December 11, 2016
I’m in Austin Texas and just heard two performances by the Grammy Winning Choir Conspirare. My friend Matt Alber was guest soloist with the choir. It was a magical experience in so many ways. The conductor Craig Hella Johnson is a beautiful human being who is making change through his music and the message of love. The choir members are all professional singers and come from all over the United States. The glances of affection and joy they had for each other and their leader throughout the performance were astonishing. I have never seen that before. Matt’s voice came through like an angel…he truely has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. That sentiment was definately shared by the response of the audience. More than his voice, Matt shares a mission to make the world a better place and he radiated that feeling throughout the performance. I am so blessed to meet and have colleagues and friends engaged in making postitive change in this world. Thank you Matt for inviting my to come to Texas to hear you sing and for the friendship and values we share together. It makes life really rich and meaningful.
November 22, 2015
The Communicative Performer
A communicative performer starts out with having something to say. What is said must be “owned” by the performer to the degree that the audience feels as if the music was composed and is spontaneous. Authentic to me means fully embraced and starting from a place of authentic “self”. We are all products of our influences: our experiences, teachers, parents and other relationships. Testing out ideas against any prejudice of a teacher’s ideas must happen in order to fully communicate to our audience and colleagues (if in an ensemble).
We must be in “flow” to communicate well. The synthesis of mind, body, emotions and spirit is flow. The match to light flow is inspiration. This comes from a place of passion and the need to show our audience what we see and feel.
Being open and reading our audience is also critical. Our body language and demeanour are part of making connection. We must use intuition to make the connection. Intuition is that subconscious intelligence which unites all of our being; all of our experiences as well as our present and our glance to the future.
I have found that communicating on a verbal level with an audience helps immensely. Not the typical “old-fashioned” lecture-recital, but imagery, history and story-telling. This must not be academic but real and personal reflections. I have often had audience members remark that this “set-up” or “after-thought” helped them find a “way into” or “reflection” of the music. This is especially important with longer works where attention spans are challenging for the uninitiated.
There is a kind of psychic or symbiotic relationship that occurs where the performer feels the audience on the edge of their seats and can direct them. This is a sign that all has been achieved.
My last thought on this subject is that we must communicate from a place of love. Many of us can recall an experience of listening to a work performed without love. It can be a good performance. Everyone will know and feel that something is missing. The ingredient of love shifts the “good” to “sublime” or “ecstatic”.
Some of being a communicative performer can be taught. The rest is a point of arrival for giving rather than receiving. It comes after we evolve as people to the point where we are past our narcissistic egoism. At this point, there is no more divide and conquer, but feelings of love and delight in sharing a moment of creativity with friends.