Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Having Fun Unamplified

The Kenwood Players have recently done three performances that were well received, the latest being the fund raiser for Celebrate Orange. Not using amplification seems to let the audience enjoy themselves more than they would if they were having to talk over the amplified sound. We can play and sing loudly enough to be clearly heard while the audience can visit comfortably with one another. By not blasting the audience with amplified sound, we seem to be encouraging more actively engaged listening.

The other thing is the having fun part. I've always moved with the music when playing the guitar and banjo. It makes performing more fun for me, and it also was the way I "conducted" the music in my music therapy sessions. After Dixie performances I always get people saying how they get a kick out of watching me have fun making music. With the Kenwood Players I think there's more of that because we're in the Preservation Hall mode of improvising our way along, which is a really fun thing to do, but also is another way for attentive audience members to see how we're having fun trying different ways of playing the songs.

Recorded music changed performed music in lots of ways having to do with setting high expectations and the putting the focus on creating "definitive" interpretations of music. What a live performance can do better than recorded music is to transmit to the audience - through sound, gesture, attitude and general behavior - the fun and fellowship we're having making the music, which adds a therapeutic dimension to live music.

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