An agent had sent Abby for an audition for a musical that involves singers acting out animal roles.
Abby had successfully gotten through to the 4th round of auditions by the time I saw her and was after some help with creating an animal character in the human form or voice.
As she was auditioning for ‘swing’, the company were checking out her ability to be versatile and very quick!
What Abby learned can help all singers looking to develop their vocal texture…
Working with Textures
Though Abby was trained, she had never encountered a need to be an animal on stage so she wasn’t sure where to start.
She had her sheet music and a backing track (sent from the production company) and she had sensibly got herself very familiar with the melodies and the lyrics of the songs she would be rehearsing in the workshop before we met.
We explored the texture and energy of the animals in question, talking about their areas of strength and their natural animal calls.
We looked these up online and had a bit of fun exploring the way their body moves worked with their sounds … what the connections were; work like this came easily to Abby.
We checked out the songs for words that emulated the animal’s intentions (instincts) and played around with their phonetic shapes.
We also played with nasal and deep throat placement to develop a selection of sounds that Abby could draw upon.
The Second Session
Abby worked on these aspects of her song and pulled her new sounds together in two different pieces (for two different animals).
The results were great … she really had moved around her range and explored meaning with intelligence and clarity.
We simply had to work on the way that Abby could humanize these aspects and make them acceptable for an audition … sensibly she didn’t want to arrive trying to ‘be’ an animal at this stage unless directed to do so; the suggestion was enough.
We found that playing with levels of height, horizons and levels of fear were all useful for her vocal quality and her ‘reasons’ for singing the songs.
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Abby succeeded in the audition and spent eighteen months with them, constantly swapping roles on different nights.
The human voice is capable of a myriad of sounds and there are many theories around our ‘early man’ connection to bird calls and other beginnings of song;
if you freeze frame fractions of any voice in song, you will be sure to hear sounds that remind you of many creatures ‘great and small’!