Of course, you don’t want to be so animated that the audience focuses just on you. You are a part of a group. You are sharing with us as a group. However, it is so frustrating to go to a choral concert where all of the singers look bored. You sound bored, too. I realize that often – with young singers especially – this is a result of your being very self conscious. Well, singers, you would be less self conscious if you focused on the words the lyrics are trying to express. Let me repeat from my last blog: Every song is a one act play. How do you want us to feel when we hear a song? Happy? Sad? Warm and cuddly? Angry? Those are just a few possibilities, but surely you don’t want us to feel bored. Please, care about the lyrics of your song and let us see that the words mean something to you.
I often tell voice students to “open your mouth and move your lips.” You’ve been practicing talking without moving your lips since kindergarten when you realized that if you wanted to talk to the person next to you in school, you didn’t want the teacher to see you. By high school you have that art down pretty solidly. When you are singing, it is time to open your mouth and move your lips. It lets the sound come out to us instead of staying inside your head. You look like you are doing something, and your face becomes more expressive. You share the experience with your audience. That’s a good thing.
And finally, a word about posture and arms. I know we all feel as if we must look like apes when we stand with our arms at our sides. You won’t look like an ape. You will look professional and poised. A choir with members slouching, arms in front of them (in the fig leaf position) or behind their backs (called the Columbo back when he was on TV) looks as if you are a ragged bunch and not a well trained choir. Your director can’t do this for you. You must stand as if you have something wonderful to share with us. You can do it.