I’ve been thinking alot about the reasons why we as singers sing. Obviously from the other entries here in this blog, you know that I think about that topic alot. But being in a context in which I am watching a lot of other people sing, and singing myself, certainly makes it come to the top of my “think” list.
When we sing in worship, the reason is obvious. But what about the other times? The concerts? The masterclasses? The opera? Just in private for ourselves?
I have a good friend who often, after a concert, will say — well, it was nice, but wasn’t that concert for the singer? We didn’t really need to be there…She has an excellent observation, phrased from her very unique viewpoint. What I hear her say when she says that is, the singer didn’t communicate with me — they were busy communicating with themselves. They didn’t need me.
Music is useless if it is not a form of communication. If your performance is simply a moment of self-gratification, or a moment when you are trying to work out your own stuff through music, frankly, you are wasting the audience’s time (and perhaps money). And, for yourself, you would probably do better in therapy.
A teacher of mine used to say: “Don’t do all the work, leave some for the audience.” That was another way to say the same thing.
The singer has to meet the audience, shake musical hands, and then do the dance together. Otherwise, my good friend is right, it’s all about you.
You often hear the descriptor, “oh, she was such a generous performer” — that simply means that “she” left room for the audience, and invited them in…
Seems it all comes down to hospitality, like almost everything else. So I’m going to go out there today and do my best to be a welcoming performer, and create a nice, comfortable space for the audience who has come to hear me.
And I’ll have to think more about this later.