In the last article we’ve learned that there are numerous musical (and non musical) elements that make people like a certain artist or a song, and they don’t even know why. It is our role, as musicians to be aware of them and improve on them all the time. These nuances play a crucial role in determining the unique artistic personalty of an artist, a song or a performance. In the future, we will discuss the major areas in which these nuances exist and try to explain their importance.
The first major area will be – Performance, as the title of this article might suggest.
As we all know, performance can also relate to stage presence and showmanship, which is not less important, but for now, I’d like to focus on the musical performance and related issues.
Recently I saw a very interesting lecture on music business by Steve Rennie a.k.a RENMAN. He is the manager of the band Incubus and a very clever and innovative music business man. The lecture was given live for free on Creative Live. one of the repeated things he said was “it’s all about the songs and the performance”. That leads us to the question: What can we do to improve the songs and the performance?
About the songs, of course it requires a lot of work and experience to write powerful songs, but if you’ve read the last few articles (and if not, you might do so), you might already know a few key elements you should look to have in your songs.
About the performance, it requires at least as much work and experience, but in the next articles I will discuss a few key elements to work on in order to make your performance more powerful, deep and unique.
Attention to nuances is what separates the amateurs from the pros, and it is a major skill needed to be improved on your way to being a unique and influential artist.
When you hear a performance that grabs you, it’s probably because the nuances of the performance were well presented, worked on (individually and collectively) and polished by the artists. But when you feel that the performance is not really exciting, even though it sounds professional and everyone plays together in time with each other… It’s probably because these very nuances were missing from the performance.
The nuances are more about HOW the music is performed and less about WHAT is played. Playing music on an instrument well is one thing, but playing music with a high level of emotional content depends more on these nuances than everything else. And, guess what? Most music schools and teachers will neglect that important part when teaching you music theory and practice. So, it’s either you figure this out on your own, or you’re left behind…
In our era of technological advancement, it is very easy to manipulate recordings to sound more “professional” or “musically right”, but as a result, very often these nuances are being eliminated even further by the process, making music less and less exciting, emotional and valuable.
In the next few articles we’ll look into few key elements of performance in order to find the all important nuances and learn how to manipulate and work on them.
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