Verena Rein developed a concept (which naturally undergoes a continual change and developmental process) that intends to improve and heighten stage presence and expressive strength on the risky (since “exposed”; without costumes, props, or scenery) concert podium, and also within scenic projects. She passes on her artistic experiences in these areas and also takes the conclusions from her many visits to her colleagues’ concerts and operatic performances into consideration. On this subject, Verena Rein’s article Of the Art of Performance
(only in German) was published in the Neue Musikzeitung.
She has already successfully lead numerous weekend seminars, work-weeks, and continuous evening courses on this subject (i.e. through a teaching assignment for voice majors at the University of the Arts in Berlin
, at the Landesmusikakademie Berlin
, at various providers in the field of music education and as summer seminars abroad (Italy).
The main problems on stage in summary:
1. a general physical stiffness
2. poor posture
3. an incomplete awareness of breathing
4. a discrepancy (ambiguity) between facial expressions, gestures, and movement (if existent at all)
5. a wide gap between the statement of the performed work and body language
6. missing energetic suspension before entrances and in vocal pauses, no subtext
7. overall, a lack of consciousness for spiritual-emotional requirements (of a piece)
The training offers the following, in broad strokes, to help solve the abovementioned problems:
1. Introduction to breath-work (according to Middendorf)
2. Specialized training for movement, gesture, and facial expression (different improvisational models, partner- and group work, individual work) to attain an authentic, natural expression on all three levels.
3. film recordings are used as an objective material which are later evaluated by participants
4. a detailed exercise deals with the phenomenon “stage fright” and its possible repercussions
5. concrete work (individual work with the rest of the group as an audience, in order to provoke stage fright) on performance pieces pertaining to the areas of facial expression, gesture, and movement, whereby tone production (singing itself) mostly takes a relaxed secondary role, thereby almost always independently blossoming (!)
6. intensive work on subtext during a presentation: What is the meaning of the piece, the music, the text? Why am I standing here now and presenting it? How far ahead must I think (like a good storyteller) in order to engage my audience? (etc.)
7. In a closed „concert“, using the prepared pieces, a synthesis is attempted: bringing word-sound-expression-gesture-movement into accord.