Sunday, March 25, 2007

Vocal Performance: Reveal... don't display!

There is a classical voice training textbook series by Van A. Christy called "Expressive Singing". In the Third Edition, Volume #1, Christy recommends this excellent suggestion for any performance in any genre:

"Meaning must be REVEALED, never DISPLAYED in a theatrical manner."

I can't tell you how very much I agree with this. There is a fine line between over- and under- acting. If you REALLY want to sing or speak in such a way as to cause an emotional response from your audience, learn how to master authentic delivery- the kind you can't fake!.

Authentic delivery balances several things:
  • Vocal technique is definitely a major factor.
  • The message (song or monologue) is a huge factor.
  • Other factors include: The size and feel of the venue or room, the state of your own inner self, the cheeseburger you had for lunch, the label rep in the audience. Hey, it's amazing we can focus at all :)

Nevertheless, there must be such a balance in your mind-body-voice connection that you make it look almost effortless to get and hold the attention of the listener.

Here's an example to help you understand the power of revealing instead of displaying meaning:

When I was a recording artist on MTM Records, Alan Bernard (the CEO) let me in on one of his secrets at "meet & greet" events. Alan had been around. Among other things, he had managed Andy Williams and Dusty Springfield. Instead of going up to people to introduce himself and begin a conversation, he would often just sit or stand alone. People were drawn to his cool confidence, and soon were coming over to where he was to meet HIM.

Now think about this: Alan quite openly revealed who he was to people who had been drawn his way. He didn't put on a forward display to try to gain attention. I think this is a psychological tool we need to understand as performers.

Bottom line: Draw people in. Don't be a space invader! Reveal by... being real.

No comments: