Wow - I'm completely spoiled by the quality of the average TED video, but this one is a MUST WATCH for anyone in the performing arts community. Times they are a changin'! And Ben Cameron absolutely nails it, and asks all the right questions.
Years ago I had a hot debate with a fellow performer. We had both noticed that in some performances, the performers were able to create strong emotions in the audience. Sometimes, under the right circumstances, the appearance of sadness in the performer would make the audience cry. The performer's joy could make the audience joyful. He was trying to convince me it was magic, as in "could not be explained by science." That rubbed me the wrong way, so I argued that it had to be something to do with what the performer actually did, and what images and sounds made their way from the performer to the eyes and ears of the people watching. But the actual mechanism remained a mystery.
However, I've been coaching quartets a lot and I continue to be amazed at how effective it is to coach through the vehicle of story. I don't choose that vehicle with every group, but if they have a baseline level of skill and they have been working at their craft for long enough to acquire some bad habits, I always start with story - not for any philosophical reason, not because I have a point to prove (although I do), but because in my experience it's the most efficient and pragmatic way to get a singing group to the next level.
Ran across this neat article about what yawning does for you, and how it might help a performer. Thought it was cool because years ago I developed the habit of yawning before going on stage. I knew it was some kind of coping mechanism, but I didn't really understand how it worked. Enjoy!
Ran across this amazing TED video that shows video clips of several orchestral conductors, each with their own style. Fascinating stuff! Every choral conductor should watch this and absorb it, because more than hand-waving skills or musicality, sorting out the relationship between director and chorus is the hardest nut to crack when you're shooting for the best music you can make. The techniques can be learned, but unless you have the right philosophy and understand how to empower your singers, you will always plateau at a lower level than you desire.
Take a look:
If you're a director, which one are you most like? If you're a singer, send this video to your director!
If you've been around the performing arts for a while (or just around performing artists for that matter), you have no doubt been exposed to the idea that visualization is good. Visualizing a positive outcome on stage can help make it come true! That might seem like magic, but it isn't. And it works!
So why does it work? Well your brain is complicated. It has many pieces that evolved at different times, so some of the primitive parts in the middle, for example, we share with animals that don't converge with the human species unless you reach back hundreds of millions of years. The "amygdala" for example, we share in common with lizards. The cerebral coretex on the other hand is relatively new, and we humans have more of it than any other animal.
Had some great conversations last week at Harmony University about how adoption a story-centric performance philosophy would change rehearsals. Some surprising conclusions! Read on.