“Owning Your Spot” was, in a way, the culmination of several processes that were developed in previous workshops of Cafemnee. So far, most of our sessions had focused on things to do out or around the stage: practise, management, finances, communication with agents and clients, and so on. This time, we went directly to the stage, and that allowed us to apply knowledge acquired in all those previous experiences, and understand just how much we have changed for the best.
As usual, the workshop was divided in a morning and an afternoon session. During the first one, we started by discussing a lot of key points for the stage: self-believe and confidence, smiles, and one I am particularly keen on: good posture. Oh, the difference it makes to have a good posture from before you go on stage until after you have left the spotlight! You can see it very clearly in talent reality shows like “The Greatest Dancer” or “X-Factor” where the judges will comment on posture and demeanor which does not communicate confidence. Anyway, after the talk was over, we split the group in two: the instrumentalists went with Noval Smith for a jam session, and the singers stayed with me for a vocal improvisation workshop. In it, we reviewed some methods to make improvisation richer and more fluid, and we also Apps to help with practise and establishing an appropriate routine.
For the afternoon session, we put the Spotlights on so the women could perform for the panel of four experts (Abigail Kelly, Cynthia Fearon, Noval and myself) and the other attendants. Several women overcame their fear and performed, received positive feedback, and then performed briefly again to apply some of the comments received. The difference was astounding. So much progress in such a short amount of time! I loved the open mic showcase because it allowed me to really see the tremendous progress our regulars have made through the years, as well as the amazing boost the newcomers got with a single session.
What I take from “Owning Your Spot” is that Cafemnee is working. The women who came with their head low to the firsts workshops, fidgeting in their seats during the talks and talking themselves down at any given chance are now getting gigs and deals, going places. Cafemnee is changing the industry, that it is still oh so overwhelmingly male, step by step. Women are getting back to their forgotten instruments and expressing themselves, I am very pleased with the achievements of this project so far, and I look towards the future with hope and joy.
Speaking of that, we currently have a survey open about the next workshop, which will take place in April. It takes two minutes to fill in and your input is very valuable. Click here to access the survey.