Today's post is about interactivity! It's not just enough to play music. It's not just enough to have Happy Feelings Time. Those are both necessary, but it's the bits that fill the cracks that will be the glue holding it all together.
Music is ultimately about human connection. If the people in the audience don't feel like the musician is an actual person, the audience will not relate as well to the player. This happens with some frequency, as symphonies bring soloists in to perform concerti. The hope is, the sheer virtuosity presented will be enough to draw people. Problem 1. Most people don't know who Liszt is. Problem 2. Most people don't know who the soloist is, either. That's two strikes already. The third strike is the feeling that the value of the concert is not worth the ticket price. And out.
Happy Feelings Time is a great way to start. It allows lay people to meet the musicians in question, shake hands with them, realize the musicians are actual people. But there's a lot more we can do to help connect the audience to the stage. One is talking to the audience. Another is interactive concerts.
One of the simplest ways to create interactivity and bonding is to talk to the audience. Here is what happens in a concert today: Orchestra sits on stage. They warm up, and there's general cacophony for fifteen minutes. Curtain call happens, and the orchestra settles down. Lights dim. 10% of the audience falls asleep because the chairs are comfy and the lights are out. Concert master walks out to halfhearted applause. Orchestra tunes. 20% of the audience is out like a light. Conductor walks out to slightly more than halfhearted applause, but only from the people who have managed to stay awake and from the somnambulists. Conductor bows, then utterly ignores the audience. 30% is dozing. Baton lifts. Concert starts.
What's missing? That most basic of human interaction: talking. The best part about it is, at a concert, you likely don't have to cater to deaf people. I mean, maybe you want to cover your bases. Just in case. Anyways. It's amazing how much connection can be accomplished if the people in the audience actually feel like they are being addressed personally. You don't even have to talk that much! Thank them for coming out. Tell them why you like the piece you are about to play, why you are passionate about it, and that you hope to convey that same passion to them. Maybe throw in a joke or two. Like this: What's the difference between Beethoven and a cat? The cat can sing in tune. And make sure to shake it up. Remember Durdle the Turtle. You don't want him around too much.
Happy Feelings Time is, by nature, talk oriented, as well. It's even better because people are drinking alcohol. Speaking of which! You should be allowed to bring alcohol and drinks into the concert hall. All music gets better when you are a little bit toasted. The drawback is, you get old couples playing footsie with each other rather than listen to your performance. But no. Don't think of it as a drawback! Think of it as a goal! If your music can draw the attention of footsie playing elders, you're doing really, really well.
I have decided to make my blog posts shorter. People are busy. I'm busy. I still want depth, but it will be spread out a little more for my sanity and yours. If I'm writing 5 days a week, I want to pace myself. So! This is all for today. Have a great day. If you don't have a little coffee, or meditate a little, or pray or whatever it is you do. Then listen to good music. It's amazing what good music will cure.