I don’t know how many times I have said it, but I find myself having to clarify it again. Many of my students who have read my articles and watched my videos get confused when I talk about over-rehearsing a performance and how it can interfere with being spontaneous when we perform our act.
And at the same time I tell them to practice until a particular element of singing is on auto-pilot so that they don’t have to think about technique when they’re performing.
So let me see if I can explain these seemingly contrary points of view, okay?
I just got finished watching the final match of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament. Roger Federer, probably the greatest player ever to play the game of tennis was playing against Andy Murray, a younger player from Scotland.
Throughout the match, the commentators on 3 different channels, which broadcast the event, spoke about Roger’s dedication, hard work, and commitment to the game. It was mentioned that Roger’s incredible success is due largely to the hours upon hours of practice he puts in daily to maintain the apparent ease with which he hits a tennis ball each and every time he enters the court. I agree…even though I’ve also said that over-doing a practice session can be detrimental to a singing performance.
So while there are similarities in the way we approach singing and the way an athlete approaches his sport, I think I had better make this glaring distinction.
Singing is a unique art form that is created in front of an audience which watches it come to life as it is being made…much like watching a tennis player in action. Practicing the technical elements is to make it look easy during our performance, just as Roger’s practice sessions are to make his strokes look graceful and fluid to the spectators. Roger’s technique, as any tennis player’s is THE VERY THING that the fans of tennis have come to see, but they are also moved by his demeanor on the court. If he is obviously loving what he is doing, people feel it.
The singer’s technique is an important part of his performane, but it will not mean much unless the performance makes an emotional connection with the ones watching it. So while I say, yes, you MUST practice the techniques until they are on auto-pilot, you must be careful not to over-rehearse you performance and risk losing it’s spontaneity.
And there’s also that intangible quality of both the art of the tennis match and the vocal performance, and it is simply…does the one performing display how much he or she loves what he is doing? For fans respond to that quality at a deep level.
The techniques can be practiced until they become second nature, but the delivery, the quality of the communication one will make with the audience has to come from the heart and be genuine…not rehearsed.
Does that make any sense?
Have I confused you even further?
Write to me or leave your comments on our Singers Social Network Site, www.SingYourLife.ning.com.
Oh! Forgot to tell you! The final chapter of “Get Off the Bandstand” is finished, and the entire manuscript can be viewed on the members only page on the main Singyourlife site. And I am also posting it on the Singers Social Network as part of my monthly blog.
Also, I found a slew of tracks that I had forgotten to put on the lists I made, so if there’s a particular track you’re looking for, just ask me okay? Remember, I’m letting them all go for 75 cents per track.
The lists are on the members only page along with a whole bunch of free stuff. As a member of the Singers Social Network, you are entitled to all the freebies over there, including lead sheets, my e-books on singing and performing, and more, so come on over and join us!