Have you ever listened to a song and thought, “this song means something to this person.” The way they are conveying a message, or presenting a song, is like a story they themselves have been through. The way a song is portrayed can shift the way the song is perceived by the audience. We, as musicians are storytellers, and it is our job, our responsibility, to make sure the audience is swept into it.
Conveying a message of a song goes beyond just the lyrics. A pianist has just as much responsibility to convey their message to the audience as a vocalist. As vocalists, we have it a bit easier than they do. But nonetheless, we are to shape the song in such a way that it captivates the mind, and appeals to the emotions of the audience. To do so, there are a few aspects we have to implement to our singing.
This one might be a bit obvious, but it is necessary for us to know what it is we are singing about. And just as important is making sure that our accompanist understands the song. They are laying the groundwork, and you are painting the picture. Understand what it means to you, and make sure they get it too.
This is a way we communicate on a daily basis. You can say one thing with your words, and something else entirely with your body. That is why it is so important that you practice in front of a mirror. It’s not always fun to do, but it can help you with flaws you didn’t really realize were there. Whatever you are trying to convey, your body should match.
When you sing to a large audience your facial expressions probably won’t be visible by the person in the back row. So you can’t only rely on your body language to communicate the message. You will have to really believe what you are singing about. You have to convince the audience that what you are saying is real. But, this will vary depending on your audience.
A group of children might be moved by you singing with enthusiasm. Whereas an older crowd of people might respond better to a more sincere and relatable approach. Knowing your audience will help you better convey this message.
An old Chinese proverb says, “The tongue can paint, what the eye can’t see.” But I suggest to you that the tongue can paint, what the ear can’t hear. Music goes beyond words, and notes on a page. Music in the right hands is a powerful tool, we can use to shape minds! But only if we can convey a message with it.
If you would like to further your abilities as a vocalist and are looking for opportunities to showcase your talents, contact the American Opera Studio for further information.