Magic Choral Trick #30 Laser Eyes Through the Director’s Head
So easy – such a huge effect on audience interest.
I ask my choirs to imagine that they’re sending laser beams out of their eyes and right through my head. I guess because it’s such a strong image, it captures the choir’s attention better than “make sure you watch me”.
Some people feel that they need to be connecting personally with the audience – which is great, if that’s the plan, and everyone is doing it. If it’s not the plan, and all other eyes are fastened onto the director, the one guy doing something different is who the audience will be watching….and watching….and wondering if he missed the rehearsal where the choir was told to watch the conductor. And the audience will miss all the fabulous nuance stuff worked on so hard by the rest of the choir.
I’ve been asked about how to handle ‘Laser Eyes’ when the choir has to hold and look at music. By the time the performance comes around the sheet music is usually just for security (except if you’re doing Schoenberg on the program – then the music is essential, and probably nobody will spend much time watching the director). The ‘Laser Eyes’ rule still applies. The corollary trick here is to hold the music at chest height, and flat – so that singers’ eyes have less distance to travel. This is a skill that does need to be rehearsed, and guided by the director.
When a choir is using ‘Laser Eyes’ (through the director’s head) it creates much more excitement and interest in an audience. Whatever the impact you wanted to create with the song, it’ll be stronger if there is a visual as well as a sound blend.