This is my very favoritist bestest love-it-the-mostest part of learning new material.
It’s my favorite part because this is the time when you inject the piece with YOU and your unique sound and personality.
Just as it takes some special tools to polish marble or soapstone, it takes some special tools to polish your song:
1) Fine Filing:
Take each phrase and really work it vocally, until you have the exact sound you want for each thought you want to communicate. Consider your dynamics ~ where is the growth in the line, and the diminuendo? Legato? Staccato or marcado? Determine the most important words in the phrase/thought and play with your tone quality. Is your voice *really* communicating your connection to the lyric?
2) Detail Cloth:
Now, sing the song through. Be sure to look for the through line you want to communicate. Here is where you are honing in on the character and vocal arc. Pay attention to where you’d like to have power moments, and where you’d like to bring it back to earth. Be thoughtful about where the song starts and ends, so that you take the listeners on a journey through several terrains.
No One will ever sing this song the way YOU do.
And you should never sing a song the way someone else does.
Directors, Audiences, Casual Listeners: We all want the same thing. To be swept away into the story and life of the music.
As soon as you mimic instead of inject, you have falsified the story ~ making yourself irrelevant and cliché. To inject the piece, give yourself the gift of connection. Yup, I said it again: CONNECTION. Why do you love or hate this piece? Does your face and body tell us this? Are you singing with your voice, or trying to sound like the CD? (I totally just called you out on that, didn’t I?)
Your signature is what makes this song uniquely YOU. Don’t try to hide your “isms” ~ incorporate them in an appropriate way. Only YOUR face makes that quirky smile. Only YOUR arms sit at your sides in just that way. Own your habits, and make strong choices. Be purposeful about letting yourself out.
Be free and sing.
I know many of you have performances coming up, as I do. To all of you, I say BREAK LEGS!!!!