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Author Topic: Performance Skills  (Read 2958 times)

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arty

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2017, 09:42:39 AM »

That makes sense Squeezy, as Yann-Fanch Perroches says- " make sure you keep the rhythm going while you make your mistake and the chances are, no one will notice"!
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James Fitton

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2017, 10:00:18 AM »

I saw two street theatre performers at a recent festival, with, on the face of it, similar juggling-based acts. Performer B was much more technically proficient than performer A, whose juggling was average at best (I can't juggle to save my life, I should stress....) But performer A drew the much bigger crowd, got a much better audience response, bigger laughs and applause, and I suspect had much more in the hat at the end. Performer A was simply miles better at working the crowd, interacting with us, making this a real "live" performance, not simply a demonstration of technical skill. It was all a very useful reminder that the contribution of personality and warmth is often a great deal more important than the contribution of other skills....
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arty

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2017, 10:00:28 AM »

Some years ago, I worked with a young woman who aimed to become a concert pianist. She came to our house often, to practice on my wife's piano and it was interesting to see how she went about it. She rarely played a piece the whole way through, rather, she took difficult passages from it and worked on them, slowly at first and then gradually increasing the tempo to the correct speed. She did this for hours. In fact, I only heard her play complete pieces on one occasion, when she gave a 'mini concert' for all our invited neighbours.
Another thing she did, which I found very interesting....When she had to learn a piece by heart, she would do so, not at the piano but in an armchair with a cup of coffee. She said she learnt it as you would learn a poem, just by reading it over and over again, sometimes humming it and sometimes playing it with her fingers on the arms of the chair.
Then she left and went back home to Serbia and we haven't heard from her since. But I fully expect to see her on TV one day. She is extremely talented.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2017, 10:55:33 AM »

two excellent bits of advice here
Squeezy: 'practice makes permanent', keep going don't stop and repeat.
I need to do this more often and maintain the rhythm. I do notice as I learn a tune I sometimes stop at the same place before a tricky bit.
I need to keep going.....

Arty: sitting down without the instrument.
I've done this with a tune, just humming it through, looking at the dots and realise it really helps to get the emphasis right on those tricky bits we all encounter ..... I shall do it more often!
Thanks both, good tips!
cheers
Q

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I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Edward Jennings

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2017, 11:00:04 AM »

Yes, thanks John, free's good. But the next time you're up our way, maybe you'll let me know, and I'll buy you a cuppa!
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Edward
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Rees

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2017, 11:19:03 AM »

I often practice a new tune in bed, gently dozing off while my fingers play the tune on the pillow.
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Steve C

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2017, 12:28:28 PM »

I saw two street theatre performers at a recent festival, with, on the face of it, similar juggling-based acts. Performer B was much more technically proficient than performer A, whose juggling was average at best (I can't juggle to save my life, I should stress....) But performer A drew the much bigger crowd, got a much better audience response, bigger laughs and applause,
I have often thought exactly the same thing watching the buskers here in Bath. I try to compensate for lack of skill with the injection of exuberance and this is something that develops with performance time. Slowly emphasizing your own playing quirks over time and looking happy, Oh I'm now saying the same thing as Rees "It's entertainment".
Steve 
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george garside

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2017, 04:31:22 PM »

it can also help to look as if you know what you are doing  - even when you don't on the ancient principle of ''bullshit baffles brains''!

george ;)
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Theo

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2017, 04:55:15 PM »

it can also help to look as if you know what you are doing  - even when you don't

So just like life really. ;)
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playandteach

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2017, 05:29:03 PM »

She rarely played a piece the whole way through, rather, she took difficult passages from it and worked on them, slowly at first and then gradually increasing the tempo to the correct speed. She did this for hours. In fact, I only heard her play complete pieces on one occasion, when she gave a 'mini concert' for all our invited neighbours.
That's a way of using pieces to tackle technique, and is crucial - although others have highlighted that you do eventually need to put it back in context.
  But I fully expect to see her on TV one day. She is extremely talented.
I find those two sentences rarely go together. Much better to see her play live.
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Julian S

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2017, 05:33:37 PM »

There is a fine line between playing a tune wrong and simply creating a new version. The 'folk' tradition after all...
However, someone I used to occasionally play in a band with, many years ago, pointed out that I was playing a wrong note in a tune. I replied - it's the way I play it...the response was something along the lines of 'well - it's not as how I composed it '
Thats me told !
As well as playing wrong notes, my other problem is speed control. For me, much easier when there are dancers to play for, but it's always been a struggle.

J
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george garside

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2017, 08:02:51 PM »

I have over the years trained by foot to act as a reasonably accurate metronome to facilitate keeping at  a steady speed  whatever I am playing

george
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playandteach

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2017, 11:26:48 PM »

George this almost certainly doesn't apply to you but I  have found that people who use their foot as a metronome generally play perfectly in time... with their foot.

I should add that I don't play well in time on the melodeon but I hope that's because I'm not technically secure.I pplay best in time on the instruments I play best. It seems to be an early casualty.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 11:30:13 PM by playandteach »
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2017, 09:32:44 AM »

After a conversation with Squeezy in the showers at Sidmouth (!), I have decided to make a stomp box (as used by Spiers and Boden) for use in keeping people to the same tempo in my Well Known Tunes at a Steady Pace sessions. This should ensure that everybody plays at the wrong speed!  :o
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george garside

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #34 on: September 13, 2017, 10:56:26 AM »

indeed!  I once tried in a workshop to get everybody keeping time(ish) with foot down for bass note and foot up for chord and in synch with my foot which all could see ( sat in semicircle)  It didn't work  - some were footing up when they should have been footing down and vice versa- some were doing two ups to one down  and some were just waving the foot around randomly and unrelated to what we were ?playing!


I gave up on that idea

george
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Rees

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #35 on: September 13, 2017, 01:31:35 PM »

I used to play with a percussionist who followed my foot rather than my melodeon - he was way out of time!
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #36 on: September 13, 2017, 02:31:40 PM »

After a conversation with Squeezy in the showers at Sidmouth (!), I have decided to make a stomp box (as used by Spiers and Boden) for use in keeping people to the same tempo in my Well Known Tunes at a Steady Pace sessions. This should ensure that everybody plays at the wrong speed!  :o

Did he say where the design could be found?

I suspect that this would take practice to play well. I read something  Eliza C posted, pointing out that Jon worked pretty hard at making it sound good.
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Andy Next Tune

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2017, 03:52:58 PM »

I explored stomp boxes a while ago for possible ceilidh band use. Google 'stomp box diy' and you'll find lots of different ideas. Alternatively ebay usually has some for sale from £20 upwards - don't get confused with guitar stomp boxes which are usually effects boxes.

Most however are really designed for someone playing sitting down, i.e. mainly toe tapping to make the sound rather than playing standing up and using heel or whole foot stomps. Most use piezo mic modules.

I seem to recall reading (S&B forum?) the Jon Boden set up was a custom build based around a large piece of wood raised off the floor, which he stood and stomped/danced on, and some effective placement and use of mics.

The challenge is once you start using it in a dance set,  you really need to keep it going despite what your leg muscles are telling you. If you are already a clog, tap or step dancer then you've definitely got a head start in terms of both rhythm and stamina.
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squeezy

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #38 on: September 13, 2017, 05:09:30 PM »

The DIY one can be made from the contents of a B&Q quite cheaply.  A decent square of 12mm hardwood ply nailed to 4 bits of 2 by 2 give enough floor clearance to put a mic and create a boomy sound acoustically too (leave small gaps for the sound to escape and for mic leads to run through.  If you place felt or foam between them before nailing then it eliminates most creaking and clacking.

The expensive bit is the microphone when amplifying it - they're not all equal.  We've always used Audio Technica ATM87R boundary mics and they're fantastic ... but they don't make them any more ... doh!  A good boundary mic with a nice low end frequency response will do a good job.  At a pinch you can use any mic - even a Sure SM57 vocal mic will give a half-decent sound.

And yes ... it does really start to teach you about leg muscles you didn't know you had halfway through a really dancy set!  But you can swap foot.
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Huw Adamson

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #39 on: September 13, 2017, 06:18:21 PM »

In this age of carefully constructed and recordings and sound mixing on CDs, the mistakes can, in a weird way, almost become the best part of the performance, being the most unique.
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