Hello Musical Exchange!

Today I wanted to write about something that's been on my mind especially in the past few months. I want to share my experience with "turning it on," or giving a performance - in class, in an audition room, even when you're preparing your video submission for the site!

A lot of singers, actors and dancers have trouble with this, and with transitioning from the classroom "learning" setting to an audition "performing" setting. One tactic that can help, and one that has been drilled into my head at school from a lot of my teachers (especially Melissa Rae Mahon, who is a great part of our own Carnegie Musical Exchange) is that any time you sing or dance should be a performance. This not only helps later in that audition, but in fact will help you become a better actor, singer, dancer for everything you ever do!

Sometimes, even though on the inside we're having a blast doing what we love, it's not registering on our faces or in our bodies - it might be because we're tired, because we're concentrating or because we're worried about getting everything just right. But it is so important to be able to communicate accurately your emotions without stage-fright, audition nerves or your "concentrating face" getting in the way. It lets the audience connect with your character. It lets the auditioners connect with you as a person and want to hire you! Once you can get out of your head, you can into the song and begin... wait for it.... acting! After all the best singers and dancers are the ones who can act!

For me personally, acting is also a way to get out of my head while learning a song. If I'm having trouble with a phrase, sometimes focusing on the words, how they make me feel and really performing that feeling help me get over a rough section that might be more technically challenging. The same absolutely applies to dancing - if you believe in yourself and commit to a movement like you would on a stage, you're already more than halfway there. You wouldn't believe the difference a confident smile and a relaxed stance makes.

So during your next voice lesson, video submission, dance class or show rehearsal, try performing for an audience of your own. Singers, get past stressing over that one high note and enjoy yourself! Dancers, forget a little about working so hard and just DANCE! Again, this is doing what we love, right? So let's love it, and let other people love us!

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Comment by Leslie Stifelman on April 13, 2013 at 1:16am

@ Elizabeth.  I'm glad that you found this blog helpful.  Also remember that the people behind the table want you to do well!  Casting people need performers!  Sometimes I think we forget that in the process of learning and critiquing ourselves.  Best of luck and please post here so we can be another level of support for you!

Comment by Elizabeth Hurley on April 12, 2013 at 6:37pm

This blog post was very helpful, thank you! :)

Comment by Jonah Verdon on April 10, 2013 at 12:35pm

Thanks, Brett! This is an awesome blog. I think that watching myself on video practicing helps to remind me of what I look like on the outside and it helps to remind me to match my performance to what it feels like to perform on the inside!! :-) 

Comment by Madison Lynn Embrey on April 9, 2013 at 11:26pm

This was awesome. And yes! Super important to remind ourselves to enjoy because this is what we love! Love it.


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