live

Every music student will eventually face one of the most exciting and scary moments…the live performance.

As teachers, it’s important to prepare students to be ready when it comes to playing in front of an audience. There are a few things you will need to address.

First of all, it’s important to know that the focus here is going to be about music students in general, which could lead to all sorts of genres of music.

Everyone is different

Remember that every student is different.  Some students may have a harder time performing in front of people than others.

While as teacher you should give the same attention to every student, it’s important to ??

Stage Fright

This is the main hurdle for some musicians when playing for the first few times, however the worst aspect about stage fright is actually before actual performance.

For many musicians, stage fright, nerves or butterflies in the stomach go away the second they begin their performance.

For some it may be a bit more of a problem as it gets in the way of the actual performance with a cloud of doubt and insecurity.

This is normal and the best tip out there is to get used to it, like many things in life, being out of the comfort zone is not an easy thing. It’s scary at first but it’s also easy to overcome those fears with time.

You have to remind your students to not worry during the pre show routines, the most important thing before a live performance is to be focused and prepared, because this will carry your students throughout their stage fright when the time comes.

Live Behaviour and Mistakes

A musician’s focus is of course the music, but it is a show, and you need to let your students know that the show must go on, always.

As musicians get more comfortable in their “live performer selves” they will develop a stronger presence, but the most important thing for beginners and music students is to deal with mistakes in an elegant way.

It’s almost impossible to avoid mistakes, and you need to remind them of that hard fact.

What can be avoided is a poor way to handle those mistakes, which is to stop playing or making funny faces to indicate they made that mistake.

This is one of the most common mistakes young music students make, and the best way to overcome this, is to practice.

It should be clear however that there are two ways of practicing, general rehearsal and practicing specific parts of a musical piece.

When practicing a specific part, stopping is necessary, going back and doing it again, listen closely and fix every little mistake as much as possible.

But when rehearsing, the idea is to play or sing as if you were live.

What this does is that you get used to following the general structure of the music no matter what, making every mistake a tiny bump on the road instead of a stone wall.

Live Supervision and Support

For the younger students, it’s always good to let them know you will be there, not just as adult supervision but support.

If your students see a figure with whom they feel comfortable, their eyes will turn to them and it will no doubt give them confidence.

On the other hand, it’s always good to supervise and keep things under control if there are any unwanted surprises or negative behaviours.

A Few More Tips

Live

For pianists, it’s a good idea to have them practice the entire sequence from coming up to the piano bench to finishing the piece and bowing.

If you test them by placing the bench incorrectly on purpose and let them adjust it the right way, they will be better prepared for small situations like that.

In order to overcome their nerves, it’s a great idea to have them play in front of people, maybe start small, playing in front of their family, then small groups of friends.

This will help them get used to being heard and seen, while maybe also have a bit of feedback on where they lose strength throughout the performance which can be very helpful and important in their career as musicians.

Performances in the Calendar

Having a music organization software program like Music Teacher’s Helper can help you organize all of your performances. You are able to keep a calendar and add which students will be attending that particular event. You can also keep track of cover charges in the event as well! Come try us out for free for 30 days by clicking the Sign Up button at the top of the page!

 

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One of the biggest worries that came with covid 19 was that live concerts were affected in a way that most of the live performances had to be cancelled, leaving people uncertain about future shows, festivals and many other music events. However, as the world slowly recovers from the initial blow of the virus, several special measures are being taken in order to resume shows as soon as possible.

Virgin Money Unity Arena

A good example of this was a festival in the UK that took place on august 11, in Gosforth Park, Newcastle.

According to CNN:

A new UK pop-up venue, the Virgin Money Unity Arena, is testing this out. Some 2,500 fans gathered at the outdoor venue Tuesday forwhat organizers described as the UK’s first socially distanced concert.

Helen Page, group brand and marketing director said:

We are delighted to play a part in bringing back live music events as we start to emerge from lockdown.

This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans.

Will it may not be “the future of live shows” this is a step in the right direction, as the world can’t wait that long to return to the usual events.

This also means that there is hope, and it’s not that far away, while it’s probably not going to be a permanent measure, people have been very worried and sad about so many cancellations all over the world, but as time keeps passing by.

The festival turned out great, with around 2500 people enjoying music without any issues.

Classicfm.com also shared some information about how the UK government was going to handle live performances in the near future following the outbreak.

An article states that there were going to be five stages:

• Stage One: Rehearsal and training (no audiences)
• Stage Two: Performances for broadcast and recording purposes
• Stage Three: Performances outdoors with an audience and pilots for indoor performances with a limited socially-distanced audience
• Stage Four: Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)
• Stage Five: Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

As of 15 August, we are at Stage Four of the roadmap, with indoor performances allowed to return with limited audiences in England (check guidance for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in case there’s variation).

Düsseldorf’s Arena

In Germany, a concert at the Düsseldorf’s arena is going to take place on September 4, adopting a smaller scale model and of course taking the necessary meassures to stay safe lik strict social distancing and hygiene rules.

While some people believe that it’s too soon and it’s not a good idea, the music industry lives thanks to live performances and events, that’s why ever since the whole Covid 19 pandemic began, the music industry has been one of the arts that has taken the biggest blows, and recovering also means recovering soon.

According to Marek Lieberberg, these events are necessary in order for the industry to survive, and that the necessary precautions are being taken so there should be no problems.

Without major events, Lieberberg fears the industry may not survive. He hasn’t seen a government plan to gradually make major events possible again. Cologne’s Lanxess-Arena has started with smaller concerts of up to 2,400 concertgoers. For Lieberberg, this is not an option, not in the least for financial reasons. “We can’t organize a concert designed for 10,000 people for 1,000. We have certain sales capacities for these events” he said.

dw.com

Music can give people hope, if everyone manages to do things with enough precautions, music could take back the stage sooner rather than later.

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There is nothing like a live performance, while making records and streaming music is usually the way that music gets to a large amount of people, there is something about it being played and heard in the moment that makes a deeper bond and greater connection with the audience.

Jack White has an interesting “rule” when it comes to playing live. Live performances usually follow a setlist, which is the order of songs to play during the show, however Jack White doesn’t follow this structure, and the reason behind it is that he believes that the crowd and the player sometimes feel a certain way and other times react differently, the way he does it is that depending on how the crowd reacts or feels, he will then react with a song.

I want the show to be alive,” he says. “And I want each show to be different so that the crowd is in control of what’s really happening onstage, whether they know it or not.

Jack White

He thinks that there is a connection that arises during shows on stage that makes musicians feel in sync even if they don’t know eachother very well.

Maybe one day, it’d be interesting to do a tour where none of the musicians are allowed to speak to each other. They only see each other onstage. That would be an interesting experiment.

Jack White

This makes the experience even more unique as the musician and the crowd interact in the same way a band reacts to improvisation.

Live Performance and Improvisation

Improvisation is also an important part of the live act, not just as a planned part of the show but also as a way of dealing with unforeseen events such as a string breaking or tumble on stage, or some sound malfunction. The idea of going prepared and with specific orders in mind can only take you so far, there is a whole other reality when everything is happening.

Of course depending on the music genre, there is a different approach to these situations, for example, Rock is a lot more malleable and free in terms of improvisation and “going with the flow” but on the other hand, a string quartet has to follow a strict pattern in which every sound and every movement needs to line up. The way a Rock band deals with a broken string could be with humor, rage and even keep playing without any concerns whatsoever, but in a string quartet, if a string were to break (which is highly unlikely) the piece could not go on. That is not to say that one live experience is better than the other, it’s just a different thing

It is important to remember that classical music once welcomed improvisation into their performances, mostly piano composers, but why isn’t it a common thing now?

The great piano composers were all fluent improvisers. Bach, Mozart, Chopin and so many others are reported to have improvised to audiences regularly. Beethoven’s improvisation duel against Daniel Steibelt, which he won to become the most lauded improviser in Vienna, proves this point whilst it also demonstrates how many virtuoso pianists of the time were skilled improvisers. So when did improvisation cease to be part of the job description for classical pianists, and why?

Phil Best

The reason is not really a strong one, in reality what happened was a combination between the separation of composer/performer and the idea from the 20th century of bringing all the music to the most faithful interpratation possible.

While there are still some pianists such as Robert Levin and Gabriela Montero, it’s not a very regular thing to happen today.

There is much to talk about when it comes to live performances, but it’s good to remember that some of the things that happen in those situations cannot be reproduced or copied, every show, every event is a one in a lifetime thing.

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