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How (not) to perform live music

YorkshireYankee 13 Aug 12 - 12:05 PM
The Sandman 13 Aug 12 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Aug 12 - 11:31 PM
Gedpipes 14 Aug 12 - 10:43 AM
Jack Campin 14 Aug 12 - 11:12 AM
Bobert 14 Aug 12 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 Aug 12 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,leeeneia 14 Aug 12 - 03:59 PM
Ross Campbell 14 Aug 12 - 10:46 PM
Musket 15 Aug 12 - 04:04 AM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Aug 12 - 12:08 PM
treewind 15 Aug 12 - 12:18 PM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Aug 12 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Foggers 15 Aug 12 - 12:49 PM
Bert 15 Aug 12 - 03:44 PM
The Sandman 15 Aug 12 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Aug 12 - 04:06 PM
The Sandman 15 Aug 12 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,Joe G 15 Aug 12 - 04:22 PM
Allan Conn 15 Aug 12 - 04:31 PM
The Sandman 15 Aug 12 - 04:58 PM
Phil Edwards 15 Aug 12 - 07:03 PM
Bert 15 Aug 12 - 10:01 PM
The Sandman 16 Aug 12 - 04:09 AM
johncharles 16 Aug 12 - 05:40 AM
JHW 16 Aug 12 - 06:50 AM
The Sandman 16 Aug 12 - 07:07 AM
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Subject: How (not) to perform live music
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 12:05 PM

How (not) to perform live music

"With the Edinburgh festivals in full swing, there are no shortage of good live performances on show. But, of course, some could be better. This weekend sees a conference in the capital on the art of live musical performance. We should warn you that some viewers may be offended by the tone of Gavin Walker's report."


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 12:35 PM

well if that prat could do anything more than strum, you know a bit of melody picking, he might do better


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Aug 12 - 11:31 PM

I was watching Andre Rieu videos recently. In one, the camera zoomed right in on the face of a violinist, and she looked everywhere except at the camera - i.e, at her audience. Here was a person who has worked for years to play violin for an audience, and when she got the chance, she acted like the audience didn't exist. It was insulting.

On the other hand, I watched a video of Andre's band playing in Manchester, where people were waltzing in the aisles. For a long time, he looked out at the huge audience with confidence and pure love in his eyes. That is a star!

(I tried watching the video that YY linked in the first post, but it was too precious and time-consuming.)


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: Gedpipes
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 10:43 AM

Fantastic stuff


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 11:12 AM

the camera zoomed right in on the face of a violinist, and she looked everywhere except at the camera - i.e, at her audience.

How could she have known the camera was on her at that point?

If someone is filming a big show they'll usually have several cameras rolling simultaneously. Which visuals end up in the final product is decided in editing.


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 11:20 AM

Off key is the #1 sin...

Tune your instruments, please... Hey, the audience will appreciate that extra little bit of time it takes to hear you play well...

Here's my favorite: "We tune because we care"... Get a laugh and gets you some time to get it right...

B~


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 02:33 PM

Leenia, TV people have very strict rules on who should only ever look at the camera (presenters and down-the-line-interviewees), and who should never (everyone else). The director may have told her under no circumstances should she look at the camera, because it can look cheap. I would have done.


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: GUEST,leeeneia
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 03:59 PM

Perhaps. But I don't believe it. The whole moment was awkward and should have been edited out.

Take it from a woman who likes and observes the behavior of other women, she knew the camera was right on her.


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 14 Aug 12 - 10:46 PM

Surely it depends on whether there was an audience physically present at the recording? That would be the audience I'd perform to. On the other hand, if it was a studio recording with nobody but the performer and the recording engineer present, I can perhaps understand the awkwardness you describe.

Ross


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: Musket
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 04:04 AM

Vin Garbutt always sings with his eyes closed.

I don't think he insults his audience by it?


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 12:08 PM

no, because he's probably closing his eyes so he can hear his music better. I've done the same thing.
=========
My ideas for a good performance.

Have your act ready. You can start late, but not more than 15 minutes.

Be tuned. You can tune in the green room and touch up just a bit on stage.

Esp. for classical musicians - do not come out early and practice the tricky bits, all out of order and in different keys.

Dress nicely. This is an occasion. At least dress as nicely as the audience. Folk performers who look they are ready to go out and turn the compost are conveying disrespect for all.

Don't let anybody make a bunch of announcements at the start of the concert. The audience is on your side and eager for music - give it to them.

If anybody produces serious feedback, shoot them. (just kidding) There should be no feedback.

Be glad the audience is there, and let them know you are glad They could have stayed home.

Think about pacing and variety. Move from major to minor, from one timing (4/4, 6/8, 3/4) to another, from slow to fast, from instrumental to vocal.

(I once went to a bluegrass concert that was entirely in 4/4 time. What a bore.)

The first number should be a good one. Well=performed and exciting. You want the audience to think, "I'm glad I came!"

The last number of the first half needs to be really good. You want people to come back after intermission, not slip quietly out the door.

Somewhere in-between, slip in something peaceful or sad. People today are overstimulated and appreciate the chance to relaz.

I like an encore to be entirely different from what went before. It's dessert, if you will. If you've been playing Scottish music, play something Chinese (e.g.) for the encore.


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: treewind
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 12:18 PM

Excellent advice leeneia.
I like the one about the last number in the first half. Once you've got them back in for the second half, you can get away with anything! (only kidding)

And encores: we have a couple of encore pieces we'd never use for anything else!


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 12:36 PM

As to singing with your eyes closed, Peggy Seeger said
to a ballads class at a banjo camp I attended, "People
sometimes ask why I so often sing with my eyes closed.
I tell them, 'Because I want to see the movie!'"

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: GUEST,Foggers
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 12:49 PM

I think that clip needs to be appreciated as a bit of tongue in cheek. However, I do think that it is worth pausing to reflect and identify the ingredients of a "good" performance.

Leeneia that is a super list of advice. The only additions I would make would be

1)KNOW your materials. Call me old fashioned but I don't like to see people singing with lyrics/notes on a music stand in front of them when I have paid good money to see them. It might be tolerable for ONE number (e.g. "Someone asked me to do this old one and it's been a while so I need to jog my memory..."). I would also extend this rule to include knowing roughly what your set list is going to be *having designed it using Leeneia's guidance!). I find it very irritating to what someone scratching their heads and going "ermmmm, what do you fancy next?". OF course some flexibility is essential too, so a set list is a plan that you may need to deviate from according to circumstances.

2) Having engaged your audience early on (by telling them how glad you are that they are there, as per Leeneia's list) keep that relationship going, notice the collective mood and respond as appropriate. This may need to include developing a few skills in handling hecklers, but that is all part of live performance.

If you have done your groundwork as a performer you should be able to feel relaxed and confident on stage, and build the rapport that is an essential ingredient for a good live performance.


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: Bert
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 03:44 PM

I couldn't get to see the linked video, just a long advertisement that kept stopping and starting.

What's wrong with strumming prat Good Soldier Schweik?


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 03:55 PM

it is uninspiring and boring,unless you are doing something chordally interesting with the left hand, if not try and pick out the melody with fingers or with thumb
in the style of maybelle carter, or flatpick the tune or flatpick a harmony, that guys strumming is just mediocre, that kind of struumming adds nothing as an accompaniment, in fact he might sing the song beter unaccompanied


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 04:06 PM

Good thoughts, Foggers.

Good thoughts on strumming, Schweik. Too many bands have turned the guitar into a mere percussion instrument - blang blang blangety blang all night.

(That's got to be hard on the elbow after a while. Whaddya call that nerve that runs through the elbow and down to the little finger?)

However, when we play the 'Battle of Aughrim' and our guitarist sets up a deep, scary, Am thrum, we hear the advantages of strumming the right way at the right time.


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 04:19 PM

this guy gavin, has hardly learned any plectrum technique, you are right, leenia, Iam sure piere bensusan, could probaly strum sensitively, but this well connected idiot or prat, seems to be under the impression that if he does the same thing but leaps about like a maniac it will be improved. what he needs to do is learn to play the guitar a little bit better. the judge says that great, its not great, its mediocre, and its mediocre because his playing is extremely basic, he has very little technique, and f all sensitivity


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 04:22 PM

Don't say I've only got time for a quick song and then sing a very long one - or even worse two long ones strung together so there is no escape :-)


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: Allan Conn
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 04:31 PM

"this guy gavin, has hardly learned any plectrum technique"

To be fair he's not a actually a serious musician. He's the reporter doing a tongue in cheek piece.


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 04:58 PM

he should not give up the day job


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 07:03 PM

Don't say I've only got time for a quick song and then sing a very long one

And if, for reasons best known to himself, the MC says something about "one each or two very short ones", don't take it as a green light for you to do two long ones, however well you think they go together. Some people may be bowled over by the sheer brilliance of your performance, but - those few people apart - everyone waiting to go on will hate you, and everyone who came to listen will think you're an arrogant dick.

(Seen at a poetry night. They weren't even good poems.)


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: Bert
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 10:01 PM

You know I've never heard a "really good musician" put down another who is not so good.


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 04:09 AM

listen Bert, this guy is getting on national tv and doing a disservice to folk music, he is portraying an image of mediocre playing as the norm, there are far better ambassadors of the music and of busking who should be given that opportunity.
you make a snide remark at me , because i criticise another players mediocrity, i criticise his playing because he is putting himself forward as a platform for this music, using his journalistic contacts and doing the folk movement a disservice.anyone who puts themselves forward should be open to constructive criticism[e work on plectrum technique, and right hand finger work
well now bert, you carry on with your snide cowardly remarks,.


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: johncharles
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 05:40 AM

He is a reporter doing a tongue in cheek piece. he clearly had no intention of being taken seriously as a performer.
The folk movement should be able to take a little ribbing. It could have been worse, he could have worn a large false beard and stuck a finger in his ear,while singing an interminable ballad.
Off to whitby tomorrow,beard groomed,guitar slightly out of tune,songs of gloom and doom at the ready.
john


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: JHW
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 06:50 AM

There's all sorts of buskers in Edinburgh playing songs you don't want to hear but pity the poor guy indoors in a bar still thrashing stuff out the same way to be heard above the din. Bars have blackboards outside saying Live Folk Music and some poor sod takes on the job. So (Monday night) I sup my beer and listen politely to a thrashed, not quite in tune guitar and a voice battered by shouting, singing songs equally worn by the years. Next up a guy takes forever to tune but he's going to accompany himself with melodies on the guitar so has to; and folks wait and folks listen and this guy without thrashing and no strained voice gets his audience.


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Subject: RE: How (not) to perform live music
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 07:07 AM

Bert,I have heard very good musicians criticise other musicians,if you pm me, I will name at least 2 of the most respected luminaries on the UK folk scene.
however I am not sure if that berk who was trying to give an impression of uk folk singers actually qualifies as anything other than an attention seeker who was trying to publicie himself for the sake of his media career, dont give up the day job, gavin, and go away and practise


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