Transform your stage movements into a powerful extension of your voice, not merely an accessory – says Daniel Zangger Borch.
Sometimes we use gestures when we’re singing to accentuate a song’s emotion or to help project a feeling into ourselves.
All of this is great.
When a gesture or movement doesn’t make sense or is learnt by copying others, it doesn’t communicate much meaning to the audience.
Today I want to encourage you to distance yourself from your favorite artist and provide you with a few exercises to make sure your gestures come from your own soul.
No Copycatting Allowed
Maybe the original artist of the song (or a singer you really like) is gesturing or moving in a specific way; this strikes you as “cool” and you end up copying that stage language.
In this case it will not be the real YOU and thus not authentic enough to leave a mark.
So, all of your unnecessary movements, gesturing or other excessive movements (e.g. following the pitch with your hand, bending your knees or squeezing your face) needs to be connected to a lyrical, musical, physical or emotional intent.
Otherwise, it will only take the focus away from your singing – rather than enhancing it.
A physical movement must be connected to the vocal performance. You sing for a reason, and therefore you should move for one too.
Try These Moving Exercises
Movements and gestures have to come with the voice, not be an accessory to it.
So how can you ensure that your body is a part of your performance and not getting in the way?
This is where the advice of a teacher or even an honest friend can be invaluable.
Try spending some time in front of a mirror or, even better, film yourself.
Keep a close eye on what your arms and hands are doing and ask yourself, “Does it look natural?” “Are your movement patterns repetitive?” “Are they in sync with your feel and the emotions and thoughts of the lyric?”
Try to sing without moving a muscle, just as an exercise, is it hard?!
Of course you should add character to your performance and use your stage personality but let the music and the song be your guide.
This is important no matter your musical genre. You simply got to mean what you say!
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
The Last Drones – “Video Games” by Lana Del Ray (Cover)
What a cool, original voice. The only thing I really miss is an overall higher energy level. That would give you the necessary dynamics, make it more passionate and then you will drag us listeners even more into the story of the song.
Sabrina Martina – “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder (Cover)
Yeah! Good choice of song :) but you need to have better timing. You are ahead of the beat most of time; that’s okay when you are using it deliberately as an interpretive tool, but I don´t think you’re aware of it. So, work on this “laid back” timing by practicing how to be energetic without singing ahead of the beat.
Daniel Zangger Borch is one of Sweden’s most recognized vocal coaches, regularly appearing popular TV shows such as Idol, True Talent and X-Factor. Not only is he a professional singer and songwriter, he holds a PhD in Music performance. www.voicecentre.se