Attitude of Love in the Middle of Apparent Indifference
This article takes a lucid look at a necessary subtle attitude stance for actual performing arts success.
There is a commonly held belief among students and many performers, that creates a great gulf between what they desire and what they are actually creating.
This belief is that unless there is an overtly appreciative audience, during a performance, one should not bother about playing “one’s best”, since this would be tantamount to “casting pearls before swine”.
While this flawed understanding makes sense on the surface, it is de facto untrue.
As an example I will narrate a true typical story that happened to me two days ago. This is no isolated case, but merely the lastest in a very long line of similar events.
As I was going over the standard “Sunny”, just to keep it fresh and to improvise on it with new concepts, I was in the middle of the lobby where I also teach . As it was, there were numerous kids, adults, salespeople, all going about their business, and no one was paying attention to me, besides a passing glance, in-spite the fact that many worldwide actually pay to see me perform in person in top jazz clubs, and festivals. Sometimes it is indeed quite different and people do stop to listen, but that day was one of general indifference..
However, I was playing as if I was at Blues Alley or The Kennedy Center. And I was totally lost in music just the same as if I was the center of attention. That is just the way music is to me.
As a result of this I was pleasantly surprised by a very nice gentleman that was there with his family, who came to introduce himself and say hello, because he was impressed by the playing. This gentleman happens to be one of the top composers in Latin America, currently visiting the US, and specializing in guitar music and heading a renowned guitar ensemble.
Furthermore, as we got acquainted, we found out we had participated in the same chamber music festival in the past where I had been invited to represent Brasil and also play one of my own compositions( at different concert dates,) without actually meeting at that time.
As a result, there are now even more possibilities in both our musical lives..
Now all this would not have happened if I had held the common attitude of holding back.
It is always quite illuminating to look at history for even more dramatic examples such as the following:
Mozart used to play background music for tea parties where almost no one cared about listening to him, given the compelling content of the juicy conversations among the guests, as a result he practiced playing pieces backwards and improvising.
Imagine what this means to a music lover or to a student or fan of Mozart, yet no one there cared very much, but that did not stop Mozart.
So it is a point of timeless wisdom for us to review, that to get an audience, one must first give them bliss in form of music, and those who are ready will listen, and they will make the difference.
However one cannot command them to manifest, and one does not know when and where they will appear.