Have you ever felt you are creating a character from literally nothing? Sometimes, especially in a musical theatre chorus, it can feel impossible to find who it is you are portraying – especially if you are left to your own devices to create it or are given a subset of actions that don’t seem to make sense. Here is a little method for creating something from the ground up to help you bring the best you can to every role.
You’ve heard it a million times – To sing your best you have to breathe. Well yes we all breathe don’t we so we are breathing. So what we really need to figure out is the best way or rather how to breathe effectively. And there are lots of tricks to make sure you are breathing your very best to support your singing and lots of practise required to solidify them and variations on methods within this- but I thought I’d throw in some of my favourite breathing tips that help me.
You may have done the best research on the planet, but if you can’t connect to your character, getting into and certainly staying in character becomes extremely, extremely difficult – Especially when your character needs to be alive and true in a room full of people that in essence aren’t there. Your character’s reality needs to be so true that their bubble of existence makes sense in their (your) head regardless of how it has been translated onto a stage. So what do you do if you can’t get inside their head to start with?
There are a few things I like to do to really connect myself to a character. If you are finding it hard to connect to yours feel free to give them a try!
Winter can be absolutely disastrous for a singer. If the change of season and cold night air isn’t enough, the strike of the flu can leave you and your voice in pretty bad shape. The fatigue that follows can also be really rough and it can take over a month to get your voice all the way back. There are lots of ways to work your way through but these are my top ten. Hope they help!
This is what I like to do when I am putting a character together. And just to make it a bit more accessible (and fun) I’ve noticed it lends itself very well to what you would find if you… say… logged into your character’s Facebook account! Now we aren’t building their account from scratch – no it already exists – we just need to pull it out of our script.
So lets work backwards. This huge script is a little like their newsfeed – full of things that don’t seem to make a lot of sense out of context. It can be a daunting task to search through our own feed at the best of times but all the information is there.
Imagine how you could work backwards from your newsfeed to get your timeline, your profile page and ultimately YOU (or in this case… your character).
Ever had one of those days where everything goes wrong? You’re running late. The traffic is crazy. You feel like you are at the centre of stress city and the whole world is imploding around you. We’ve all been there: Your body is tight, your throat is dry, and you want nothing more than to go home and collapse in a ball. Instead, you have 2 hours before you are expected to sing what is surely to be the most difficult song you have had to do all week… What now?
Hello fellow singers!!!!
So I am working hard on my sight reading at the moment and have figured out that it gets a lot easier to recognise intervals when they come from something I know. When I hear the two tones played one after the other they become a puzzle piece from a melody and suddenly they make a lot more sense. I recommend looking through your own repertoire or musical memory and pulling out the songs that resonate best with you. Or feel free to borrow some of mine.
***edit*** There is now a part 2 for the descending intervals!!! Click here once you have looked through the ascending intervals below: Part 2 – The Flip Side of Intervals
Well this ones fairly intuitive being a repeated note. But just to be all inclusive: The lead-in to the chorus of “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from Grease.
But – now…”
So you know there’s a show coming up you want to be involved with. And in the style of many audition briefs have been told to choose two songs. Maybe they’ve thrown in some words like ‘contrasting’ or phrases like in the “style of the show.” But where do you go from there?
Staring at that brief with absolutely no idea what to pick can be incredibly daunting but it doesn’t have to be. So I thought I’d help you all out by taking you through my process when it comes to audition song selection. It’s not the only process and by no means would I claim it is for every situation but its a good starting point for sure.
So you have the brief. Lets say it says something like this:
Thank you for your interest in My Fair Lady. Singing auditions will be assigned individual 15 minute appointment times. Please prepare two contrasting songs of no more than 32 bars each in the style of the show.
So lets walk you through how I would break that down.
I was looking over some old photos today and came across this great shot I took of some grapes. I remember at the time – before I realised the two bunches were tangled – how enamoured I was at this single red grape that I thought had appeared amongst my green seedless bunch. I should point out to you all that green seedless grapes are certainly my favourite. Had you asked me what I was heading to the table to get – it would not be the red grapes…. and yet it is this red grape that I certainly was not looking for that inspired me to take this photograph.
So often we walk into an audition room with this great worry about what we think the director is looking for: Do I look the part? Do they want someone taller? Should I portray my character a certain way? Does the director already know what they want? Do I even have a chance at this part?