Sue’s Views

A Blog by Sue Matsuki

What I’ve Learned During the Pandemic!

by | Jul 26, 2020 | Sue's Views | 0 comments

What I’ve Learned About Singing During the Pandemic!

I have learned that:

I could not have gotten through this without Zoom and Facebook. What great tools to perform, create and see people in real time to feel less lonely.

I do not have to sing. Singing is a privilege and I love to sing, and while I’ve been singing and posting clips of myself, it’s not as much of a priority as I thought in my life right now. It has, however, been a saving grace.

The downtime, in some respects, was a blessing. I’m the “Queen of Organization” but I also procrastinate. I feared with the “there’s always tomorrow” phenomenon that I would use that as an excuse to put things off. It didn’t play out that way. In one of my previous blogs, I mentioned creating a large TO DO LIST and prioritizing all the items by category and it worked! It focused me on specific tasks. I would take 5 items daily and get them done and scratch them off the list…this is very satisfying! *Please read my blog called “Stir Crazy Much?” –

Taking on-line classes was an awesome experience. Not only did it help to socially connect me with friends who I was no longer seeing in person, I was able to get some real work done, sometimes on a deeper level. Once you learn how to use Zoom, there’s this strange intimacy that happens in your performance that I just can’t explain…it just happens. I feel that it can only enhance my performance on stage when we are able to go back to live performances.

I took Lina Koutrakos’ Advanced Performance Class and Virtual Voices Class @, I registered for classes at Alexis Cole’s @ and of course, there are the incredible on-going classes offered by: *Please read David Sabella’s blog called “Delivering a Voice Lesson On-Line” –

Using these new formats of singing: Zoom, Yeti, Internet Midi, playing my arrangements over a blue tooth amp and singing live in the room or sharing sound through Zoom and signing that way was a huge opportunity to learn.  *To learn more about equipment use and how to preform within this new paradigm of signing, please read all of David Sabella’s blogs in his “Quarter Notes from the Apocalypse” Series –

There is also a great demonstration in David’s vlog with Gregory Toroian on how you can sing in real time through Internet Midi –

If you are going to perform live or tape something that appears live for an Open Mic, come to the screen rehearsed and prepared.  *Please read my blog called “What Am I Watching?” –

Even though I realize that attending Open Mics are a safe place to meet up and practice and that no Open Mic (even in real life) is perfect, you want to try to put your best foot forward (or voice in this case). Being pre-rehearsed and/or ready to boogie when called on will represent you so much better than fiddling with buttons or singing to a track you cannot even hear. Let me help you with this, please read my other blog, “Virtual Open Mic Protocol” for step-by-step instructions in how to pre-set and test your music before you enter the Zoom meeting.

On a personal level…I have learned that:

I could not have gotten through this without my husband, especially with a broken arm, so my heart goes out to all who had to go through this without another person in their space. To those people, reach out if you need contact and let people know you need them. Set up a Zoom call.

When using my left hand, I have to access a different part of my brain but it can be done with some focus. However hitting “shift” for a capital letter with one hand is really hard! The lesson here: you CAN do anything that you set your mind to do…you may have to figure out a different way, but you can do it! Kind of like how we are all figuring out to to continue to sing and work!

Getting out of the house and away from the computer at least once a week for a long walk in a park is my “mental health day” event. It’s necessary.

I cannot do more than 2 hours at a time on Zoom.

Exercising is mandatory. Having lost a lot of weight, I gained back the Covid 10 (although I’ve already lost 5 of those 10 lbs.) because I cannot swim, my exercise of choice. I am not eating more. I have less of an appetite in the summer but just sitting at the computer all day, at my age and metabolism, does not help. *Please read my article called “Stress Eating” –

Air is essential. Breathing is essential. Breathing is life. As David Sabella always says, “Singing reminds us all to breathe!” So, keep singing my friends…keep singing.


*To see what weekly shows are still available go to:

*To watch 8 amazing live interviews with some of Cabaret’s leaders, some incredible producers and performers go to Spotlights on:

*My book with David Sabella, “So You Want to Sing Cabaret” and the 90-minute book release video we produced was a labor of love. To order the book please go to: And, to watch the video for FREE, please go to: Cabaret Hotspot YouTube link:




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Sue Matsuki

Sue Matsuki

Co-Editor & Instructor, Cabaret HotSpot and Cab U

Sue Matsuki is the co-author, along with David Sabella, of So You Want To Sing Cabaret (Rowman & Littlefield, June 2020). Sue is the Managing Partner, Co-Editor, Reviewer, Vloger and a Columnist (Sue’s Views) for an on-line entertainment magazine: www.Cabaret She taught Cabaret classes at: The Ridgefield Theater Barn and UCONN in CT, MAC-to-School and Cabaret Hotspot in NY and for the Canadian School of Performing Arts. She has served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs). She, along with Gregory Toroian, her long time Music Director, now host a monthly Jazz Brunch Open Mic at Pangea. Matsuki also produces benefits and corporate events and is the Producing Manager for Urban Stages’ Winter Rhythms series where she also hosts a Vlog called Urban Stages’ Artists Chat.

Matsuki’s most cherished awards come from winning the 2020 Bistro Award for Outstanding Collaboration celebrating her 25th year of working with Music Director, Gregory Toroian; getting her poster up on Don’t Tell Mama’s “Wall of Fame” for her show How’s That for Openers? celebrating the 33rd Anniversary of singing at the club and being selected personally by the late Julie Wilson as the very first 2004 Julie Wilson Award Recipient, given by the Mabel Mercer Foundation.

Matsuki is an 11-time MAC Award Nominee and a 3-time Winner (in seven different categories), mostly recently she was nominated for Major Female Vocalist. Her MAC history includes: 2002 MAC Award Winner for Female Jazz/Pop/R&B Vocalist; 2002 Nominee for Best Female Recording for her first Jazz CD, A New Take; 2004 Nominee for Duo/Group (with Marcus Simeone); 2006 MAC Award Winner for Special Productions for her sold out 7 week run of 10 Years in the Making with her Musical Director Gregory Toroian; 2007 & 2010 Nominee for Female Vocalist; 2008, 2011 & 2012 Nominee for Duo/Group (with Edd Clark); the 2008 MAC Award Winner for Specialty Song (“One Stop Shopping” by Page/Matsuki/Toroian); and the 2020 Nominee for Major Female Vocalist.

This Jazz/Cabaret/Comedy veteran has played every NYC Cabaret room including: Feinstein’s at the Regency, Feinstein’s 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room, Arci’s Place, Town Hall, Don’t Tell Mama, Pangea, The Algonquin, The Beach Café, The Laurie Beechman Theater, 88’s, and has even played Carnegie Hall along with several legendary Jazz Clubs including: The Village Gate, Birdland, The Iridium and Sweet Rhythm. She has performed in Alaska, Los Angeles, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, Nyack, Maine, Fire Island, Florida, Providence and Las Vegas!

Her jazz CD, A New Take, was nominated for the 2002 MAC Award for Best Recording and her Christmas CD, Sue & Edds FABULOUS Christmas both receive air play across the country and internationally. She is also featured on folk singing legend Christine Lavin’s original music Christmas compilation CD, Just One Angel with a song that she co-wrote with Paul Stephan called “Christmas Angel”.

Matsuki was a Super and “Diva Double” at the Metropolitan Opera where she has been featured in Moses und Aaron; Tristan und Isolde; Norma; and Il Travatore.

For more information please visit: