“As you perform, radiate the character of a composition.”
–The Musician’s Way, p. 189
I’ve attended thousands of classical concerts, and despite my love of the music, I have to admit that fewer than 10% of those concerts were wholly or mostly enjoyable.
Typically, the programs, presentation or playing were just plain dull.
By “dull,” I mean:
- The repertoire is conventional and/or the programs lack curatorial vision.
- The performers display minimal engagement with listeners.
- The music-making underwhelms with predictability and missed interpretive opportunities.
In response to the drabness, I offer the following tips to help rising artists create vibrant concert experiences.
Links point to other posts on this blog.
5 Steps to Better Classical Concerts
1. Program Insightfully
Take time to understand your target audiences, and then create high-quality concert programs that will attract and inspire them. In tandem, choose music that’s authentic to your taste and suits your technical abilities. See: 3 Traits of Successful Concert Programs.
2. Communicate Genuinely
Through your program titles, press releases, body language, and written or spoken program notes, add to your program’s appeal. When you speak – whether from the stage or in interviews – deliver perceptive words that enhance the emotional power of the music you’ll perform. See: Speaking from the Stage & How Not to Talk to Audiences.
From the moment you step on stage, emanate the specialness of the moment – show listeners that there’s nowhere else you’d rather be. Then, bring out the dramatic content of every phrase, drawing listeners to the edge of their seats. See: The Essence of Stage Presence & When Every Note Vibrates with Life.
4. Assess Honestly
Seek feedback before and after your performances. You might ask mentors to appraise your programming ideas, try out your interpretations on peers, and devise audience surveys. Also use a Performance Evaluation Tool to identify self-improvement goals.
5. Appear Widely
Perform for club, youth, elderly and disadvantaged audiences as well as for concertgoers. In that way, you learn to present engaging concerts for all sorts of people, contribute to communities, and fuel the demand for your performances.