Musical Theatre Gift Guide Tools We've made it to the final day of our Holiday Gift Guide! Yahoo! I'm really passionate about all of the tools I'm recommending in this post. Yes, I know it sounds weird, but I am passionate about sheet protectors. Read below to find out why! Because I'm so excited about these tools, I've decided to include 6 in this post. These tools will make GREAT gifts for the aspiring or professional Musical Theatre Performers in your life! Enjoy!

iReal Pro – Music Book & Play Along

Link for MAC This is HANDS DOWN the best phone app I have ever encountered. Seriously seriously amazing. I've had it for several years, but the new pro version they just launched is even better than the original.  I plan on writing a full on post dedicated to this product… but for now, let me give you the quick rundown of why it's good for singers. By downloading free music charts (sheet music with just chords) from the iReal B forums, you have instant access to thousands of songs. By going to this one link I downloaded 1300 jazz standards. Once I clicked that link through the app, I had instant access to the songs. Each song includes a lead sheet (music with just the chords not the melody) that you can email to yourself as a pdf and print off,  the ability to transpose them into a key of my choice, the ability to change the tempo of each song, and the ability to hear a jazz combo play the song in whatever key or tempo I want.  I have always loved the idea of singing with a band, but for a while, the idea of putting music together was so scary! Or, so expensive! This app is an amazing way to get started.   You can also follow the chords as a piano player or guitar player. AND, there's an option that teaches you how to play each chord. Once you know how to play the chords, you can also write you own music using the app. The possibilities are out of control.  Keep an eye out for an iReal b tutorial, or feel free to ask me any questions about the app.  Did I mention that I love it?  ps – I have this app on my ipad, and also on my android phone. It works really well on both!

Avery Top Loading Non-Glare Poly Sheet Protectors 100 Count (74102)

Ok – as I said earlier – I'm SUPER PASSIONATE about these sheet protectors. If you read my post about your most important audition tool you'll know why. Without a killer audition book… you are going to have a really hard time succeeding in your singing audition. These NON-GLARE, HEAVYWEIGHT sheet protectors are the number one way you should organize your music. If you use no sheet protectors you run the risk of your music ripping and falling out of your book. If you use light weight sheet protectors they get wrinkled and slip around inside your book. If you use GLOSSY SHEET PROTECTORS, YOUR ACCOMPANIST WILL NOT BE ABLE TO READ YOUR MUSIC! Did you hear that? IF YOU USE GLOSSY SHEET PROTECTORS, YOUR ACCOMPANIST WILL NOT BE ABLE TO READ YOUR MUSIC! I know it's hard to understand unless you are reading the music yourself, but a bad glare on a piece of music is frustrating and will often throw your accompanist way off. These are a great gift for a musical theater performer. They will thank you!

Aylio 3 Loop Bands for Exercise (Light, Medium, Heavy)

Most people know these bands as great tools for dancers, but did you know they are great for singers too? I do lots of exercises in my lessons that involve physical resistance. Often, I'll have a singer hold my hand and pull away from me when they get to a problem note. Or sometimes, we hold both hands and they push against me. (This has been a little harder with my current pregnant state… but I do my best) These bands are a great substitution when you don't have another person to pull against. And, they are great for working out on the go (like when you are on tour with a broadway show). You can use them for stretching and weight lifting, and they easily fold up into a suitcase or carry on bag.)
Orange County Headshots

New Headshots

Often, a headshot and a resume are 1/2 of what gets you in the door for an audition. If your headshot doesn't look like you, or if it's stylistically out of whack, you are in big trouble. Lucky, my favorite NYC headshot photographer, Miss Daryl Getman has relocated to the West Coast. (I say that with a little hesitation, cause I feel like she still spends just as much time in NYC or around the country cause she works her booty off, but she now calls California home). She offers great advice in this post- GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR HEADSHOT SESSION, and we are working on another discount headshot day! Yahoo!

The Stick Marathon Stick

This is a LIFE SAVER for dancers with tight/sore muscles. If you know anything about the torture of a foam roller, you will understand the goodness of this stick. Nothing beats a great massage when your muscles are over worked, but they can be pricey and hard to make time for. This stick (which is also great for travel, is used to roll out those crazy tight IT bands and other muscles that are prone to tightness when you are dancing in a show. You can use it on your own, or convince a friend to help you for hard to reach spots like your shoulders. I got mine when I worked in Vegas about 10 years ago, and I still use it now. Love!!

Sony HDR-CX220/B High Definition Handycam Camcorder with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black)

Travel Tripod Let's face it, more and more auditions are happening online. AND, it's becoming more and more important to get yourself out there with high quality videos. I love this camera! I used it for my most recent free online voice lessons like the lessons featured on this page  – Intermediate Voice Lessons.  I used my phone for my first few voice lesson videos and the difference in quality really shows. Some of you may also know that I work for my families tree trimming company (West Coast Arboritsts, Inc.) recording videos of their crews in action. This camera has been a great addition to my tool box for that as well! I recommend getting a larger memory card like this one –Sony 32GB SDHC Class 10 Memory Card  – so that you don't need to worry about needing extra space.  AND – for on the go jobs, this tripod is great! Sometimes it takes a little fiddling, but it will work almost anywhere. I used this camera to film a student's OCSA audition recently and we wanted to get a nice angle from above so I clamped this crazy tripod onto a music stand. It worked so well! Here's how I used it on a recent shoot for WCA. And, that's the end of our Musical Theatre Gift Guide! As with the other posts, I've created a Prepared Performer “Tool” Wish List that I'll keep adding to as I find new awesome tools!


PS –  Some of the links listed here are part of the Amazon Affiliate program. We will get a small commission if you purchase these items with no extra cost to you : ) BUT!!! I promise that we are only recommending items that we’ve read and loved. We don’t want you to be waisting any valuable practice time on books that won’t help.   Molly Mahoney Shimmer and Shine

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