Safe singing is not always good singing. In fact, it is usually boring. There is a certain risk that must be taken in order to move an audience. There is no substitute for a singer who is fully engaged in what he is trying to say. You can’t fake that passion. Fear, self-focus and lack of preparation are key factors in a less than powerful performance.
Last week my family and I attended our first Broadway show in NYC. We saw Disney’s The Lion King. It was beautiful, visually stunning and impressive. However, I was a bit disappointed with the vocals. This was an expensive world-renowned musical and surprisingly, the singing was blah, o.k., and not awesome. Considering what we spent on the tickets, I expected extraordinary. Rafiki was exceptional and Nala had a beautiful moment, but over all it was just not moving. I was feeling guilty for thinking this until my 15 year old son said the same thing.
An amateur easily hears the difference between good and great singing. So, why is it that a truly great performance can be elusive even to a professional vocalist ? What makes a performance incredible and moving? What does it take to go from good to awesome?
Step One is Preparation
It goes without saying that to have a great performance you must be prepared. You must know your lyrics, the melody, and have the ability to sing every note in-tune with great tone and support. If you’re struggling here, then take the time and get the help that you need to do this well.
To really bring the awesome, you need more than just being able to sing all of lyrics, rhythms and words correctly. A good singer can do that but, you want to be great, right?
Step Two is to Create a Moment
To create a moment and have a powerful connection with the audience you’ve got to know what you’re singing, mean it and make the audience believe you. You have to completely focus your mind and body on exactly what you’re saying in the moment. You must have the focus to set aside all of your thoughts and decide that you really have something important to say.
Here are some practical tips for creating the moment and taking your performances to a new level.
- Emphasize the consonants or sounds at the first part of the word. This is a powerful tool that’s useful for connecting with an audience when you’re speaking or singing.
- Be present. You can’t fool your audience. They will know if you’re distracted and thinking of anything else.
- Put aside the critique of your voice until after you sing. Don’t let self-critique derail your performance.
- Plan out your performance, the dynamics, vocal runs, and rhythmic changes that you want to implement. Focus on executing your plan.
The more prepared you are the more confident you will be. A great performance is not just about high notes and big and loud. It’s about bringing all you have to the table and a creating something beautiful.