squats
215 3x8


Sumo Deads
310 3x8


Leg Press
2 Plates plus 60lbs 3x12

Lunges
60lbs 3x12

Calf Raises
360lbs 3x15-20

Saturday, November 28, 2015

28 The Year of Freedom

Last year was very tough. My birthday is not what you would consider ideal. I was broke, busy, tired, and not in a great place mentally or physically. I wrote This on my birthday in 2014.


"Rarely do I feel like I've become older or that I've changed when my Birthday rolls around. However, I certainly do this time. My perception of the world has changed dramatically, one could argue for the worse, but I would disagree. I would say that honesty, hard work, and basic cold hard facts have become a part of the every day vitamin regiment. The idea of being an adult is starting to fade from being a concept to a full blown reality. The crutch of school has finally left my side, and now I'm slowly trying to ween myself off the financial dependence of my parents. For both of our sakes. This time next year I hope to make that a reality.

I'm looking more and more to the future, but keeping my nose to the grindstone. I'm trying to let the discomfort of the present make a way for the success of what's to come. 

My goal? 

There are no strings on me...I'll just leave it at that."

That's word for word. This year a LOT is different. I actually feel myself smiling, a sense of happiness and fulfillment. I had so many question marks next to all of my goals and dreams. This year I was able to erase those question marks and replace them with exclamation points.


Here are a few that stand out:

I Got Stronger

One of the things I knew coming back from being ripped from Don Giovanni and getting out of the rut I had created with my diet and training was that I had to get stronger. Much much stronger. So, I bit the bullet and allowed myself to gain some body fat, get out of the single digits and put on weight. Slowly, but surely I got stronger and stronger by the week. 

Nov 11th 2014:

Squat: 315 x 2 (an inch too high)

Bench: 225 x 1 (sometimes)

Deadlift: 385 x 2


Nov 11th 2015:

Squat: 335-350lbs x 1 (correct depth)

Bench: 230 x 3

Deadlift: 455lbs x 3   (500lbs on 11/24/15)

500lb Deadlift and a 315lb squat in the same training session. Casual lifting session done in between clients at the OCU gym.

My deadlift is the most obvious standout, but one merely needs to look at how much my technique has improved in Squat and Bench to see that those are the true standouts. I could only occasionally hit 225lbs on the bench for a shaky, grinding single where I can now easily control 230lbs for reps and do paused reps with 225lbs for the Wide grip and close grip pushes. I now regularly squat 315lbs in the high bar, full depth position where as in 2014 I was doing a pseudo low bar with my ass an inch above parallel. It took me a while with put-zing around bull shit programming before I finally found something that worked well for me. But, that was where all the joy came in, discovering and learning.

Let's also mention that previously I had been training in the gym 6 days a week, doing probably 20 minutes or more of cardio every day. My calories were much more restrictive and so were my eating patterns. Even though I practiced "flexible dieting" I would get anxiety if I didn't know the exact macro nutrient profile. On my Birthday in 2014 I decided that this was going to have to change if I was going to be successful in the future.

And my physique has only improved in my opinion. At first It was tough mentally adapting to new changes, but I've honestly felt great about the improvements even within the past few months. I have VERY high hopes for 2016 in regards to strength and muscular development.
 

I've proven I can do Musical Theatre:


It's one thing to land a gig doing a classic musical. I had done so by the time my 27th birthday had swung around. My first professional venture into musical theatre was approaching in the summer with Jud Fry in Oklahoma!

I had been told opposing opinions in this regard. There's a lot of people who thought Id be great at it, others called it a "waste of time" or said my voice was too this or that to be doing that rep. Sometimes their opinions would linger in my ear and self doubt would start to show.

I can say with full confidence that I can, and I shall do both. Hell, I got to do a Shakespeare show. I'll act, sing, dance, perform on stage, T.V., or a recording studio as long as someone will allow me to do so. I can and I will. 


My resume in my 27th year.
 
My schedule now has two projects lined up for 2016. An operetta/Musical and an Opera. I'm branching out and still keeping to my roots. 

I began Operabrotraining.com

I knew since the inception of The Opera Bro that I wanted to become a personal trainer. I knew I wanted to help people reach their goals. So I got certified in 2014, tried my hand at the typical globo gym trainer life, hated it and failed. I wasn't ready. So I worked harder and helped out as many people who were willing to receive it. 

Before the website kicked I was one of the numerous shmucks out there that had a paypal account and an email where I conducted business. I had no system of operations, no real way of showing that I'm someone who can offer serious help and benefits.

Since starting the website I've not only improved the serious and sincerity of my product but I've also been able to help out dozens of people reach their goals all while making a living doing so. 

Because of the work online I have had the ability to return to in gym personal training and go to the roots of my physical success, Oklahoma City University where I have broken ground to begin what I call The Iron Chorus initiative. This is going to be the first of many classes to go through what I consider to be a Necessary part of a well rounded performing degree.

I Started my Podcast


This year has been one of immense learning. One of the things that has GREATLY attributed to my success is obtaining knowledge via audio books, YouTube videos and Podcasts. In the great circle of life you receive information, digest it and then give it back to the world. I've tried my hand at YouTube videos and have written articles, blogs, Ebooks and have made audio books. I'm proud of my ability to make media to promote The Opera Bro message and lifestyle, I truly am. But the thing I'm MOST proud of is the work I've done and continuously do with my podcast Opera Bro Radio: The Podcast. I've gotten to record some great guests and learn so much from them. And I've gotten great feedback! 

Free? Can you see me?


Last year I felt trapped. Trapped by the financial crutches I had obtained by poor investments (or lack their of) during my collegiate years and just an absolute lack of knowledge of the way of money. I was also trapped artistically. I didn't think I could much. I had put myself in a box, and I found out that I could do so much more. Which was exacerbated by my physical location. My location was pinned to a few things, but what it boiled down to was not enough money or Capitol to invest in a future of performing. 

Thanks to an education on money, an invest in a completely mobile business, and a LOT of savings, I'm now going to be free. My first adventure in freedom is going to be exercised as soon as January 4th of 2016 when I head to Texas for a short contract (More on that soon.) Just know that your Boy, Ol' Yeargain is doing swimmingly. Look forward to more cool things coming down the pipeline. 

Until next time,
Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.
The Opera Bro

Friday, November 27, 2015

Upper

Overhead Press
120 x5, 140 x3, 155 AMRAP (1)

Close Grip Pause Overhead Press
120lbs 3x5



Bent Over Row
195lbs 4x12

Incline Dumbbell Bench
70's-80's 3x8

Pause Pull Ups
30lbs 3x8

Chest Flys
3x12

Shoulder Super Sets

Bicep/Tricep Supersets

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lower

Deads
200 x 20, 250 x 20, 300 x20



Pause Front Squats
160 4x8



Power Clean and Jerk
115lbs 3x5



Muscle Snatch
115lbs 3x5



Leg Extension
Leg Curl
Calf Raise Super Set - 2 Plates plus 40lbs 3x15-20

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

School Isn't The Answer

More School Does NOT equal More Success

More school does not necessarily mean you're guaranteed more opportunities.

School is a huge investment. And school, programs, degrees offer many things that will give you what is called a "Well Rounded Education." That means that it teaches you numerous things within an area of study. It cuts a large swath in hopes of giving you lot's of tools for you to succeed. Which basically means it has NO specificity.

This is a double edged sword.

On one hand if you're unsure of where you land in the world of your field, this gives you lots of areas to search through and see where you thrive, what you love and what you dislike.

For instance, my degree is in A Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance. The degree is "engineered" for someone interested in pursuing a career in using their voice in a "classically trained manner."

The degree has classes in:

Theory
Music history
Piano
Diction
Voice lessons
Voice ensemble
Repertoire Coaching
Dancing
Acting
General Education (Math, Composition, Language, Scientific Studies, etc.)

This is a very wide array of classes. A great well rounded education. You learn a lot, do a LOT, and more than likely FAIL a lot.


But if we were to be 100% honest of the things you ABSOLUTELY need in order to perform at the base level as a professional singer, these are the classes you'd need:

Theory 
Music history
Piano
Diction
Voice lessons
Voice ensemble
Repertoire Coaching
Dancing
Acting
General Education (Math, Composition, Language, Scientific Studies, etc.)

Now, people will see this and think I'm a jackass. The picture I'm painting isn't a professional singer at a HIGH level, but just the basic level of entry.  But I will say that if the leading voice of the past century, Luciano Pavarotti could perform without being able to read a lick of music, you must believe me when I tell you that not having an extensive background in Music Theory will not be the thing that makes or breaks your career.

People, mentors, and well meaning individuals will tell you that "You need more school." And in their generation and the generation of people before this one, this very well could be the answer. There are many people who were able to go back to school and learn the necessary skills for them to achieve the next level of performance. But, times have changed. The demand for school is high. Cost of tuition has increased dramatically and the amount of scholarships has decreased. School has gone from something people strive to do, to a cultural obligation, to finally something that is quickly becoming either completely out of financial reach, or a financial tether that will keep you from ever having financial freedom.

Some of the worlds leading minds, and most successful people either dropped out of college or never attended in the first place. And now they employee college grads by the thousands.

  • Bill Gates
  • Steve Jobs
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Michael Dell
  • John Mackey

All individuals who dropped out of college....Success does not depend on school.

 
"I have never let school interfere with my education."
- Mark Twain

School/college is NOT the answer. But, Education is...


More Education


There is ALWAYS something to be gained from learning. But, education is not confined in the realm of a school classroom. There are numerous ways to learn and there are infinite things to learn.

Books. Videos. Podcasts. Interviews. Life experience! Mistakes and failures! All of these are a profound forms of Education. Many of these cost very little, or at the very least scalable to your level of commitment. And let us not forget the laundry list of places that offer classes and lessons, lectures and seminars filled with people who have worked to the bone to be able to teach you something they deem worth learning.

Not every investment you make in this manner will have a large return. Some may actually cause a deficit. But, at the very least in this manner you have control over the way you choose to learn, who you learn it from, and how long you'd like to learn that material. In school you take a class and may find that you don't like the teacher, the way it's taught, or even the material itself...but by that time you're already immensely invested and now they hold the grade over your head.

Priority Principle


In Bodybuilding there is something called The Priority Principle. Basically, you hit your weak points First in the training session. That way you have all your energy going to the body part/movement you want to improve.

More than likely you're going to have some strong points in your performing, things that make you stand out above the rest. Awesome sauce. No need to hammer out on the things that you're already great at, find a means to maintain your strengths while you start pinpointing the aspects of your performance that HINDER your strengths from shining through.

For my performing career I've had to apply this.

Couldn't Sing:
Spent several years mastering the basics. Singing for hours and hours, for multiple ears, for MY ears. Recorded myself on the regular, found holes and found ways to fill them.

Couldn't Act:
Got better at performing in front of a crowd, got roles, learned by watching and by doing.

Was Too Fat/Unhealthy:
I didn't know how to train my body. So, I spent a year getting ripped out of my mind, learned to how lose weight and keep weight off. Learned how to get stronger and more muscular. Learned the basics of human metabolism and biology.

Was Too Poor:
Couldn't afford the lifestyle required of a professional actor/singer (housing, travel.) Had to spend a YEAR of my life saving money, figuring out how to make a sustainable living doing lots of different things. Took some performing opportunities that were LESS glamorous to keep my acting chops in check, to keep things building on the resume. I made lateral moves.

Each and every one of these things was a MAJOR educational experience. And the majority of my mental break-thrus did NOT occur while I was sitting comatose in a classroom while a jaded professor yapped at me. It was in the trenches of doing and failing. That's how I choose to learn, and I hope that you see it's merits.
 

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Upper

Bench
105 x 20, 135 x 20, 165x20 (was supposed to be 160)


1 Arm Pause Chins
22.5lbs 1xAMRAP

Reg Pause Chins
30lbs 1xAMRAP

Shoulder Supersets

Bicep/Tricep Supersets

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lower

Squat
140 X 20, 175 X20, 210 X20



Sumo Deads
350 3x4



Leg Press
2 Plates plus 55lbs 3x12

Lunges
55lbs 3x12

Pause Calf Raises
340lbs 3x12-15

Addio, Forum! You were a magnificent, fun little journey. See you sometime in the future..

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Chill Out

In the great circle of progression you must do two things:

1.) Train Hard

2.) Recover

This goes for both Training Your body Athletically and Singing.

You train, you train hard. You break personal records. Wreck that 20 rep squat. You throw over a hundred pounds over your head for reps. Do a lot of shit that hurts, bangs you up. But you're a fucking spartan, a warrior.

But once you're done, you've got to recover. My favorite post recovery methods are as follows:

  • Sleep - 8-10 hours. Or a cat nap in between training sessions on my two a days.

  • Eat - On a big training day, or an especially brutal session you've got to eat in a caloric surplus.


Singing is exactly the same way. When you sing, and you sing big, running around on stage giving your all, you're gonna wear yourself down. I get many bruises and aches from performing. And if you train during the day, its compacted trauma.


Vocal/Body Recovery


  • Stay the FUCK home - When you go out for drinks, food or whatever, you're going to probably be in an environment where you're yacking your face off. Making way too much damn noise for your own good, staying up too late, eating

  • Fuck Tea and Honey - I've never seen the benefits of putting scalding hot tea down your gullet with 30 or so grams of carbs before. I like Branch Chain Amino Acids to help aid with the protein synthesis from all the training and what not.

  • Medicate - Do what you have to do. I mean that quite literally. If you're joints hurt or inflamed, ice them. Take an ibuprofen. If you can't get to sleep, pop a Nyquil. If your voice is tired, your cords are swollen, take a baby aspirin. Hydrate. Get yourself a steamer. I don't care if you look like a stereotype, get the job done. Do what you need to do in order to perform like a champion, whether your practices are actually physically beneficial or just superstition, do what you need to in order to ease your brain.

  • Netflix and Chill - And I don't mean the stereotype our society has manifested. I mean take your mind off of your performing, distance yourself from it. Watch a movie, relax. If doing the dirty deed does this for you, then by all means "Netflix and Chill."


That's enough rambling for now. I'm headed into battle tonight. Wish me luck.


Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Friday, November 20, 2015

Upper

Overhead Press
115 x3, 130 x3, 145 AMRAP (3)



Close Grip pause Overhead Press
115lbs 3x6-12



Bent over Row
190lbs 4x12

Incline Dummbell Bench
65-80's 4x8



Pause Pull-Ups
27.5lbs 2x8

Chest Flys
3x12

Shoulder Super sets

Bicep/Tricep Supersets

Miles Gloriosus: 4 Shows in November 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lower

Deads
380 x5, 430 x3, 480 AMRAP  (1)



3" Deficit Deads
355 3x4 



Paused Front Squats
200 3x4




Leg Extensions
220lbs 3x12

Leg Curls
210lbs 3x12

Calf Raises
2 Plates plus 35lbs 3x15

The Mayor of Whoville who moonlights as a taco stand tycoon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Marked Improvement

It's Time to Brag.


Recently I started a program at Oklahoma City University that I've come to call: The Iron Chorus. I currently have 15 students who do group training sessions with me on a weekly basis. Most of them are by all means beginners with a few in the pack who have some weight training experience.

Each week they do a push, pull, squat and hip hinge. And every week I have them write down their numbers. The weight they lifted in pounds and how many reps they were able to do with that weight.

Every single student got stronger. Every Single one of them.

One gal has already lost 20lbs. Most of them are seeing visible changes in their physique. Definition in their arms, bumps where smooth used to be. But to me, these are personal, subjective things. Good lighting, a funky scale, or just a new mental perspective can skew these things. But, as the saying goes - The Bar Don't Lie. Strength gains is the ultimate indicator of progress. If you've gotten stronger, you've gained lean muscle mass.

Lean, naturally acquired muscle mass is a great indicator of health, strength, and overall well being. We're achieving goals, my friends.

To say I'm a proud trainer is putting it lightly. These kids are hard workers. And I hope that the tools that I've given them over the past few weeks and continue to give have allowed them to feel successful in their pursuit towards physical knowledge.

 

Future Plans


I don't want it to seem like these guys are my little lab rats. But they are the first to run what is a test program in it's entirety. By the end of the program they will have a means to set themselves up for continued physical progress for the rest of their lives. Read that. The rest of their lives.

This is the goal. A means to be physically strong, healthy, and hopefully pleased in all of these realms for the rest of their lives. Eventually it will go from just being a program, to being a curriculum, and then a standard of operations for all performers. A healthier, happier industry. And they all said...

Amen.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Upper

Bench
190 x 5, 220 x 3, 245 AMRAP (1)


Pause Bench
190lbs 3x6



1 Arm Pause Chins
20lbs 1xAMRAP

Reg Pause Chins
27.5lbs 1xAMRAP

Shoulder Super Sets

Bicep and Tricep Supersets

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lower

Squat
260 x5, 295 x3, 330 AMRAP (1)

I'm actually very impressed with the depth on this one.

 

Pause Squat
240 3x6


Sumo Deads
330 3x6


Leg Press
Two Plates Plus 50lbs 3x12

Lunges
50lbs 3x12

Pause Calf Raises
310 3x12-15

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Home Turf

It's the morning of an audition in which I must travel out of state. I have a love hate relationship with these kinds of auditions. I've had many auditions like this in the past few years, and they all have their ups and downs. There are goods, bads, pros, cons, all of that nonsense.

I've personally grown to love driving and find pleasure with all of the alone time that comes with it. Catching up on podcasts, singing along with some of my favorite songs, and getting away from the usual scenery. Different states have different eats, which is always nice. It gives me an excuse to actually utilize my flexible dieting wizardry and not eat the same shit I always do. I'm personally looking forward to dominating some more In-N-Out Burger this evening.

But you should not just travel for experience or pleasure. If you're going to invest time and money into an audition, it's with the belief that you're going to sing well, maybe even land a part/gig!

Although, you must also be aware of the chances of such a victory. Whenever you step out of your home turf, your chances of victory decrease. There is a psychological component that comes with trying to win outside the comfort of your own kingdom. It's very similar to what it takes to dethrone the incumbent!

Theories


*The following are theories and theories alone. Nobody has proven this - here go my thoughts*

We are creatures of comfort. We love knowing what is the "right" decision. It's hard not to go with the fellow you know can deliver, despite maybe not being the "perfect choice." (Whatever that means.) What if the director, conductor, and/or other administrative staff made the call to hire you and you turn out to be WAY wrong for the project? They are left with egg on their face. It's a gamble, and they have to take these kinds of things into consideration. When casting out of the comfort of home, it feels nice to continue with the feeling of comfort. Go with the "sure thing." At least that's my interpretation of the data.

When directors cast out of New York, they're out of their element as well. They are in that same little distant room away from their home. They strolled into that place with a suitcase with a computer to keep notes on. They are more than apt to take chances, because they themselves have taken a chance. To test the waters on other shores to see what kind of fish hop around their ponds.

It's much different for the fish to get himself a portable tank to glide across land to be able to present his best fin forward. All the while gasping for a comfortable breath, wondering where a fellow with gills can get some decent grub now that the hand that tips the flecks of food on the water surface isn't around.

Sometimes the best you can hope for is making a very good impression. Whether that makes financial sense is up to the individual. Be aware of the odds, hope that the dice fall in your favor, and sing the hell out of your audition.

Now, there have been plenty of people who have done JUST that. Made a huge trip out of town and returned with gold dangling around their neck. A brutal victory. Is it the exception that proves the rule? Perhaps. Is it a fluke, predestination, or perhaps the meddling of politics? I don't know. And frankly, I don't care. I'll focus on the circumstances I can present and focus on delivering the goods.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Friday, November 13, 2015

Upper

Overhead Press
105 x5, 120 x5, 140 AMRAP (5)




Pause Close Grip Overhead Press
110lbs 3x7-9 


Bent Over Row
185lbs 4x12

Weighted Dips
70lbs 4x4-6 



Pause Pull-Ups
25lbs 2x8

Chest Flys
3x12

Bicep/Tricep Superset

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Lower

Deadlift
355 x3, 405 x3, 455 AMRAP (3)




3" Deficit Deads
315 3x8




Pause Front Squat
165 3x6




Leg Extensions
205lbs 2x12

Leg Curls
195 3x12

Seated Calf Raises
2 Plates plus 30lbs 3x15-20

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Minimize

For lower body I've got worlds to go. The basic principles of linear periodization and undulating rep ranges are working wonders as I progress past the initial newbie gains. But for upper body, I'm trying something different...

For the longest time I was pushing the progressive overload on ALL of my lifts. Whether it was Bicep curls, Tricep extensions, or Rear Delt Flys. This lead to a few things - Feeling burned out, tendons and ligaments feeling stressed and strained, not getting the kind of training stimulus I desired.

I've since moved to doing things a bit more old school. Chase the pump. No specificity in numbers or lifts, just a number of a movements attached to a muscle group. This kind of randomized bull shit is more or less how I built up my initial physique. I attribute a lot of my more prominent body parts to this style of training. Biceps and chest specifically.

I'm still crowning the compounds king. Bench and overhead have alternating days, just like Chins and Rows. But after the initial Compound work is complete, I use body building type movements and training techniques to chase the pump, break down some muscle and go to failure.

For each "Upper" session I do 3 Bicep, 3 Tricep, and 3 Shoulder movements with at least 2-3 sets of Face Pulls.

Each Set I'm shooting for the 12-15 rep range. Sometimes I'll go as low as 8, but I'm keeping the reps higher.

A typical Bench Press Day looks as such:

Bench Press
Wendler Set Up -

Pause Bench
155lbs 2x8-12

1 Arm Chins
BW + 10lbs 1xAMRAP (4-8 reps)

Reg. Chin Ups
BW + 15lbs 1xAMRAP (10-15 reps)

Dumbbell Lateral Flys - Pyramid Set
Upright Rows - Pyramid Set
Dumbbell Front Raises - Pyramid Set

Face Pulls - 3x15

Hammer Curls - 55lbs x 5-8, 35lbs 10-15
Tricep Extension - Full Stack x 12, 110lbs x 15-20
Single Arm Rope Tricep Extensions 2x8-12
Upright Hammer Cable Curls (with the rope) 2x8-12
Pin Wheel Curls - Pyramid Set
Close Grip Push Ups - 1xAMRAP


Questions?

And then in the afternoon I hit another bench session....but I've already written about that. Basically, shit is gettin' serious with Miles Gloriosus. 

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Upper

Bench
180 x3, 205 x3, 230 AMRAP (3)


Pause Bench
185lbs 2x6-10 (8,6)



1 Arm Pause Chins
17.5lbs 1xAMRAP (6)

Reg. Pause Chins
25lbs 1xAMRAP (8)

Shoulder Super Sets

Bicep Tricep SuperSets

Monday, November 9, 2015

Lower

Squats
240 x3, 275 x3, 310 AMRAP (3)



Pause Squats
250 3x4



Sumo Deads
305 2x8



Leg Press
2 Plates plus 45lbs 3x12

Lunges
45lbs 3x12

Pause Calf Raises
300 3x12-15

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Who Am I?

I know, the same title as a damn theatre song. I know I'm a cliche.

Heart Sick.

I've got some post show blues. I'm more heart sick now than I ever have been post show. It's not because the show was "better" or that I didn't meet people that I'm super close to now in other productions. I've been blessed to meet some really amazing people, to play some cool parts, and to have a lot of fun on stage. I miss a lot of shows and a lot of experiences. But this is definitely different. I think it's because I liked who I was as "Curly McClain." An optimistic, charming, handsome fellow who had the bravery to fight his battles face to face and to chase after the love of his life. It felt good to live his story, to sing his songs, and to walk with his gate with heavy boots and a tilted hat sitting on some curly (more like wavy) locks. Young, in love, stupid, blinded by youth and recklessness. 

Frankly, I get lost sometimes. I forget who Kasey Yeargain is and let the story of the people I portray envelop who I am.

"Why can't I cast away this mask of play, and live my life?"

I know, I know. I sound like a pretentious ass. But honesty and transparency are the only tools I have to employ during time of such irrational though. My only true course of action left. So, who am I?


Who Am I?

My name is Kasey Yeargain. I sing, act, perform and lift weights on a regimented occasion. I write depressing blog posts about how tough the life of a young performer can be while wondering what else in the world would make me happier. I'm rarely ever completely fulfilled. The last time I remember being so complete was when I was 21 and head over heels in love. I'm nearly 28 today and an entire lifetime of heartache and joy has passed through this brow. Sometimes I feel like I made a deal with the devil, I traded an ordinary life for singing. I feel like I traded that feeling of coming home to sit with your gal, watching your favorite show, cuddling up and making love. I traded it for those seconds you feel when the orchestra creates that billowed curtain of sound underneath you, the reverberation is bouncing back so sweetly in your ear, your voice is an extension of your heart and you've created the picture so perfectly with each note and color that the very vision you paint blooms in your minds eye. The moment is so perfect that you don't even care if the audience claps or not, you're content with silence if the moment demands it so.

This moment. It's so perfect. But, you can't take that home with you. It won't stay up and talk with you when you can't sleep. It won't hold your hand when the day grows old. It won't wake you up with a kiss on the forehead or a brush of hair under your nose. In fact these moments can often leave you alone in a practice room, a gym, or in your bed. A Price? Perhaps. Worth the cost of admission. We'll find out.

Until next time,

Lift big, Sing big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Friday, November 6, 2015

Upper

Overhead Press
65 x 20, 80 x 20, 95 x 20



Bent Over Row
180lbs 4x12

Weighted Dips
60lbs 4x6-10 



Pause Pull Ups
22.5lbs 2x8

Chest Flys
3x12

Bicep/Tricep Superset

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Lower

Deads
330 x5, 380 x5, 430 AMRAP (6)




3" Deficit Deads
340 2x6




Pause Front Squats
155 3x8



Pause Leg Extensions
190lbs 3x12

Leg Curls
170lbs 3x12

Seated Calf Raises
2 Plates plus 25lbs 3x15-20

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Breathe, water, and thoughts on expression

What I'm going to say doesn't push aside the merit of having systems in order. Having finite choices, things that are extremely consistent. I preach consistency daily. It's how you mark progress. It's how you determine if the uncontrollable variables are coming into play. It's a great indicator of mastery.

But, in the realm of performing and living and breathing on stage, I must take a small stand against the "set it and forget it" mindset. I'm going to bring in a few different philosophies in this discussion, some of which are directly applicable, others which are not. Bear with me.


Mark it!


I distinctly remember when I first began playing in orchestras at a higher level (outside of public education) that everyone had pencils always readily at hand. The conductor would say something and dozens of hands would slam against the metal stands, scrambling for the graphite to circle dynamics, or "correct" things in the score. They'd feverishly mark the paper - digging in the paper until it was visible from a yard away.

I've seen scores, so brutally altered with "corrections" that the original composition is barely recognizable. This to me seemed so silly. Often times the "direction" I was receiving was either a basic reiteration or what is already in the score or something that was far less tangible, a feel or concept that had no place being boiled down to a scratch in a score.

I'll never forget all the sour puss looks I've received over the years when everyone else went dashing to mark and I sat their just staring at the maestro, listening to what they said. Some would look alarmed at me and say

"Well, aren't you going to write this down?"

And me, being the unknowing smartass that I was once said...

"I'll remember."

I'm not sure if I've inspired a tirade of this caliber before, but I've seen enough conductors blow up in front of me to have the memories blend together. I believe I've seen a conductor scream "Write it down or you WON'T remember!!!"


3 Things -

1.) If you convince me the reason WHY I should listen and mark things as such, I'll remember it eternally. If you sell me the story with your baton, I'll follow you to the end of the earth. That's a promise.

2.) Too many people take notes and never actually listen, leaving their ugly chicken scratch the only thing that they can manifest the memory rather than just absorbing the information.

3.) Having performed dozens of full opera choruses (Peter Grimes at Des Moines Metro Opera being at the top of the list) where the blocking, language, and music are all at an insanely difficult level and yet still being able to perform all aspects of it BY COMPLETE AND TOTAL MEMORY that I'd be able to remember to be "extra soft" on that last phrase before we go into the subito forte section or whatever.


With that being said, I got really great at faking marking notes in my score for the rest of my time as an orchestral musician. Like taking a broken pencil and scribbling on the dulled end of the paper. It's not like they're gonna check your work.


The Moment

I'd like to think that I was allowing the conductor to have more freedom. That my attentiveness to his (or her) expression was more important than the roadmap we spent 2 hours carving into the score. But, I know this to be unfair, they've got to control a freight train and some use the tools of marking to best get the product they desire. Completely understandable, and by no means do I think every orchestral musician should stop marking their scores...although, the more people I talk to the more I realize I'm not alone in my "faking."

Freedom is something that all masters share. One of my absolute favorite masters of the violin, Nathan Milstein continually changed his fingering and bowings. Or so I've heard. Pieces he played his entire life. His playing was his life, his livelihood. And yet he never sunk into the trap of "this is just how it's done."

I've recently taken this into the art of singing and acting, finding that I can greatly affect the profundity of phrase by merely mixing and matching the way I breathe the phrases. This goes against what I've been taught of course: Mark your breathes they say, so the accompanist can follow you better.

Why should things be so concrete? If the gravity of your expression is palpable enough, you won't need to mark a single thing.

Bruce lee was a man who studied many different forms of martial arts and was deeply routed in the teachings of Kung Fu. But it was his own fighting style that really championed him above others. Jeet Kune Do was all about being like water, ever changing to better adapt to the situation.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” - Bruce Lee

I've come to really love this idea. It's found a perfect home in my philosophy with character development. It's allowed me to play some very diverse characters while still upholding some of the principles of singing I love to spout.


Reality Check

This idea of living within "the moment" is extremely romantic. But, to just say "I'm gonna go with the flow" makes you sound like a damn beach bum. The truth is that in order to truly express yourself and find a giant palate of colors, you've got to paint by the numbers and keep within the lines for YEARS!

In order to thrive with freedom, you need to be grounded in the principles of technique, live within your mechanism and truly understand what it's capable of. You have to put yourself out there and feel the sting and burn of failure, the remorse of loss and the joy of victory. You've got to grease the groove doing the same shit over and over - learning patterns that will help you dominate the situation.

You can only obtain true mastery by conquering the mundane and finding out what it means to do things by the book. Once you've filled your book with the basics, tallied everything possible, you'll be ready for that next step. Which, if you haven't already guessed, is to throw that book away and to start painting pictures.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Upper

Bench
165 x5, 190 x5, 220 AMRAP (4) <---Disappointing.


Pause Bench
180lbs 2x6-10



1 Arm Pause Chins
15lbs 1xAMRAP

Reg Pause Chins
20lbs 1xAMRAP



Shoulder Super Sets

Rear Delt Flys
15lbs 3x15-20

Bicep/Tricep Super Sets

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lower

Squat
225 x5, 260 x5, 295 AMRAP (5)



Pause Squats
210 3x8



Sumo Deads
345 3x4



Leg Press
2 plates plus 40lbs 3x12

Lunges
40lbs 3x12

Calf Raises
560lbs 3x15-20