When my student went off to play his solo for solo-ensemble festival I gave him a bit of advice. It’s advice I often need to remind myself to take as well.

We should never let our audience know if we were unhappy with our performance. We should never fill them in on our mistakes after we perform (something I frequently feel like I should do for some reason). We shouldn’t shake our heads when we blow it. As I told him, even if he makes a mistake he should just carry on and look as if he is doing exactly what he meant to do. Heck, sometimes even musicians don’t hear our mistakes! Really. Never telegraph errors to the audience. Really.

Audience members come to concerts to be entertained. They are paying for enjoyment. Don’t disappoint them!*

*Well okay, MOST audience members come to concerts to have a good time. Others come to criticize and hear all the bad stuff. Go figure. I always wonder about people like that … why pay money just so you can say how awful something was, I wonder?

1 Comment

  1. Patty,
    David Mamet covered this nicely in, I think, True and False. He said when someone comes backstage after the show and says it was great, don’t tell them you were awful and they should have seen you Thursday. “A moment’s reflection would tell you the right response is ‘thank you.’ ” (Quoted from memory.)
    I know I go to performances set on enjoying myself. Don’t get in my way.
    And while I’m blowing here, a mini-rant about the worst effect of aestheticism: Acquired distaste. Why on earth teach yourself to suffer!? The only benefit is that you join other cool people in *their* suffering. Sophisticates enjoy themselves, however and wherever they are. That’s my ideal. No one can live up to Pater’s ideal of burning “always with a hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, this is success in life.” But that’s a satisfying aim. To look for things you don’t like is (back to Pater) “on this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening.”
    N’ome sayin’?