Do you struggle with performance nerves?
Do you want to sing with more confidence?
Do you want to make a deeper connection with the audience?
Download my free character analysis, fill out the worksheet, and take your performance to a new level.
My Performance Jitters
Last Sunday, I sang “Unexpected Song” by Andrew Lloyd Weber for my Rejoice In Your Voice™ Meet-up performance class.
My goal was to build a strong character that would me transcend my nerves in the intimate setting of my living room and MP3 accompaniment. I wanted to transport the audience and myself into my character’s world, allowing us to truly to experience my character’s journey.
Here’s some of the written feedback I received…
“The strongest point of the song was that you were so incredibly emotionally attached to the song.”
“I’ll remember your performance because of your confidence, expression, and engagement with your character.”
“…you did a great job filling the room with positive emotion from your relationship with the story and left the stage with a strong finish.”
“Expressions were especially great – so interesting and fun to watch. Very uplifting. Wow!”
“It wasn’t just a beautiful voice, there was a story there. Emotions changed even through you sang the chorus several times – a journey.”
I was thrilled when I read these comments. The dominant theme was the emotions of the performance. I had met my goal.
So, how did I accomplish my performance goal?
Wait, first… why did I set this intention?
I was nervous and I didn’t want my voice to crack. After all these years, I still get nervous, but thankfully I also have some tools that put my nerves to good use…
In a show, the character development has always been easy for me. Lights, costume, fellow performers, make-up, full script… all of it beautifully woven together as my magic carpet to another place. But as soon as the song or aria is extracted and I am striped of my spotlight, costume, and stage, it is way too easy to revert back to “Tricia singing a song.” And that is a disaster waiting to happen.
You see, I am an introvert, self-conscious and an admitted people pleaser… and one thing I know for sure is that I would never break out into song just cuz…. But I do love to perform and I do love the intricate process of discovering a character and sharing my results with others.
Because of this performing love and my desire to self preserve, I override my nerves, ego, and environment and dive head first into character development, and it saves my hide every time.
I usually have only a handful of character questions I ask myself, but this time, as I was developing my character for “Unexpected Song,” I wanted a complete character worksheet with all the areas that I could explore. I reseached some great articles, leafed through my acting books, chunked-down my own process and decided to create an exhaustive character analysis checklist…. I love it!
And today I am sharing it with you.
Here is the PDF Download
Not sure you want to download yet? Scroll down to look over the list and see what you think. On the actual worksheet there are lines to write your answers… did I miss anything?… let me know and I will add it.
Character Analysis For Songs and Arias
Fill out the check-list below using your script, libretto, or song lyric as a guide.
Engage your imagination to complete the details that are not represented in the written work.
This is a process and can be changed as you grow in your character.
Use this character analysis to help you sing and perform with more
beauty, joy, and confidence.
- Your character’s name?
- Your character’s birth date?
- Your character’s birthplace?
- What is your character’s current age?
- Where is your character living now?
- What is your character’s family situation?
- What is your character wearing? Be specific with fabric, patterns, textures, undergarments, hosiery, and shoes.
- How did your character acquire these pieces of clothing? Any sentiment attached to any of the pieces?
- How is the clothing relevant to your character’s objective?
- What is your character’s hairstyle?
- What steps did your character take or not take to create the hairstyle?
- How is the hairstyle relevant to your character’s objective?
- What accessories is your character wearing and why?
- What is your character’s big picture point of view of the piece?
- What does your character say about themselves in the lyric?
- What does the accompaniment and melodic line say about your character?
- What do other characters say about your character?*
- What significant memories does your character have about the past?
- How does the past influence your character’s present? What makes your character do what they do and say what they say?*
- What is your character’s attitude at the start of the scene compared to the end?*
- If there is a problem, how does your character fix it?*
- Is this a “break-up scene, a bonding scene, a seduction scene”?*
- What actions could your character take that may align with the text?
- Your character’s goal or objective?
- Your character’s relationship to whom you are singing?
- What do they want from that person?
- Does this align with your objective?
- Your character’s feeling about the text – does your character like or dislike what they are saying?*
- What do they need to do or achieve by the end of the song?
- What is the reason for this specific action right now? Why must these words be said right now?
- What is the past explanation of the current action?
- What is the future explanation for the present action?
- Are there moments in the song that may require instant justification? What are those moments and why?
- What are your character’s surroundings?
- What do you see?
- What do you hear?
- What do you smell?
- How do your surroundings feel? Objects, earth, clothes, another person, self…
- What are the details of the world for your character?
- Where were you and what were you doing right before you sang this song?
- Where are you going and what will you be doing after you sing this song?
- How personally can you relate to your character’s objective?
- Describe a time in your life when you had this same objective?
- Other notable distinctions for your character…
* Resource: www.beginersguidetoacting.com
The above list is what I used to develop my character for my song. I took the time to breath life into every area of my character’s life and it helped me override the jitters and serve the music, lyrics, character and audience.
It is my opinion that every singer, regardless of the genre, would benefit from this type of work. It gives the mind a safe place to go rather than playing the habitual loop of insecurities. It deepens the storytelling commitment and creates a greater bond with the on-lookers.
So, next time you have a gig and you are so nervous you can’t stand it… print out this worksheet and dive head first into the character, unearth your objective, create your relationships and discover your world. Practice it in. You will have no time to worry about judgments, criticisms, a pounding heart, or sweaty palms.
The unspoken promise between performer and audience member will be honored. People may not remember everything you did, but they will remember how you made them feel. And to that I say “Bravo! Brava!”
I love this process. I hope you have fun with it as well. Let me know how it goes in the comment section below.
Until next time… Rejoice In your Voice™!