4 Things to Remember When Dealing with an Audience That Looks Bored
It’s every professional musician’s worst nightmare: performing to an audience that looks as though they could die of boredom at any moment. It’s perfectly natural for musicians to glance out to gauge the reaction of their audience whilst performing. However, it’s important to remember that when we’re under pressure, we are much more prone to focus on threats. This makes it incredibly easy to begin picking out members of the audience that look disinterested. From here, your train of thought can quickly go from “Is that person asleep, or just listening with their eyes closed?” to “I’m a terrible musician and I should never perform again.” Here at Fusion Bags, we believe this negative spiral of performance suicide can be avoided - and here is how.
Think in thirds
Here’s a tip which is important for performers of all varieties to know. It’s all about how your audience it’s comprised. In any given room, a rule of thirds applies. It is said that a third of your audience are going to love what you perform, even before you begin to play. Another third will sit on the fence and will make up their minds as your progress through your piece. The last third, on the other hand, may as well be forgotten. This third will not be interested in what you do, no matter how compelling your performance.
It’s a trap!
Forgetting which third of the audience gives you the most attention, it’s important to also consider which third of the audience you give the most attention to. It’s a mistake that is made by most musicians – you worry about and dwell on the disinterested audience members. This is dangerous trap that could put your performance in danger. Focusing on the third who are waiting for your performance to end will get you flustered, cause you to rush your music and try too hard. This will inevitably end badly. The fact that a third is not interest isn’t your fault and isn’t your problem. Your aim is to confidently play for the enthusiastic third and capture the hearts of those sitting on the fence, not focus on those who already lost.
Your performance is yours and yours alone. You will need to make a decision before you even walk onto the stage about where your focus will lie. One of the most exciting and dynamic things about music is that it is incredibly personal. This also makes it ones of the hardest industries, as you have to accept that not everybody is going to like what you do. This is where acknowledgement and self-assurance is key. It’s the confidence to say “not everyone is going to like this, and that’s ok.” Your job is to go out on stage and portray your true passion for music. Do it your way and don’t edit yourself for others. If you don’t own your performance, you will only be disappointing yourself – the one person who truly matters most.
You’re not a psychic
Don’t forget: you really can’t tell what your audience is thinking. No matter how many years you’ve had in the industry, there is still no reliable way of telling if your audience is enthused or not. There are just too many people in this world that look bored or disinterested, even when they aren’t. You may be pleasantly surprised when you receive great feedback from audience members that looked as though they were half asleep. Everybody enjoys music differently, so just because they aren’t smiling or tapping their foot doesn’t mean that they hate it. This is exactly why there is no point wasting your attention and resources trying to read the mind of your audience. Feed off the positivity of the visibly enthused audience members and play to them. You are much more likely to enjoy yourself and your audience probably will to.
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