Magic Choral Trick #299 Audiences come to experience something – not to hear good music

I believe this is a quotation once again from Dr Jim Henry (Ambassadors of Harmony), and I must admit that when he first said it during a rehearsal I was watching, the classical musician in me was slightly outraged.

But he’s right. Since digital recordings, the internet and Youtube came into our lives, we can hear world class musicians playing and singing magnificently at any time of the day or night. At 3 or 4 a.m. when we can’t sleep, we can go to and listen to first rate performances in any genre.

So why go to a live performance?

Because it makes us feel alive. We can’t pause it or save it. Being part of the experience in real time brings our attention into the right here, and right now, and that always feels like more aliveness.

At a live concert, humanity is on display. It could all go brilliantly, or it could all fall to pieces and be an unmitigated disaster – and there’s something enthralling about being in the presence of this uncertainty.

However, the best performers know exactly what experience they want the audience to have, and plan and rehearse every emotion honestly until the communication is clear.

Many choruses and choirs feel that once the words and notes have been learned, and a few dynamics thrown in to add interest, the work is done.

This is a like saying that once an actor learns the lines and the blocking, he or she is ready to present the play. This is the point at which the actual acting begins. And the same is true for the performance of any song.

We put ourselves in an audience to be in the presence of joy, pathos, exhilaration, comedy, sadness or to be spiritually uplifted. We’re there to experience more humanity than we would normally feel on a regular night in our week.

Once we get all the technical aspects of a song handled, the joy of communicating and sharing our humanity needs to be our ultimate goal. When this starts to happen, word will spread and your auditoriums will start to fill up with people wanting to experience this with you.

About janetkidd

I've been waving my arms in front of choirs now for more than 35 years - and these are descriptions of all the very best things I've learned. I direct a Women's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Men's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Med School choir, and for a few weeks each year - Big Choir (about 100 voices) - which performs at an annual fundraising concert. Hope at least some of these Choral Magic Tricks will be useful to you - and thanks for reading. Janet

Posted on February 14, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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