As a singer, you need to do more than just hit the right notes. You need to own the song and make it your own by tapping into the emotional content of the song. And once you've done that, you need to understand how to create emotive facial expressions that communicate the message of the song.
Examine The Lyrics Of The Song
Before you start singing a word of the song or trying out new facial expressions, find the lyrics and carefully examine them. Most good songs go through a variety of emotions and dynamics: this is a crucial part of song structure and lyrical flow. And since most people don't listen too carefully to lyrics, your facial expressions need to express the lyrics to help increase that understanding.
Start by examining the overall message of the song. Is it sad? Happy? A mixture of both? Next, examine the verses and the chorus to get the sense of how the emotion changes in a song. For example, the chorus is often the positive section, but not always.
Vary Your Expressions Without Impacting Singing
Once you've gotten the emotion of the song and the lyrical flow down pat, you need to vary your facial expressions and your singing to help accentuate the emotion. Utilize the following techniques to help create a believable group of facial expressions for your song:
- Smile when the song is happy, frown if it changes
- Close your eyes to create intimacy
- Shake your head to express emotion
- Add little variations in the singing, such as laughs, trills, or alterations in the melody
Practice these facial expressions in the mirror while singing to find a natural way to transition. For example, if you close and open your eyes too often, the effect will lost in excess. And avoid going too crazy with modulation techniques, as they can change the song excessively and even damage your throat.
Don't Overdo It
While changing your facial expression during a performance can bring it more life, overdoing it will have the opposite effect. Changing your expressions excessively will make you look silly and can ruin the emotional impact of the song. There's no real set limit: it's something you have to play by ear.
For example, let's say you're singing an emotional song like Taylor Swift's "Teardrops On My Guitar." Obviously, you want to express the honesty of the emotion in the song and enhance it with facial expressions. But mimicking weeping or excessively acting will draw the attention away from the lyrics and to your silly faces.
Everything about your singing performance has to be carefully balanced, including your facial expressions. So make sure you understand just how much impact they have on your song and practice as much as possible. That will ensure you create a memorable performance that will truly enhance the song.
For more information, contact Canadian Academy Of Vocal Music or a similar organization.