Sunday, December 5, 2010

Subconscious vs. Conscious Performance and Composition

I have always noticed when I have a performance, if I am completely focused, or "with it" so to speak in my head during the performance, the performance itself to the audience, isn't necessarily the best (!).

On the other hand, when I am slightly distracted because of the nervousness or other reasons, and not necessarily "with it" every single minute of the performance, the outcome to the audience seems better.

In the first scenario, I am personally very satisfied that I was "with it" perfectly and did everything I was supposed to do.  I assume the audience felt the same and were happy.  In the second scenario, often I'm a little disappointed with my own lack of concentration and not sure of the outcome, and assume that audience was able to tell my unfocussed-ness.

It isn't so.   I have found time and again, audience's responses are opposite to my own perception, at least to a certain degree.  It seems that when I am too "with it" there is some kind of area, a subconscious area of performance that isn't there.   I'm too close to the performance, and my focus and concentration, in fact limit subconscious freedom to take wing. On the other hand, even if I'm a bit space-out or unfocused or lose concentration (*if* I am technically well prepared) it seems to give that subconscious level of freedom in performance that audience appreciate.  It is very difficult to explain but I don't know how else to describe it.

Now, I'm wondering.  Is there a parallel to this in composition?   Improvisation, yes I believe.  But a written composition, planned and laid out, is there a room for composer to be working on the subconscious level, and if so, how would the listener respond?

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