Musical Theatre: Building Self Confidence
Can participating in a musical theatre build self confidence? As an amateur artist, I can definitely, absolutely, certainly say “Yes!” Musical theatre is a form of theatre that uses music, songs, dance and spoken dialogue. The combination of singing, dancing and acting experienced in musical theatre is one of the wonderful ways a person can build self confidence.
Let's see how musical theatre builds self confidence.
Honing Your Skills and Talents
It's possible to build self-confidence while continually improve your craft. Talented people work very hard to perfect their skills. Writers consistently write, athletes practice daily and musical theatre artists rehearse over and over again.
As we all know, musical theatre is done live. For any show done live, you only get one chance. The director cannot shout “cut” if we mess up and redo the whole scene. It is very crucial then that all artists know their cues, lines, memorize their songs and dances by heart. And the only way to do that is to constantly rehearse and practice.
So if you want to have confidence in what you do, never stop improving and growing. The more proficient and skilled you are, the more confidence you will have with yourself.
Facing Your Fears
Fear is one of the major blocks to self confidence. Fear of making mistakes, fear of looking like a fool, fear of facing a crowd, fear of being judged, not being good enough and not being accepted. Whatever fears we have, facing it head on is the greatest thing we can do to build our self confidence.
I used to be really scared when I am in front of people. In high school, I remember reading a speech in front of our speech teacher who happened to be very strict. As I stood there in front of the microphone, my knees trembled, my stomach was filled with fluttering butterflies and while I held the paper, my hands shook like crazy.
And even if I seem to hate being in front, it seems I was drawing all opportunities to be in front. Groan. I participated in school plays, I was one of the cheerleaders, I was asked to join the group to perform a song or dance number during school events. In family gatherings, it was always like that too. Did the fear go away instantly? No! It was my constant companion. The grandest thing I ever did was not say “no” to all these opportunities!
When I joined the amateur musical theatre group under Director Daisy Ba-ad, the first thing she said to me when I sang before her was “stop criticizing yourself.” You know what? That was the best advice anyone could have given me. When I stopped criticizing myself, I discovered that this great fear that often paralyzed me packed his bags and left. Do I still get scared? Of course…but I no longer beat myself up for it. And I’ve made such progress that I can honestly say, “I’ve conquered a lot of my fears through musical theater” under the mentorship of a wonderful director.
If I, who is such a scaredy cat, can do it, so can you. Overcoming your fears can build your self confidence.
Being Alert and Proactive
On stage, we develop alertness and proactively respond to situations. When things occur like a co-actor forgets his prop or his lines, the microphone conks out or somebody is injured, there is no time to analyze or complain. One simply has to respond positively to a given situation. We are trained to continue and more often, the audience doesn’t even know what happened.
When you are performing, one also has to be mindful and be in the present moment. In The Wiz musical play, I remembered in one show I allowed worry to flutter in my mind. The moment I did that, I forgot the lines in my song! I quickly recovered but that taught me a lesson on mindfulness and being in the now. Being alert and proactive in coping with life gives you inner confidence and strength.
Most of our experiences build our character one way or the other. This really only truly works if you choose to use your experiences to build your character. I’ve become aware of how musical theatre does that. The cast and crew learn discipline, responsibility, and accountability. If you sing, you must be disciplined enough to vocalize, take care of your voice, memorize your lines. If you dance, you must be disciplined to know your steps and execute those steps perfectly. You must be responsible enough to warm up and exercise for flexibility and endurance. We learn to be accountable for our actions.
Aside from that, we also learn to be prompt and committed to our craft. Creativity is highly encouraged. We learn to work as a team and support each other instead of competing. All these traits make you feel good about yourself; thus, increasing your value and builds your self-confidence.
Willing to Learn and Grow
Musical theatre challenges your willingness to keep on learning and growing. The workshops that were conducted allowed us to step out of the box and discover the things we could do. We expanded our comfort zone and tried new things. The more we allowed ourselves, the more exciting and fun things unfolded in our lives.
One Last Note:
A self-confident person is easily spotted in a crowd. He/she has self-confidence when she exhibits willingness to take risks, courageous enough to try to not be afraid of making mistakes or owning up mistakes, accountable for his actions instead of blaming others, accepts compliments and criticisms graciously and is not defensive. All of this I learned in my experiences inside and outside of musical theatre. If you want to build self-confidence, use all your experiences to make you a better and effective person.
You are a work in progress!