1961. West Side Story. This film won ten Academy Awards in its eleven nominated categories, including Best Picture. The amazing genius of Leonard Bernstein with his powerful score along with lyrics from Stephen Sondheim are timeless. You know the story of course.
One particular scene will roll around in my head quite often.
To help set the scene.... start snapping your fingers in rhythm …..now… visualize “The Jets” (ready to rumble) getting antsy...while waiting for “The Sharks” to show up for the fight. An attempt is made to convince the Jets to call off the rumble….but…. to no avail….. so “Riff” tells them to stay “cool”….. to keep it …….“cool”…….. boy.
Enjoy "Cool" from West Side Story ...click the link on the bottom.
This song brings some rather essential advice for us all really. For the Voice Actor, keeping it “cool” and relaxed may be one of the quintessential ingredients to a creating and achieving excellence.
It’s remarkable what happens to your body from stress and tension. Here’s way too much information for you but important just the same:
Stress can result from many things: a high-pressure job, relationships, financial problems, loneliness, crowds, traffic jams and life changes. Because of the complexity of today's world, stress is experienced by everyone at one time or another. Everyone has his or her own comfort level where stress is concerned. What is considered stress by one may be just a small bump in the road to another.
Symptoms of stress include increased adrenaline, increased heart beat, increased blood pressure, and increased cholesterol levels, changes in blood makeup, and muscle tension.
Stress may create an environment for other illnesses and conditions to progress, such as appetite changes, fatigue, headaches, irritability, insecurities, memory loss, stuttering, teeth-grinding, cold hands, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, nervous twitches, reduced sex drive, insomnia, gas, indigestion, heart burn, stomach upset, withdrawal, anxiety, panic and higher risk of heart attack.
Enough already!! Just reading this can make you tense!
So what can we do to manage tension and stress?
Physicians recommend we best manage stress by regular exercise, meditation or other relaxation techniques, structured time outs, and learning new coping strategies to create predictability in our lives. The management of stress depends mainly on the willingness of a person to make the changes necessary for a healthy lifestyle. We need to keep it “cool” kid.
I like to use (or attempt to use) humor. My late father was the “king” of bad puns…and if you know me well…you know that “wonderful” quality was passed along. …LOL! Seriously, humor works wonders to relax you and prepare you for your project. (Wait “seriously, humor”...isn’t; that an oxymoron?)
And here are a few of the "cool" performers from whom I’ve taken a lesson:
If you enjoy golf…then you know of Masters Champion Fred Couples. As an athlete, he may be the “coolest”! His walk ....lazy....as if he hasn’t a care in the world….chatting while walking and carrying a club to goof with….you get the feeling he is out for a leisurely stroll on a Sunday afternoon...he is so thoroughly relaxed. Yet in the heat of competition his ability to take dead aim and make the important shot has been remarkable over the years.
Sinatra! A master at exuding a sense of casualness with perfection. You can feel how much he “loved” to sing and seemingly without a care in the world. He would fill a concert hall singing to thousands and appear to be in his living room...with his feet up.
A relaxed “stress and tension free” environment is essential to help to strive to achieve excellence.
Keep it "Cool" .....Life is fun!
Inside Studio A …..I’m James Herron