Ever wonder what your directors are thinking while they’re casting your next show? Of course you do, every actor does! As it turns out, the inside of a director’s head is a lot less mean and scary than you think. Here’s what I mean!
A plea to young actors everywhere: Seriously, stop complaining about your theatre directors on Facebook.
Everyone can learn to sing.
No, no, save your protestations.
Everyone can learn to sing.
“Well not me, I’ve never been able to–“
EVERYONE CAN LEARN TO SING.
If you’re involved in theatre in any way, then you’ve definitely heard the phrase “there’s no small parts, only small actors” at least once– and probably far more than that. When I was younger, I figured this was just untrue. There are small parts, I thought, that’s just a fact. Some parts are on stage less, or have less lines. They’re small, but that’s not the actor’s fault.
Clearly I wasn’t alone in this sentiment and clearly I’m still not, because I constantly hear stories about actors quitting shows because they didn’t get a “good” part.
This idea among young theatre students– that there is indeed a “small part”— feeds into multiple bad behaviors that not only makes their acting worse but can make entire shows worse. In fact, I’d say that dispelling this myth is one of the most important things a director can do right off the bat to make sure their show has all the power it can have.
So let’s establish something right now– there is no such thing as a small part.
About a year ago I listened to to an episode of the Kwik Brain podcast all about hacking your brain in order to learn lines more efficiently. I’d recommend anyone looking for some new strategies check out the episode and the second part, too. However, of all of the concepts presented in the two episodes, only one strategy has really stuck with me and become a crucial part of my preparation for a show. I’ve now used this strategy to learn several roles, and am always eager to share with others, because it has been a game changer.
This strategy is to engage all of your senses.
About a year ago I was assigned a project for class that involved learning about anything and tracking your learning in a multimedia format. Since I was at the time involved in three different productions occurring simultaneously, I decided to make a blog about my efforts in learning to be a director. Though this project itself was very low-stress and even enjoyable, I got a perfect score and a glowing review from my professor, as well as a brilliant learning experience I didn’t expect.
Apparently required journaling of rehearsals is pretty common in school theatre programs nowadays– I never had to do this, and so I was able to approach the task with a fresh mind. Even if an assignment like this has previously tainted your experience with journaling rehearsals, consider revisiting it– it can be very beneficial for your learning, both in regard to that show and to your overall development as an actor and artist.
While I’m no singing expert, I have spent the last several years working to improve. I’ve learned a ton. I’ve become a lot more confident in my ability and have a stronger, more supported sound to show for all the effort! There’s still have a lot of work to do, but I also have a lot of knowledge to share from my years of struggle.
Here are 15 assorted tips for improving your singing voice!
I have a sickness of the mind, and it is that I kind of get a kick out of tech week. The idea of 12 hour rehearsals gets me sort of jazzed. The head-down, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other grind of tech week is very fulfilling to me. It’s a week to throw the entirety of my energy squarely at two targets: put on a good show and don’t kill yourself. It’s like a week of wilderness survival but for a theatre kid. It’s exhilarating and when it’s done you get to show off all your cool scars (some figurative, most literal).
I’m a dweeb about tech week preparation, it’s true. If tech week is wilderness survival, I am your overenthusiastic survival guide. I will get through it and I will get you through it, too. Just heed my advice.