Many parents come to our studio in hopes of trying to make their child not shy.
Of course, no person is inherently shy all of the time. In the same way, that no one is always outgoing or brave or silly either. Virtually every kid is not shy when they are at home playing with their siblings, parents, pets, or friends.
Shyness most typically manifests when a child is feeling a great deal and lacks confidence to fully express it. For that reason, telling a child to “not be shy” is self-defeating as it focuses on what the child is doing “wrong” which will only erode self-confidence. A child acts shy to protect their tremendous feelings from being questioned, undermined, or discarded. Children should know that being shy just means they’re feeling a great deal- which is what all wonderful artists experience!
We want our students to know that their feelings and experiences will be valued, celebrated, and supported. A child will start to express their feelings in public when they have the confidence that they will be accepted. When a child is simply playing at home they are unconcerned with any judgements, expectations, or results they need to achieve. In short, they are comfortable with who they are.
And so we strive to make the studio a comfortable place for students to explore all sides of who they are. Everyone is shy at times- just as we are all sometimes playful, silly, dramatic, wise, strong, brave, etc. Acting is about putting ourselves in situations where we can let all these different sides of ourselves emerge.
So the key is to begin playing with the knowledge you are in a space that will celebrate you for whatever you’re truly feeling. Here are some exercises to help let those feelings out!
Think about someone who really made you angry in your life. Close your eyes and see that person. See that person doing the very thing that they did to you in your life. Now, open your eyes and get back at that person in full voice. Next, take any script where the characters are enraged and say that line imagining that person. The line can be “Get out of my room!” Let it all out in that line and you will feel different. All of the sudden you’ve done some great acting.
Think about your favorite pet and see that pet companion doing the one thing that you love the most. Take in the color of the fur, the bark, purr, or noise it makes. Next, open your eyes and say a line “I love you.” Perhaps you are using that for a line in a script about saying I love you to your Mom, Dad or friend.
You will notice that your own feelings have merged with the character’s and that you are now empowered.
There is nothing in this world more wonderful than to be able to express creatively using all the incredible feelings. This can be freeing, nostalgic and fun. Once an actor accesses these feelings, the most wonderful thing happens…Their confidence goes up and the shyness disappears.