This week’s guest is David Sisco.

This week we have part two of our two part brilliant interview with David Sisco, a New York based freelance voice teacher, and multi hyphenate artist, whose work life also encompasses being a published author, performer, music director, and commissioned composer. In this episode, David delves deeper into many important topics relating to our singing voice community, as well as his own teaching philosophies.

David discusses his intention to create a safer space in his teaching studio, by holding space for his students to foster curiosity, joy, passion and to learn to trust their individuality and not be in judgement of it. He believes that as voice teachers it is our job to invite the uncomfortable, and we must all learn to fail better and not be guided by our own limiting beliefs of what we think the voice can do and what the individual student is capable of. Our biases and our knowledge should not act as a barrier between ourselves and the student. David admits that he calls himself a voice teacher and is not a voice scientist and that is ok. He shares, that as voice teachers, we love our labels, and that as a voice teaching community we must stop shaming one another, know our lane and come together to uplift each other.

As David says so beautifully, it is time to celebrate all styles of singing in performance and research. This is a most inspirational and honest interview with David Sisco that is not to be missed.

In this episode

03:33 — The True Master-Apprentice Model

06:22 — Essential Requirements in Creating Safe Spaces

08:21 — Own Kind of Pedagogy in Musical Theatre

11:29 — Efficient and Sustainable Singing

18:05 — Finding Stewardship for Ourselves

22:16 — Establishing Teacher-Student Boundaries

23:12 — Unleash Your True Self, Unlock Your Potential

25:31 — Shifting Archetypal Essence

28:03 — Rising Above Imposter Syndrome

31:10 — Extended Safe Spaces for Both Students and Teachers

32:25 — What’s Next for David Sisco?

37:15 — Piece of Advice for the Singing Voice Community

Find David online


Performing in Contemporary Musicals

Mastering College Musical Theatre Auditions

David’s YouTube

Gualtieri & Sisco’s YouTube



Dr Marisa Lee Naismith is excited to announce the release of her new book “Singing Contemporary Commercial Music Styles: A Pedagogical Framework” published by Compton Publications UK. Marisa offers this book as a starting point and as CCM markets continue to evolve, she encourages that we, as a voice community, continue to evolve, debate and communally add to this framework.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:05

It’s Marisa Lee here, and I’m so excited to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you. In these episodes, our brilliant lineup of guests will include health care practitioners, voice educators, and other professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialized fields to empower you to live your best life. Whether you’re a member of the voice, community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. It’s time now to share your gift with others, develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, it’s time for you to live your best life. It’s time now for A Voice and Beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:15

This week, we have part two of our two-part brilliant interview with David Cisco, a New York based freelance voice teacher and a multi-hyphenate artist whose work-life also encompasses being an author, performer, music director and commissioned composer. In this episode, David delves deeper into many important topics relating to our Singing Voice community, as well as his own teaching philosophies. David discusses his intention to create a safer space in his teaching studio by holding space for his students to foster curiosity, joy, passion, and to learn to trust their individuality, and not be in judgment of it. He believes that as voice teachers, it is our job to invite the uncomfortable and we must all learn to fail better and not be guided by our own limiting beliefs of what we think the voice can do, and what the individual student is capable of. Our biases and our knowledge should not stand as a barrier between ourselves and the student. David admits that he calls himself a voice teacher and he is not a voice scientist. And that is okay. He shares that as voice teachers, we love our labels, and that as a voice teaching community, we must stop shaming one another, know our lane and come together to uplift each other. As David says, so beautifully, it’s time to celebrate all styles of singing in performance and research. This is the most inspirational and honest interview with David Cisco that is not to be missed. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:33

Do you think that some of the teachers within those institutions are some of the problem in that they have trained a particular way, be it some form of not the true Master-Apprentice model? But a form of, “This is how I was trained and this is how I’m going to train you.” Do you feel that some of those teachers perhaps have stuck in that “this is what I know and this is what I’m going to teach you”?

David Sisco  04:06

I see now you’re fully cocking the gun. I just I just want to call it out for your listeners like you. And you may have fired a warning shot. No, totally. I mean, yes is my answer. If I’m being honest.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:28

You’re allowed to say “yes” on my show. You don’t get fired from my show.

David Sisco  04:35

I mean, I have to say I think that, you know, I frankly, do not find that to be true of the place where I teach but we’re very fortunate in that way. You know, sincerely I will say that I think that tenure is a wonderful thing. And I think it’s a very dangerous thing. And I think there needs to be a competition of ideas in academia. And I mean, I think that there needs to be some sort of way where we all hold ourselves to a standard where we are fully investigating what is happening right now. Right? Not 10 years ago, when we, you know, may have been in the field, you know, or 20 years ago or whatever it may be like, how are we keeping? You know, and that’s the scholarship portion of it, right? It’s like, how are we keeping our scholarship alive so we’re bringing the best to our students? And are we so bent on bringing it back around? Are we so bent on teaching a method that we’re not willing to teach the students?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  05:40

Yes, yes. And talking about safe spaces, I did, like a little real. Once again, I’ve been, I’ve been putting myself out there. Now, I’ve been loading the gun in some of the comments that they make, because I feel I’m in a place of privilege because of the program that I’m working in. And I am advocating for change within our Singing Voice community, in terms of CCM. I am a CCM Advocate, that has been my career for over 45 years as a performer, as a teacher, as an academic, now an author, a researcher, whatever you want to call it. And one of the things that I believe if you’re going to create safe spaces for our students in academia, or otherwise, one, we have to listen to our students. Secondly, and this probably needs to be up top, we need to leave our biases at the door. And that includes music preferences. That includes music preferences. And one of the areas that academia is stuck in is still continuing to endorse a Western European model from the 16th century that does not equip students for the sounds that they have to create in current music markets. There is a big problem there in higher education but it’s not about that this discussion. It’s not about that. But in terms of music theater, to think there are greater advancements in that area than I know that there’s very little with CCM still.

David Sisco  07:23

Spin that out just a little bit more for me. Advancements in particular.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  07:27

Okay, that this is starting to create and encourage music theater programs within higher education, and putting together programs that actually will make students employable and not based from a classical that don’t say, “Well come and have classical training, and then you can become a musical theater singer.”

David Sisco  07:49

Yeah, I see what you’re saying. Yeah, I mean, they’re brilliance of them. Mistakes. I mean, it’s a musical theater could not be more competitive program to try to enter into as a freshman, undergraduate in the United States. I think it’s probably one of the most competitive, as far as I know. And so yeah, and I do think that there is, again, from from kind of my vantage point, I do think that there are a lot of programs that are looking at musical theater as its own kind of pedagogy. Right?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  08:25

Yay. You get another clap. No, no, no, because I feel that it should have its own pedagogy. It’s own unique art form and it should be respected in that way.

David Sisco  08:38

Well, when you’re performing, I mean, when you’re performing eight shows a week, you better have I talked to my students, like, you have to have an A Show Oblique technique. That is, that’s the gold standard. Like, you want to work? That’s what you have to have. And this is especially true, as you know, in contemporary musical theater, which I really love, is starting to rely much more heavily on pop rock music, and there’s a lot more demand for demand on the singers as a result. And so I think as a result of all of that, starting in definitely in late 80s, early 90s, and certainly now, there’s definitely a pedagogical view that has emerged and continues to evolve, which I think is great. I feel like the same is true if I may, for CCM. You had mentioned earlier up before we started to mention talking about Elizabeth Benson. And you know, she wrote a wonderful book Training Contemporary Commercial Singers and I’m just finishing it. I have to say, to me, it is the most cogent examination of CCM pedagogical approaches. I think it’s just a wonderful it’s such a great book because it literally takes, I hit 10 or 12, different CCM pedagogues and kind of brings them all together and say or how do you feel about vowels? How do you feel about how breath is used? How do you talk about registers? How do you talk about, you know, art history? All of these different things and so I think that that’s happened too, which is very heartening to me. Having said all this, I feel like this is kind of similar to what I said earlier, but I feel like it bears repeating. I think it’s essential that we celebrate all styles of singing, through performance and research. And that, as I said earlier, we’re we love our labels, we have come to love our labels, as musicians, and some of those labels are really, they limit us. And they limit our pedagogical scope, I think. And so I hope that we can continue to learn from each other. And because I believe that when we do that, because I believe that there’s so much more that brings us together. I mean, it’s all the same instrument. Yes, it’s, it may be used differently in classical and musical theater and CCM or popular music styles. You know, it may be used differently, but it’s the same instrument, and there’s a lot more in common than not. And so I celebrate the different pedagogies. And I say, let’s just continue to learn, like, Oh, this is how you talk about this. Oh, I wonder if I can bring that into my studio, even though I teach in a, you know, in a different kind of genre of music. Does that make sense?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:17

Absolutely. And we had this discussion in the pre-interview meeting where I said, “Well, one thing irrespective of style, good singing is good singing.” By that I meant efficient, sustainable singing.

David Sisco  11:32

Absolutely. You know, I love to use that word sustainable. I talked to my students, like, I’m not interested in what some may call good or bad sound. That is wholly subjective.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:43

Absolutely. And that’s bias too.

David Sisco  11:46

It’s bias. Exactly. And on so many levels. And it can be used as a way of gatekeeping. I mean, it’s so problematic. It’s also, we don’t always want to make, quote unquote, beautiful sounds, depending on what we’re expressing. Now, do we want to make sustainable sounds? Efficient sounds? Yes, we do. Do we want to know if what we’re doing is inefficient or unsustainable? Yes, we do. The spectrum in between those two things is so vast. And I think we have such a great opportunity to encourage our students, regardless of what genre they’re singing, to explore that spectrum. That’s what’s interesting to me.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:29

Yes. And when you say not all those sounds are beautiful. It’s actually okay to have imperfections in boys. Because that could be a moment of true vulnerability, a moment of being honest. And it’s then you being authentic. And your imperfections are what makes you unique as an artist.

David Sisco  12:54

Absolutely. I talk to my students about, you know, when you’re walking the street, you see people stopped around a busker singing companying themselves on the guitar, or people going to church or going to the theater, you know, to watch a musical or an opera, or whatever it is. I believe that people are going and paying attention to these performers. Because there’s something in what we do as singers that is so risky, that is so daring. And I think people, probably most of them completely unconsciously, are so drawn to that because they want to be that brave themselves. That’s I think, why we go to the theater. We we want to watch people be braver than we feel like we can be. That’s why we’re rooting for the person that you know, that starts out rags to riches, whatever the story is, right? Whatever this story is being told. We’re rooting for that person, because that’s us. That’s us. Right? And so we’re not looking for perfection. We’re looking for honest. We’re looking for authentic. Right?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:01

 Yes, yes. I drilled that into my students from the first day. Well, I shouldn’t say drill. It’s, I allow that space, in my voice studio, where they can have those moments where things may not go as planned. Sometimes they may, you know, have, but I want them to experiment and to play. And I don’t know if you know, Heidi Moss, but Heidi is a scientist and voice teacher and a singer. And she talks about having failed science experiments. And I love this that you’re allowed to have failed experiments in the science laboratory. And I take it a step further. I say, well, people that every day, there’s people like researchers trying to find a cure for cancer. How many failures do they have every day? Why can’t you allow yourself, you know, what you perceive to be a failure, something that may not work out the way you want it? You know, the difference is no one’s life is at risk. So it’s okay. So for you, I know, it’s a big thing for you to create that safe space for your students to be. You call it a safer space. And you can explain that for your students to become vulnerable. How do you do that?

David Sisco  15:24

Yeah, I this summer, I’ve kind of had an evolution of safe, to safer spaces. And what has come to me is that, you know, I’m only one person in the space, right? I can read the space and say, “Hey, this is safe space,” but that means that I’m, in some ways defining the space for somebody else, right? And so, so I’m working on just playing with the idea of like, creating safer space and to invite in the uncomfortable. And so for me, what that looks like is, as you said, is earlier you said investigating our own biases, which I think is so important.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:02

Oh, absolutely. And to check in on them regularly too.

David Sisco  16:06

Yeah. Yeah, I think that we have to have also have an awareness of our own internal life. Where are those moments where we may be reactionary, you know, or respond to a student in a way that maybe it’s not the most helpful to them in that moment. And so I just, as I said earlier, finished my first week of teaching at NYU. And on Friday, I had this realization that it was the first time that I can remember, as a teacher finishing the first week of a semester than it wasn’t utterly exhausted. I taught seven hours, one day, I felt like I could have taught another five, I got through the entire week, I think I probably had about 20 hours in the week, on top of doing other stuff, and it wasn’t tired at all. And one of the things that came to me was, you know, I’m someone who probably not surprising based on what I’ve shared about myself, as far I’ve struggled with anxiety, and… I’m hearing you. Yeah, you know, I used to wake up with kind of this, this heaviness in my chest almost every day. And I have to say, since this past May, I haven’t. And then I was like, you know, you got through this week, and you feel completely fine. And you’re ready to, you know, to do it again. And I think that what came to me was that, you know, because I’m not weighed down by my own stress, which causes a lot of different things, I’m then not a magnet for everyone else’s stuff, right? And I think what I did was, I kind of allowed everyone else’s stuff to come on to me, and then pulled it along for the week until I was got so exhausted, I had to sleep. And I think I’m in a different place now. And so, to go back to your question about safer spaces, I think it’s stewardship. It’s our own self care. How are we caring for ourselves? I know that, in order to keep my anxiety at bay, I have to do physical exercise. That means running and lifting weights. That’s how I do that. I have to meditate daily. I’m doing a wonderful Deepak Chopra to my Twenty-one-day Abundance Meditation that I highly recommend. I’ve done that one. I’ve done it. So so great, I love it. And it also means that I journal just so I can kind of as I call it, kind of keep the lava flow low, because we don’t want to be reactionary in the studio, when a student does something that you know, and we’ve had, you know, nine other things that have happened earlier that day that have you know, made us anxious or upset or frustrated. And then we lash out at the student. Well, we have now ruined that creative, safer space, right. And so So I think that has a large part to do with it. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:02

Can I just pop in just for a moment? I don’t want to interrupt your train of thought. But we are definitely kindred spirits. I do all three of those every day. And I have do too for exactly the same reason that you’re describing. So just wanted to share that even for our listeners to know that if they’re struggling, if they’re finding they don’t have the energy or the mentality or they’re not showing up as best as they possibly can on that day, because every day is different in our best is different on a daily basis. You know, have a think about these incorporating some of these practices into your day and it can really be life changing.

David Sisco  19:45

And I also want to add if I may that I do not do this perfectly. I will be the first one to tell you that I still have days where I do feel like I was a little reactionary in that in that moment and I can I can catch it faster because I’m hopefully a little bit more on an even ground that I wouldn’t be otherwise but…

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:05

But you’re human.

David Sisco  20:06

Yeah I’m human. And we get to, you know, I love this phrase, “Let’s learn how to fail better,” right? How do we fail better every day in our work as teachers? And so, the other thing I would say is how do we foster this feeling of excitement and around being curious, getting our students to be curious about what they’re doing and finding joy in what they’re doing? As I think that, you know, if we do not do these things in the studio, it doesn’t matter how gifted we are as as pedagogues. It really doesn’t, because the knowledge is not going to go in. The seeds are going to fall on a rock, and not on fertile soil. And so, you know, so again, I can hear part of me in my head going, “Oh, God, he’s so woo-woo,” you know, you know, like, but…

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:57

Ya know, what we can woo-woo together.

David Sisco  21:01

You know, as I said earlier, it’s a combination of these things. It’s not just intuition, and ignoring science. It’s not just, you know, fostering curiosity and passion. And, you know, and teaching. It’s all of this together. And I think that what I want to never do is to use my knowledge as a barrier between myself and the suit. And I think that’s what creating safer spaces does. And I think that we can do, and I think that that’s how we can actually extend our friendship to our suits.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:33

It’s to some of what you’re describing what I’m feeling, or a way that I wanted to articulate is we can’t go into our studios with limiting beliefs. If we have limiting beliefs of what the boys can do, what the student is capable of, that’s once again, I suppose a bias. Then the student is not going to grow. So we’re not creating an environment for growth and exploration. If we as teachers go in with these limited beliefs and expectations.

David Sisco  22:10

That’s exactly right. And I think that part of stewardship that I just want to add is, is setting healthy boundaries too, right? Because if we do not, if we do not set boundaries around the work we do with our students, that creates many problems, and we’re also not focusing their energy to help them grow. Right? So it’s not just all of this or all of that it’s a combination of all of these things, you know, to the benefit of the student.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  22:38

Is there anything else that you wanted to say in terms of that, holding safer spaces? You’ve touched on mindfulness and self-care for you? Was there something that you wanted to say in terms of how that impacts your teaching? Or do you encourage your students to do any of that work themselves?

David Sisco  23:00

Yes. I mean, I think that the first thing that comes to me is that, you know, my job as a teacher is to give my students permission to, to both learn and trust their individuality. That’s my philosophy. Yes. I, you know, I have lots of different ways to get to where you want to go. But, but like, that’s, that’s what all of this is about. It’s mind giving you permission to be who you are. Right? Not who you think you should be, but who you actually are.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  23:35

Your students are very lucky to have you.

David Sisco  23:38

That’s very kind. I feel very fortunate.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  23:40

I love how you think. Yeah, I love how you think. I wish others in our field thought the same way or even were remotely open to some of the ideas that you’re talking about. I think we all need to. ICBT was a great start. And I think we all need to start jumping on the bandwagon. It’s time for change.

David Sisco  24:06

Yeah, and I am very, I see it happening. And I think it has a lot to do with, you know, we’re getting people who have lived experiences that are different than than mine that are bringing all of who they are into the studio. And that’s what we need each teacher to do, is to do that because I think that’s what liberate students. Yeah, it’s so important.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  24:32

Yes. And you do work as an activist to you may not call yourself that but when I read your blogs, you know, you have a beliefs, you do, you write about things that you believe that are important. What are some of those things that you would like to see changing within our Singing Voice community that perhaps we haven’t touched on? So far?

David Sisco  24:57

Yeah, you are correct. I wouldn’t call myself an activist. I maybe I’ll call myself a, thank you. I’ll call myself a concerned citizen. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:06

Oh! That’s, that’s a very polite term.

David Sisco  25:09

In terms of what I would love to see, I would love to see. So I’m going to talk kind of couple of different things at a couple of different levels. So the first thing I would say, specific to my area in musical theater is I want to see an update casting practices at the university level. And I’m just going to tease that out for a second. Sure. For years, we have cast people by the ingenue, the funny best friend, the leaving man, right? And a lot of these types, archetypes I’ll call them, came to us even though they predate the Commedia dell’Arte. And so that’s how, you know, that we have kind of the stock characters, that’s how Golden Age kind of started. These kinds of stock characters, you got your funny best friend, you got the entrepreneur with the man, male lead, who’s going to just gonna follow along with him. And the problem with these, these archetypes is that they have been used as a form of gatekeeping, they have cat, white cisgender people at the center of musical theater for a very, very long time. And so there needs to be a shift and there is happening in the industry starting to at least, a shift to essence. Essence is basically what are the six to eight adjectives you would use to describe yourself, and it can be lots of different things, because you are many different things. You know, I love all of this, you know, I contain multitudes. Right? And so getting to help students kind of create their own agency to have a sense of like, what is my essence as a performer? Yes, I may be funny, but I can also, you know, I can also do this, and they’re not the amount of vocal technical things. They’re just like who you are. Yes. And then looking at it from that perspective. I also think, you know, related to that, I think that students should be able to tell those who are casting them in productions, who they feel they are in the world of a show, regardless of gender, regardless of the identity of the character. Why don’t we start again from their point of view? It may not be where the production lands, but at least we’re allowing the students to claim their agency and think in a really powerful way. So that’s the first one, I want to support and create more visibility for transnet by their performers, writers and teachers. There’s so much work that needs to be done in this area, that would be a whole other hour amongst itself. And then I think there needs to be more equity in full time and adjunct faculty so that the faculty better represent the community that they serve. And then finally, my my wish, for us as a teaching community is, and again, this all claim this is maybe my own stuff, but in my own kind of imposter syndrome, rearing its head, but I do feel like there’s a lot of shame around not knowing things.

David Sisco  25:22

It’s. I have suffered from impostor syndrome too, like ugh!

David Sisco  28:15

Yeah, and I think that, you know, I just want to share or your listeners this quote, I’ve used quite a bit, but Michael Smithson, who’s a social scientist at Australian National University, he uses this great analogy to explain the relationship between knowledge and ignorance. This is the quote from a New York Times article back in the 1980s. He said, “the larger the island of knowledge probes, the longer the shoreline where knowledge meets its accents. The more we know, the more we can ask questions don’t give way to answers as much as they proliferate together, answers breed questions. Curiosity isn’t merely a static disposition, but rather a passion of the bind that is ceaseless the art and nurtured,” and I think that’s those are words to live by. And I think that, you know, I feel all equipment on your show, I feel shamed for not understanding acoustics in the way that I want to right.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  29:14

It get me. Yes.

David Sisco  29:16

You know, and I think it’s also it’s just having this conversation with one of my teacher colleagues who’s just so fantastic. It’s kind of it’s also okay to kind of know your lane. Yes. And no, like, you know, I’m a good teacher, but I’m not a voice scientist. And I’m not supposed to be. There are other people that do that brilliantly. God bless Kenneth Bozeman. Oh my gosh, I love that man. I think he’s so brilliant in what he’s created and what he’s done for our communities and amazing and go to so many great pedagogues who were were really filling our brains with such great voice science knowledge, that’s not who I am. That’s never going to be who I am. And that’s not that’s not a bad on me. It’s not.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:00

And doesn’t make you make you a bad teacher because you have amazing qualities that other teachers don’t have ones that you’ve just articulated to me, I feel they’re far better. I would rather not know anything about Voice Science and acoustics, but be a wonderful, caring, knowledgeable teacher that students grow. And they become beautiful singers and have amazing careers, sustainable voices with that that stuff too.

David Sisco  30:35

And again, there’s room for all of that. There’s room for all. And that I guess, I guess that’s the thing that I want to hit home is that is that, you know, there’s room for all of us at the table. And regardless of what our focus is, there’s room for every one at the table. And so if we can create that, and celebrate those intersections that we do find where we do have a lot more in common than we thought, I think that that’s what’s going to make our country stronger. So I guess that’s, you know, that’s kind of my dream.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:09

Well, maybe we can extend safe space to incorporate not only all students to be heard, but all teachers to be invited and to be accepted. Maybe that’s what we need to now start endorsing that as well. Allow all teachers, no matter of their art, their skill set of they teach, the styles that they teach their backgrounds, that they are all invited to our community and be a part of that community and enjoy the sharing of one another.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:43

Yeah, totally, totally right.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:46

We have been on here for so long. I think we’re going to, this is definitely two episodes here, which thank you, I’ve just got two episodes out. Just having this beautiful chat with you. Now, with all the roles that you take on your multi-high finance career, which is a wonderful word. You’ve introduced me to that word. What are you doing right now? Where are you at with everything right now.

David Sisco  32:20

So I’ll give you kind of a snapshot of of the week to come. I’m writing an introduction for this new book that I’m working on while outlining the table of contents. And just very briefly, I’ll say that it’s the working title is “Wholehearted Teaching, Bringing Together Body, Mind and Spirit in the Voice Studio.”

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:39

I’ll be buying that book.

David Sisco  32:42

You know, there are a lot of really great books about a pedagogical information and I’m interested in okay, then how do we communicate that information in the studio? And how do we recognize that there has been tremendous change in how we learned versus how today’s suits that, you know, we look at like sports psychology, and what’s happened happening in the mindfulness, all the research that’s coming out of mindfulness and in psychology, and how can we bring all of that to our benefit that question, so that’s, it’s kind of a big topic that’s wholly scaring me, but I’m going to give it a go. I’m working on a new concept musical as a composer that’s loosely based on the life of Leonardo da Vinci. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  33:25

Oh, wow. Can I say wow? I went, I went to the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Rome, just before ICBT. Oh, my gosh, yeah. What a man.

David Sisco  33:41

What an amazing life. And really what the show is about is about genius, and how we are so attracted to genius and how we want to feel as if some part some small part of that is ours. Or then we can use it to get where we need to go maybe in a more beloved allowance way. And so with a colleague of mine of creating this new musical about various people throughout time, who have either lifted up to Vinci’s work for the benefit of humankind, or have lifted up to Vinci’s work for their own benefit, and so very interested about that.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:22

Interesting. How are you researching that?

David Sisco  34:25

Well, we just finished this really, I’m not going to remember the name of the author, and I apologize, but there’s a.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:31

Oh, okay. So it’s a book.

David Sisco  34:33

I ordered a biography on DaVinci that we read. And then my colleague Glenn and I are working to do our own research based on the characters that we’re kind of creating together. So a lot of the research phase right now and kind of the scene reading phase of that. So we’re working on that a little bit. I’m launching with Laura again, Laura Joseffer, and I wrote this book called Mastering College Musical Theater Auditions, which is what it sounds like. It’s helping high school students prepare for the realities of the audition season, college audition season, there’s so many different parts of that process. And there are not a lot of really detailed books about that process. And our book in particular has sections for the student, teacher and the parents to read. And I’m proud to say that this week, we’re launching the third edition of the book. That’s excellent. Which has a whole online companion so we can continue to grow and evolve the information we share. So we’re doing that. And then I’m putting together an album of songs from a series I created with my longtime collaborator, Tom Quartieri. I’ll draw the circle wide. And it ties in to this diversity, equity, inclusion, exercise discussion, rather, that we’ve been having about our industry, we interviewed different professional performers in the musical theatre industry about their experience being othered in the industry, and then we created a song specifically for them to put that center of their story that working in that, and then I’m reshaping review of a song some songs called variations on the theme of view. And then teaching, teaching teaching. So that’s, that’s this week.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:16

As I asked you before, how do you sleep? But you actually answered that question. Do you find, though, that you need to be doing a number of things is that what fills your soul?

David Sisco  36:28

Oh, 100%. And if you would ask me, you know, what is the most important? It’s the answer is what I’m currently working on. At that moment.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:37

So so you’re focused in to me, I just hear okay, whatever it is I’m working on has to take priority. Yeah, now. Exactly. Right. Yeah. And just step into that role. So we’ve kind of answered the last two questions that I was going to ask you. What do you believe that we can all do better as a Singing Voice community? Is there anything further you wanted to add to that?

David Sisco  37:05

Yeah, I think very jive. I’ve answered very long form your show. And you’ve been very kind to let me do so. So thank you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  37:13

It’s been a joy. No, thank you.

David Sisco  37:15

I was on keep this very succinct. And just say, listen, and stay curious. That’s our job is to summarize it into one sentence. That’s, that’s what it is.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  37:25

So I think we’ve covered off on everything.

David Sisco  37:28

We did it. That’s really impressive.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  37:30

We did it. I mean, that was just brilliant. I could sit here and talk to you all day, I just love the way you think and your philosophies and your attitude to everything and your openness, and that you are so willing to share all these parts of view as well that I, you know, it’s up to the guests how much they want to reveal about themselves, and, and you are totally open. And I think it’s a privilege to be in this space with you. So thank you.

David Sisco  38:02

Thank you, for us, I really appreciate the opportunity to be with you and that I think so highly of you. And I knew this was gonna be a great conversation. So, so thank you for making time to have it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  38:14

We’re going to share all your links to your your books, your work, whatever it is you would like our listeners to discover more about, or if they they want to purchase any of your books or music, we will share all that in the show notes for you. It’s the least we can do is to promote you even further. But just putting it out there, this is definitely going to be a part one and a part two episode.

David Sisco  38:44

Well, now the thing that I want to say to listeners is, you know, I mean, yes, should you feel called by my books, that’s great. But you know, if there’s something about a conversation that we’ve been having today, as you’ve been listening, that really resonates with you that you want to talk about, I hope that you’ll reach out to us. Because, you know, there’s nothing that makes me happier than to kind of meet more of my people. Who are people that are really willing to kind of go deep into these conversations and to, to learn from each other. So please, all of my contact information is on my website, just And so please feel free to reach out to me, I’d love to chat with you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  39:25

Thing is with you, David. You care. 

David Sisco  39:28

Oh gosh, we have to. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  39:30

You do you. And that comes across. You’re very passionate and you care about what you’re doing and about the people that you teach you surround yourself with. It’s a credit to you. Thank you. Yep. And it’s not just about notches on the belt. It’s like I have, you know, so many students, it’s not a brag, it’s, these are humans. These are people that I care about. I have this responsibility and I’m going to do my best with them.

David Sisco  39:59

I believe you know We all get to, we all get to go together, wherever we are on our ladders. And so yeah, let’s like, first of all, let’s let’s level the playing field, as we’re doing, as we’re talking about talked about today. And yeah, let’s kind of just all learn from each other.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:17

Exactly. Well, I’m going to let you go because you’ve given way, way so much time. Really appreciate you love your work. Love you. And I’m sure our paths are going to connect. Well, I have an invitation to your guest room in New York.

David Sisco  40:33

You do?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:35

And you better show me all the shops.

David Sisco  40:39

And I will. You know, Albert, my husband and I love Australia. We just have loved our time there and we will definitely get that. We met. Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:48

Yes. Well, you I have a guestroom.

David Sisco  40:51

Okay, you heard it here first Australia. It’s committed. I like that. That’s very, that’s very balance. That’s good.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  41:03

We’ll take it easy. I wish you all the best. And yeah, we’ll connect soon. Take care. Thank you. Take care. Bye, David. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  41:16

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of A Voice and Beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self-care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag #AVoiceAndBeyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple Podcast right now. But I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway. Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of A Voice and Beyond.

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