Thursday, August 22, 2013

Musicianship: More Than Just Beautiful Sounds

We've always known that body language is important in communication. Some public speaking studies suggest non-verbal communication shapes 90% of the message. So I certainly coach performers in what I call ‘stagecraft,’ as well as in their sound production.

Surprisingly, efforts to improve stagecraft are often met with dismay.
“Do I have to listen to them [the audience] ? – shouldn't they do that work? I have enough to do to present such gorgeous sounds!”
Must I consider how my body language cuts off or welcomes the listener? Must I be concerned about the audience’s psychological needs? Do I need to understand how my gestures, eye contact, reactions to my own playing, reception of applause, and leadership (or lack of) affect an audience?

Yes, Yes, Yes!

Music is a performance art and I've already shared many thoughts in previous postings 

So at this time I’d love to pass along a new study by Chia-Jung Tsay, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal:

And some very readable commentary on this study by Melissa Hogenboom, the Science reporter at BBC News:

Why do we continue to think that music performance and communication functions drastically differently from other types of performance and communication?

I’m available for coaching sessions - stagecraft included.