Performance skills – 101

Performance skills – 101 Sharpening your skills to use in every aspect of your program.

One of my greatest frustrations is that only in the church world do people
think that performing, preaching and mc’ing are a natural gift. This
belief means that (1) those who believe that they don’t have this gift are
excused from any of the aforementioned tasks and (2) those with the gifts
just have to keep performing and they will get better and better.

This concept is absolutely ludicrous. It is the same as a man saying “I
have always naturally been good with my hands, I am going to start
practicing operating on people and I am sure I will get better”. Even in
the world of fictional TV shows this would be too far of a stretch. Doogie
Howser MD was a wizz kid and a doctor by 16 but he still did all of the
study and training…

A football team doesn’t just play games to get better but they run
specific drills to improve specific skills that will help them with the
game. This is what I believe we need to start doing.

In this episode we are going to look at one skill that is crucial in
on-stage speaking. In fact if I could only tell you one thing that most
help you it would be this:

Truth by Vibration!

The year was 2002 and I was in a theater class. I was performing a piece
from the “Dead Poets Society” with a girl in my class, and I had to
confess my love for her. We got to the most crucial part where I said with
all my acting skill – “I love you”

“CUT”

The teacher stopped me and told me he didn’t believe me and to try again.

“I love you”

“CUT”

The teacher tried to help. He told me to just say the line. I said with no
effort “I love you” and he said “PERFECT – that is it” and told me to do
it in the scene. I got to the part again, I said my perfect line and he
said “CUT”

Over the next 30 mins it was really painful. He got me to stop and start
20 times speaking the line and getting it perfect, then performing it and
failing. After the 30 mins I still didn’t get it. I had no idea what he
was saying because to me they sounded exactly the same. It wasn’t until a
few months later I found out a secret that has changed the way I have
performed ever since.

I went to a voice training class and the speech specialist said during a
routine exercise “Truth is communicated on Vibration”.

Every time you speak, sing or make a noise a vibration is made in your
body. We generally talk with a bit of chest vibration and a bit of throat
vibration but when we get on stage for some strange reason most people’s
voice gets a little bit higher and it goes straight to the throat. This is
the easiest way to tell the difference from a preacher that has been
preaching for years and a rookie. The rookie’s voice is always a little
bit higher than they normally speak.

When I perform my voice goes high, goes low, goes all over the place for
the enjoyment of the crowd, but whenever I want to communicate a message I
make sure my chest vibrates.

Professional performers are trained to speak on vibration (that meaning in
the chest) because it sounds more confident, it is more relaxing, and you
can speak for as long as you want and your throat will not tire. The other
main reason is that if you don’t speak on vibration people will not
believe you.

So give it some practice. It is a learnt skill that takes time. It is not
speaking in a deep voice but it has certain feel that has to be learnt.
The best way is to practice your message with your hand on your chest and
focus on getting the vibrations lower.

If you look at all the great preachers, performers and mc’s, you will
notice that they speak very similarly to when they are off-stage. They may
not realize they are speaking on vibration but have just developed that
over the years. If you adopt this specific training you will find that you
advance a lot quicker than those who have gone before you.

Have Fun

Dan.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “Performance skills – 101

  1. Dan,
    Great blog. (Thanks Sam for allowing him the space.) I went through the same painful lesson my second year as a theater major. You hit the nail on the head.