Friday, September 17, 2010

Having something to say

When you listen to either a new composition, interpretation of a new composition, traditional classical repertoire, improvisation or anything really, as an audience I listen to what is "being said".   I don't listen to particular patterns, follow pitches analytically or too carefully, but the overall impression of "something being said".

I have seen and heard performers or students with perfect technique, impeccable technical skills but who are utterly boring to listen to.   What is there to teach them?   They are clearly talented, there is nothing else to be learned technically; they have mastered it all.  They might have won competitions and even have a concert career.  But they are boring to listen to.   What does "boring" mean?  To me, it is a performance that has "nothing to say".

Some teachers express their discontentment with comments like "Have more life experience, see the world, fall in love and live your life, then you have something to say!", which, in my opinion, is utterly useless.  Even with all the experiences above, boring musicians are still boring.  I think it is really a technical skill to be more expressive and communicative.  It's a skill that one could acquire to be a more effective performer, and musician.

How could one teach someone to have "something to say"?   I am thinking Stanislawski, or the "method".  Having an emotional context and logic that the listeners could follow.  You need the technique to build that architecture of performance, build the structure, finish it, decorate it and put plants and arts inside.  For some, especially child prodigies, this skill seems to come naturally without thinking. Their world seems in tact perfectly as it is, and there is nothing to be corrected.  That is, until they grow up and start thinking.  Then everything has to be restructured.


Jane Aubourg said...

Thanks for your wonderful blog, your work is so interesting (I am a violinist myself). This post was so interesting, thanks for the mention of Stanislavski. I will be looking into that further!

Mari Kimura said...

Thank you Jane for visiting; I also saw you blog and learned you have a concert tomorrow. Best wishes to you!!!
cheers mari