Vocal Performance: The Eyes Have It, Pt. 1 — Points of Focus
The eyes do have it. While your voice can fill a room with energy, it is the eyes that bring it all into focus.
Points of Focus (Left/Center/Right) are crucial in vocal performance; in sharing your eyes or line of sight with the audience.
Some people read lips. Everybody reads eyes.
Simplest approach (for now) is to:
1) Stretch out your arms in a “V” in front of you. It should look like you’re about to hug someone. Eyes are already at Center. Pick a point about 15 feet in front of you and “see” it. Really see it.
2) Turn Eyes and Face (just your eyes and your face, not the whole body) left along the left arm. Don’t go beyond the left arm. Let the eyes lead the face, don’t go all robot on us…Pick a point about 15 feet in front of you on the left and “see” it.
3) Back to center. Eyes first, face follows. Center Point of Focus.
4) Eyes lead face to right along right arm. Pick Right Point of Focus (15 ft., etc.)
5) Back to center. Eyes lead the face.
That’s the start of it. More tomorrow…
Removing The Emotional Distance….
Music has some very magical properties. Magic happens in my studio quite a bit, mostly because I push my singers to “remove the emotional distance” between themselves and the song.
We don’t ever want to fake ourselves or our audience out of the real energy that is present in our being. That would not only be inauthentic, but, ultimately, pretty boring.
Of course, we don’t need to be a serial killer barber in real life to pull off the lead in Sweeney Todd on stage, either.
Our job within the context of a song or a musical theatre role is to find the through-line of humanity and spirit, which makes all things “relate-able.” Let the sets, lights and costumes do their part. Let the orchestra do theirs. Let us choose to be the vessel of informed energy, armed with words, pitch and emotion, and, having burned said information into our DNA, let us become full energy in performance; concentrated and free, focused and present.