What is our job as musicians – acrobatics or communicating?

April 27, 2015

As musicians, we focus on training ourselves – how we can we have the best technique? We work on having the best riffs, the best trills, the best speed etc....

As musicians, we focus on training ourselves – how we can we have the best technique? We work on having the best riffs, the best trills, the best speed etc. We study as many scores to understand what we’re playing. We study the theory, and the history behind the music to be as prepared as possible. But then a performance comes and it becomes acrobatics instead of having a conversation.

When does it stop being notes on a page – a work out for our vocal chords, and/or fingers. How do we do this?

First of all, you need to be able to answer:

WHO WHAT WHY WHEN WHERE HOW

Who are you playing to?

What are playing? A memory? A moment? A feeling?
When are you playing? Is it recapturing a memory? Is it creating a memory?
Why are playing this? Is there a purpose behind your performance? What motivates you? If you’re unsure what this mean – watch Nina Simone in this performance  This is probably the most important question to ask yourself!!! WHY!!!
Where are you playing? Are you moving your audience to another plane? Another place? Or is it happening then and now?

How are you going to do? Yes technique is necessary to create this but are you working hard? Does your audience know you’re working hard?

Then ask – are you enjoying yourself?
Sometimes this is so difficult because we’re inexperienced and unsure what will happen at a performance. We need to focus on the who.what.when.where.how. questions and it will us take the music to the next step. And even if we’re still working crazy hard – at least our audience won’t know that we are.
We can never forget why we’re artists.

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