Linda Amiel Burns and The Singing Experience
Published in Back Stage - The Actor's Resource By David Finkle on November 1, 2007

Three men and 10 woman stand in a rehearsal studio on Manhattan’s West Side, raising their voices to Raposo’s upbeat anthem “Sing.” Led by Linda Amiel Burns, they’re warming up for a group workshpo performance. The impending event is No. 429 on the list of workshop performances that Burns began 30 years ago. That’s when she introduced The Singing Experience, a class geared to would-be singers, who range fem those pursuing a singing career or honing an acting carer for which some singing may be required to those merely interested in improving their private shower concerts.

Linda Amiel Burns
The careerists I spoke with declared in no uncertain terms that The Singing Experience experiience was beneficial. Lynn DiMenna, who divides her time between hosting the cabaret-promoting At The Ritz on WVOR-FM and playing clubs like the Oak Room at the Algonquin, says Burns’ class gave her the conficence to take her first steps away from being a Connecticut housewife afraid to set foot on a Manhattan stage. One of her early stints being two and a half years with Stan Rubin’s band, she says, “The bottom line is that Linda has been a consistent suport. It’s what she does best no mattter what the level”

Diane Kagan, most recently understudy for both Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes in Terrance McNally’s Deuce on Broadway, says of Burns, “She never for a moment does anything but encourage.” Kagan is especially impressed with how Burns’ training helps at auditions: “What it does is build confidence.” Denise Richardson, one of Channel 13’s pledge leaders, calls Burns’ technique magic: “It helps with people. Our society says we should cover up who we are and what we feel. I took that lesson of stripping people of the facade. Linda and The Singing Experience give us that lesson.”

Burns, who performed professionally as a child and whose father was a successful Broadway restaurateur, decided to go into the coaching business after taking exception to the harsh treatment she saw herself and others being subjected to by teachers whose beliefs about technique improvement were of the break-’em-down-to-build’em-up variety. She says she asked herself, “What if I gave other people a chance to feel good on the stage?” She insists she wants “a safe environment” in which studens can “make mistakes, try new things, be free” and estimates that 5,000 singing hopefuls have come through her doors.

The group “Sing” rendition is one of those feel-good tactics. Others include contant esteem-confirming remarks, such as “You’re always much better than you think you are” and similar commments she makes during this class, the third of four leading up to the public performance. Smiling and prompting her baker’s dozen wannabes, Burns talks about being “gentle and loving.”

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