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Backstage Experts

How Emotions Can Affect Your Musical Audition Process

How Emotions Can Affect Your Musical Audition Process

Hello to all you wonderful creative souls. Today, we're going to touch on a layered topic: your emotions in your audition process.

We'll touch on two aspects of your audition process relative to your emotions. First, we'll talk about your vocal technique, and second, we'll talk about your actions.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Your vocal technique doesn't emote. It is learned and executed in the same way we learn arithmetic, balance our checkbook, and schedule our calendars—with our left brain.

So learning your lyrics, the correct intervals in your melody, and the correct dynamics on the page are three aspects of your technique achieved without having to make contact with your feelings.

As we know, after learning our song material technically, we are ready to interpret the material. The trick is, we do not interpret our material from the left brain where we schedule our calendars or learn our melodies.

The bridge between your vocal technique and your storytelling ability are your emotions and how they bring your vocal technique to life. And, we emote from our right brain—the emotional, intuitive side.

The challenge here is that we are programmed to focus on our vocal technique to such an extent that we resist our emotions and hold them at bay in order to ensure the beautiful sounds which we've worked so hard to produce. Right?

Typically, whenever we stop the momentum of the emotional arc to position sounds technically, we break our connection to our inner life and that which allows us to personalize our stories. Your emotions are your fuel, that which energizes your vocal technique, filling it with your personal bent on the lyrical story.

Everything is a vehicle for the lyrical story. Your voice, your emotions, your gestures, your melody, your lyrics, and your actions are influenced by your particular emotional relationship to the lyrical story you are singing. A huge tool to help you succeed in your storytelling is the translation of your lyrics, which we've discussed previously. To briefly review, once I can communicate the lyricist's words in my own vernacular, their words take on my life force and become mine. This is how we personalize the lyricist's story and make it our own as though we are living it. In this way, we put our personal imprint on every lyric.

Now, emotions alone will not get you to home plate. Only your actions, your intentions, and your objectives will get you there. What you want and how you are going to get it is the driving force that will get to home plate.

So if I have translated my lyrics and am emotionally connected to them, I must then channel my translation and these emotions into my actions. In other words, if we think of our emotions as water and we pour this water into an imaginary pitcher, we're going have a very wet floor metaphorically speaking. But, if we pour our emotions into that container which drives our story to it's conclusion then we'll reach home plate and we won't have a messy floor. The fuel without the car is meaningless. The emotions without the action/intention/objection is meaningless. Why? Because it is not contained in that very specific action which justifies it. It is incumbent upon us to choose, to decide, to determine what it is that we are doing in our lyrical story. Without this information, we will have no idea where to put our emotions or why.

So, when we channel the emotions, triggered by translating our stories, into our actions, we drive our lyrical stories home, every time. To your success!

Kimberly Vaughn is a writer, teacher, director, producer and performer. She co-wrote of "Lord Tom," the musical. She is the founder and artistic director of Kimberly Vaughn Performance Studio, and she also teaches at Circle in the Square Theater School, Pace University, and NYFA. She has directed Edward J. Moore’s "The Sea Horse, "The Lost Boy," Sondheim’s "Saturday Night," and the world premiere of "Cry Tiger." She produced "Marlene" starring Sian Phillips, "Swinging on a Star," "Hauptman" starring Denis O’Hare, "The Cover of Life," and "Four Women and a Waitress" starring Marthe Keller. As a performer, she appeared on Broadway in "Dear Oscar." She also performed in regional productions of "The Member of the Wedding" with Ethel Waters, "Harvey" with Shirley Booth and Tom Poston, and "Applause" with Dorothy Collins. She received a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Theatre from Northwestern University.

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