Singers who take acting and/or improv lessons/classes/workshops are really smart cookies – explains Jaime Babbitt.
Ahemmmm…“What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true? Stand I condemn’d with pride and…”
Okay. Fine. I’ll save it for class.
But seriously, folks, let me explain:
1. You learn how to mooooove
This goes double triple for session singers. At live gigs, we might be used to doing whatever the heck we want when we sing: smiling like a crazy woman, throwing arms hither and yon, well, guess what? You can’t do that when you’re doing a scene or a monologue.
And what of studio singers who stand still? Wellll….guess what happens when you have to do a scene or monologue? Yep. Ouch.
Knowing how to be relaxed in your body in tantamount to great acting, and guess what else? A good teacher will show you the way! And your singing voice will be free like a little birdie, I promise you…an extra-added bonus.
2. You learn how to get your speaking voice in the same kind of great shape as your singing voice
As my voice clients already know, our speaking voices and singing voices are really, really connected. So, when we have good, healthy, solid, well-supported speaking voices, we have good, healthy, solid, well-supported singing voices….and vice versa.
Acting lessons will whip your speaking voice into shape with tongue twisters, breathing exercises, volume/dynamic level work, etc.
And the good news is: since you’re such a resourceful vocalist who has studied how to support and place his/her singing voice in a really healthy way, you’ll be ahead of the game. Just take that knowledge over to your speaking voice and…voila!
3. You learn to memorize lots and lots of lines
Memorizing lines can be a easier on singers since we’re accustomed to memorizing lyrics (as my clients know—none of that iPad security blanket on my watch!).
Get this: lyrics have a pattern and a rhythm; try to find a pattern and rhythm in your scenes/monologues and off you’ll go.
Use mnemonic devices (memory tricks/tips) to help learn lines; one example is to put words to music, like the alphabet song does; another is to use acronyms, i.e., ROY.G. BIV is a mnemonic device for colors on the spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, etc…). An article on this coming soon, I promise!
4. You’ll be a voice-over artist extraordinaire
Oh, yes, you will. So, get that home studio going, get a great mic and start putting together that VO demo because you’re gonna sell the crapola out of any product you speak out for, be the best video game character in the history of Xbox or whatever you kids play now AND read audio books like Sir Laurence Olivier…but even better, because you’re still alive.
And you can chalk it up to all those acting classes you’ve taken, which are now being paid for with lots and lots of lovely VO money. You’re welcome!
5. You’ll learn to connect with people even better than you already do
That’s a great thing for singer/songwriters (whose whole raison d’etre is connecting with others), session singers (because you only have your voice to convey all that emotion), wedding/party/bar band singers (because people having a great time means happy listeners and more fun/work/bigger tips for you), classical singers (because it’s only the most emotionally charged singing ever), and musical theater performers (no-brainer: you gotta sing, dance AND act or else, buh-bye)….you get the idea.
Why will you learn to connect better? Because you’ll learn to connect to yourself better and what it is you’re feeling. See, because when you know what it is you’re feeling, it’s easier to convey that feeling to others.
Actors want to connect just like vocalists do; the difference is they don’t have to do it in pitch with lots of musicians around them.
So, find a class, start reading great classic plays…you might just be onto something verrrry complimentary to your singing career!