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Elements of a Good Performance (Read 665 times)

Offline youngpianist

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Elements of a Good Performance
« on: May 21, 2021, 10:08:57 PM »
Hello. I'm thinking about what goes into a good performance. What are some things I can think about to elevate my performances to a higher level? I want to make it a really good experience for the listeners. I already try to prepare myself well and be well dressed and all that. One thing I also do is talking about the music and presenting it to the audience. But I am thinking what else goes into a really great performance? What can I do to take it to the next level?

Online lelle

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #1 on: May 22, 2021, 11:27:13 PM »
The first thing that comes to my mind is authenticity. I think a truly great performance is not about mugging for the camera or trying to "show" the listeners any emotion as something you paste on top of the performance, if that makes sense, but feeling and expressing that emotion authentically.

Offline quantum

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #2 on: May 25, 2021, 05:12:18 AM »
Create a performance around the musical experience, first and foremost the sounds you make.  Music is predominantly an aural activity, so make the sound the focus of your effort. 

If you were to perform to a recording, or behind a screen (like some competitions do), or to a visually challenged audience, ask yourself if these people would have the same listening experience as a person that sees you clearly. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Online lelle

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #3 on: May 26, 2021, 10:03:05 PM »

If you were to perform to a recording, or behind a screen (like some competitions do), or to a visually challenged audience, ask yourself if these people would have the same listening experience as a person that sees you clearly.

Omg yes this is like music to my ears. I think some  people get caught up in the superficialities and think making certain movements or facial expressions will telegraph to the audience what emotion they should feel and I think that's the wrong way to go.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #4 on: May 27, 2021, 11:50:16 AM »
I have mentioned it in your other similar thread:  choose music that will be pleasing to your audience and appropriate to the venue.  Do not choose music because you want ‘to educate them’

Online lelle

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #5 on: May 27, 2021, 01:24:59 PM »
I have mentioned it in your other similar thread:  choose music that will be pleasing to your audience and appropriate to the venue.  Do not choose music because you want ‘to educate them’

That's a somewhat odd take for me. I have often made programs with a mix of warhorses/famous pieces, and great, lesser known pieces, and it tends to go down well. At least some people seem to appreciate getting to know pieces they haven't heard before. If all classical recitals were just the Moonlight sonata, Clair de Lune and Fantasie Impromptu all the time people miss out on so much good music.

Offline dw4rn

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #6 on: June 01, 2021, 11:40:20 AM »
I have mentioned it in your other similar thread:  choose music that will be pleasing to your audience and appropriate to the venue.  Do not choose music because you want ‘to educate them’

That's a somewhat odd take for me. I have often made programs with a mix of warhorses/famous pieces, and great, lesser known pieces, and it tends to go down well.

Right lelle, but did you choose these pieces to "educate" the audience or because you thought they were great pieces that you thought fit for the occasion? Since it went down well, I suppose they did find it pleasing, didn't they?
"Famous" and "pleasing" can be very different things. I have heard a lot of warhorses performed in a way that didn't please me at all.
Anyway, I think we actually agree that one underestimates a very large part of the audience if one thinks that all they want to hear is Clair de Lune.

Online lelle

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #7 on: June 01, 2021, 05:23:28 PM »
Right lelle, but did you choose these pieces to "educate" the audience or because you thought they were great pieces that you thought fit for the occasion? Since it went down well, I suppose they did find it pleasing, didn't they?

I wouldn't perform, for example, Schoenberg to educate the audience, because I think Schoenberg sounds like sh*t so I don't want to play it. I always play pieces I like and feel enthusiastic about, but I feel like I am educating the audience when I show them less known/performed pieces. so the answer to this question

Quote
did you choose these pieces to "educate" the audience or because you thought they were great pieces that you thought fit for the occasion?

is both, I guess. I choose the pieces I want to educate the audience with based on me thinking they are pleasing and hoping that I'll be able to show the audience why so that they'll enjoy it too. Maybe that means we're on the same page?


Offline dogperson

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #8 on: June 01, 2021, 09:08:06 PM »
That's a somewhat odd take for me. I have often made programs with a mix of warhorses/famous pieces, and great, lesser known pieces, and it tends to go down well. At least some people seem to appreciate getting to know pieces they haven't heard before. If all classical recitals were just the Moonlight sonata, Clair de Lune and Fantasie Impromptu all the time people miss out on so much good music.


I am not suggesting that all warhorses should be played.  Far from it.  I’m suggesting that the primary focus should be playing what you believe an audience would enjoy— whether they have heard it previously or not.

If your primary purpose is to educate your audience not considering whether they would find the music pleasurable, you may find your performance disappointing to your audience.  I’ve actually seen this happen: an outstanding professional string quartet decided they wanted to make their performances educational without any consideration of the audience’s potential enjoyment.  They lost repeat opportunities and quickly disappeared.  All from an attitude of ‘it’s good for you’. 

Online lelle

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #9 on: June 01, 2021, 10:32:23 PM »


I am not suggesting that all warhorses should be played.  Far from it.  I’m suggesting that the primary focus should be playing what you believe an audience would enjoy— whether they have heard it previously or not.

If your primary purpose is to educate your audience not considering whether they would find the music pleasurable, you may find your performance disappointing to your audience.  I’ve actually seen this happen: an outstanding professional string quartet decided they wanted to make their performances educational without any consideration of the audience’s potential enjoyment.  They lost repeat opportunities and quickly disappeared.  All from an attitude of ‘it’s good for you’.

Oh. Well that is a strange approach. I try to educate my audience but really, the starting point is "do I enjoy this piece and do I think my audience will enjoy it too?". Like why play music that nobody will enjoy?

Offline dw4rn

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #10 on: June 02, 2021, 08:45:21 AM »
I choose the pieces I want to educate the audience with based on me thinking they are pleasing and hoping that I'll be able to show the audience why so that they'll enjoy it too. Maybe that means we're on the same page?

More or less, except that I prefer not to think so much about "educating the audience". To be honest, I don't much like "pleasing" either. I reacted to your previous post because it sounded a bit like you thought "pleasing the audience" could not mean anything other than playing extremely famous and popular pieces.

As regards education, I think what one should mainly think about is educating oneself. If you keep studying a wide range of repertoire, you will inevitably find some lesser-known but great pieces that you will want to perform to an audience.

When you arrive at that stage, I think it's wise not to think "Let's play this to an audience to educate them".
Instead, you could think: "How will an audience feel about this, considering they have probably not heard this work before? Do they need to be 'educated' in some way to really appreciate it? Perhaps I should make a spoken introduction or write some program notes? Can I pair it with some other piece to enhance its effect?"

These questions get more important the more unusual and aurally challenging your piece is. Let's say you had been able to educate yourself into actually liking Schoenberg. In your audience, there will probably be a number of people that are still like you were before - they know that Schoenberg sounds like sh*t. What you need to do then is not to "educate" or "please", but rather to "convince" or "win over".

Online lelle

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Re: Elements of a Good Performance
«Reply #11 on: June 03, 2021, 09:13:01 PM »
I'm with you man. It's funny because a lot of these words can be condtrued in different way. "Educating" could mean condescendingly trying to force feed the audience non-pleasant music because it's apparently "good for them", or it could mean to merely show them something you don't think they have heard before. "Pleasing" could mean being desperately attached to the audience liking the music and admiring you, or it could mean that you gave them an experience that was pleasant. "Convince" could mean sort of trying to manipulate or babble the audience into grudgingly accepting something, or it could mean showing them what you like about something and hoping they like it too. I sometimes think words are hard because we all have our own notions, biases and past experiences, good or bad, attached to certain words and how we read into them.