One of the reasons monologuing is so valuable is that it can unlock natural body language. All-day you talk and communicate without planning out every movement with your body. Your body just acts on the impulses that come from living in these moments. This seems like it should be pretty easy right? For many singers, they find that once the music is gone they don’t know what to do with their body.
What is an Impulse
An Impulse is “a sudden strong and unreflective urge or desire to act.“
Most actions in daily life are done by impulse. For example, if you have a reason to stand and that is it. You don’t stop to think about all the little steps that go into standing. What changes when we sing? Somewhere along the way, we learned that we should do something different when we sing.
So if you don’t think you know what you are supposed to do with your body, you do know what to do because you do it with your body all day every day. The only difference here on stage is you are in a different context. The key is allowing yourself to tap into those natural impulses that are just waiting to be let out.
How to Act on The Impulse
There are a lot of books, methods, and exercises to help with this. My favorite is “Sanford Meisner on Acting” Book. I won’t do it justice here. I will help you take the first steps that I have found to make an immediate difference in most young performers.
The first step is becoming aware of all the daily impulses that you act on. Watch others, try to notice all the little things your and their bodies do without having to be thought about.
The second step is to give yourself permission to act on those same impulses as you sing and perform. Remember, it is “unreflective” so discipline your mind not judge or try to micromanage your action. It may sound silly but say it out loud! “Body, I give you permission to act on the impulses. I give you permission to go big, make mistakes, do it wrong, and otherwise disregard and need to judge myself when I am performing.”
Half the time it seems like on the stage all a young performer is looking for is permission to do what they want to do and the assurance that doing so isn’t just okay but what we really want.