What advice would you give a student who, for fear of looking silly, is uncomfortable about showing emotion in performance—besides offering the obvious suggestion to take acting and movement courses? This twenty-one-year-old male senior performance major is not given to displaying emotion in daily life. Several others in the studio have the opposite problem! They oversell themselves. How do I bring him out?
No matter how hard it may seem to awaken artistic instincts in some individuals, it must never be overlooked that performance communication can be taught and learned, just as can vocal technique. Standing alone in the niche of the piano, in front of an audience, is not a form of everyday behavior that leads to normal channels of communication. It requires the mastery of certain conventions that go with performance, which are both teachable and learnable. They are not simply the result of an innate ability to communicate; they are acquirable through learning by doing. There are far fewer born-expressive performers in the professional world than is sometimes presumed.
Human personality is delightfully diverse. We may be introverted, extroverted,