Magic Choral Trick #120 Tiger Eyes
I remember when I was doing daily Tai Chi in front of a VHS Tai Chi tape I used to have that one of the exercises involved a Sumo/Warrior stance and slow motion punching while the eyes were trained ferociously on a single point. The idea was that Chi is drawn in with the breath and then expelled through the eyes while doing the slow motion punch.
Small doses of this look was usually all it ever took to remind my own kids that they were straying a bit close to the line.
How does this relate to singing?
When a singing student hasn’t quite enough focus in the sound I often ask them to think of something that has really annoyed them during the course of their day. I get them to keep refreshing this image in their mind – experiencing and re-experiencing the annoyance – and express this through wide open eyes. The ferocious intensity expressed through the eyes reminds me of the Tai Chi exercise. Although any intense emotion will work, I find that anger is the most readily accessible.
This has always produced a more focused and energized sound, and the students are happy to discover their new super power – Tiger Eyes.