A student who was frustrated about getting different feedback from different teachers and presenters about their lack of movement or too much movement recently asked: How do you tell if you have the right amount of movement when acting out a song?
So here are my thoughts:
There is no right answer and there is no definitive answer.
Obviously right now as a student, and if you do workshops or masterclasses outside of school focused on singing performance, all the people in the world will have an opinion on what is "better". Ultimately, you have to take all the input and feedback and make an informed decision on what is right for you as a performer.
Let authenticity be your guide.
What is authentic and natural for you. As you build your identity as a performer what makes you feel like you expressed something the way you want it perceived and what is your audience feedback on how well you got your point across.
Movement should not be distracting but enhancing.
Movement should be authentic to the song and the story you are telling.
There are varying opinions on if movement should match the time period of the song, and my opinion is that singers should know how to make any song "time period" appropriate and how to modernize it so that you can make choices depending on the application of your performance.
If you were to sing an opera piece within an opera that had a director they could ask you to make different choices depending on if the concept of the opera is set in 1880 or 1950.
Movement should be a byproduct of thought and consideration.
So if you have thought out your acting choices and are moving with purpose it is different than unconscious twitching/ticks or self conducting to the time of the music.
I hope that this helps. It can be confusing during this time period when learning music because students are stuck between a world where everything is a FACT and everything is a choice. How to navigate between learning new things, receiving feedback, and applying that feedback AND how to beginning to make those choices authentic to you as a performer is tricky.
Pablo Picasso is attributed to this quote, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Pablo Cassals wrote, "The art of interpretation is not to play what is written".
Christa Durand is an arts educator, vocal technician, breathing coach, and musician.