A Song and Acting Lessons Learned from a 3 Year Old

This is from a number of years back.  I was working on a song for “Dreambound” a musical that would take a couple of years to make (not to mention become the vehicle for me to watch my divorce happen, but that’s another story for another time.).  This song that I’m working on would ultimately go on to be the opening number of the show.

I’m playing the piano and recording with a small hand held memo recorder… this was before my phone had an app for such a thing.  My daughter, who at the time must have be…oh, let’s say 2 – 4 somewhere in there.  Wanted to go for a walk.  It’s adorable.  I’ve also found it to be a good lesson for acting or improv.

In the span of less than a minute she uses 12 different tactics to get me to stop playing the piano and go with her.  She does this while saying the same basic thing over and over in different ways.

It’s a great reminder of an acting lesson of choosing different tactics to get what you want.  You’ve got the same line, but the way you say it can change the meaning of it drastically.   We’ve also done this exercise in improv.

The various techniques she uses:  Requests, insists, demands, requests sweetly and politely, reasons, physically forces the issue (that’s the part where she says “come on you, arm.” as she is grabbing my arm from the piano.), finally she tugs at the sentimental side of me and that works.  (“Come on you, Prince.”  When we’d walk we’d pretend to be Cinderella and the Prince… she played me better than I played the piano.)  At the end she says it again in a sort of matter-of-fact way that made it seem like it indeed was a good idea and, in fact, I probably would have thought it was my idea had I not had a recording of it.



Leave a Reply