I’ve been talking a lot about singers connecting to the emotion of a song and I’ve mostly mentioned the sadder end of the spectrum, but it’s not just the sad songs we can connect to emotionally!
When I was 7 years old, I lived in a small town in western Illinois called Quincy and all the neighbor kids had pianos and played music. I was mesmerized by their pianos and their piano-playing; it’s where I had the chance to really tap into my love of music. I told my parents how badly I wanted to get a piano, too, and this little town ended up being where I was first introduced to my beloved piano.
I got into lessons immediately and was amazed at the sounds I was able to make. My beautiful piano is a bit out of the ordinary – it’s a solid mahogany grand upright with ornate carvings and 5 pedals that was built in 1908. The booming sound that emanates from it still gives me goosebumps! I took lessons from age 7 to about age 16 and then again as an adult (and I’m enrolled in a class right now, too, to learn how to play more by ear).
My goal with lessons was ultimately to be able to accompany myself while singing. I’ve always been a far better singer than piano player, but there’s something about playing that piano that moves my soul. I think it has something to do with how massive it is and the power of the sound that booms out of it, sending vibrations through me. And singing while playing it was like the ultimate high of expression for me, even if I didn’t play all that well.
Processing Feelings Through Song
I learned at a young age the power of expressing my emotions through singing and playing music. When I had a particularly rough day, I sent myself to my piano in the basement to process my feelings through song. When I had an incredibly exciting or thrilling day, I found that playing the piano and singing along was the best remedy for processing those feelings as well.
So when I got to acting school many years later, I had already built up some experience with connecting the emotions I was feeling to the lyrics and melodies I was singing. And I’d already experienced how singing tends to satiate a heightened sense of emotion, regardless of whether the emotion is melancholy or exuberant. So, making the switch to intentionally choosing times in my life where the emotion I felt matched the emotion the songwriter was feeling made so much sense to me because it was such a similar concept to what I’d been doing the majority of my life up to that point using my piano and my singing to process emotions.
I’m not saying it’s easy to do, because it’s definitely much easier to understand cerebrally than it is to execute successfully; I just seemed to have a slight advantage because I’d spent so much of my life doing something so very similar for very different reasons.
This is the work we’re doing in the Academy right now. I’ve said it before, but if this isn’t something you actively, intentionally do in your singing and performing prep work, we should get you into the Academy to correct that asap. You’ll be amazed at how different it feels to perform this way AND how differently audiences will react to your performances.
Want to know more? Check out No Limits Academy for all the details.
I’d be delighted to help you discover this for yourself.