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  • › Audiences are strange creatures

    22/Feb/2020

    Chris Rowbury writes about his experience with various audiences in the Natural Voice Network February 2020.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously affected by the way that an audience responds. The worst is when performing for free outdoors. People have the option to listen or just walk on by. It only takes one person to leave in the middle of a song, and I start to think that nobody likes me.
    I’ve been a performer of one sort or another for nearly 40 years, and it still bothers me. There I am up on stage trying my hardest and enjoying myself, but I only have to catch the eye of a seemingly disinterested or bored-looking audience member and all the doubts start creeping in.
    As a choir leader I have my back to the audience most of the time, but I do try to get them on my side with a bit of banter between songs and it sometimes feels like I’m a stand-up comic who’s dying. Usually, of course, it is our own internal critics talking and the audience are actually having a great time.
    Audiences are strange creatures. Many’s the time when I’ve performed to an unresponsive audience, only to be told afterwards that it’ the best gig they’ve ever been to. At other times, the audience seem to be having a ball, yet nobody makes a single comment at the end. Go figure!

    • So remember:
    • you can’t please all the people all the time – some audiences won’t like what you do
    • it’s not always your fault – it can be too hot, too late, too loud, too close to supper
    • things aren’t always as they appear – just because someone looks a bit glum, doesn’t mean they’re not enjoying themselves
    • people show their pleasure in different ways – some people shut their eyes, some frown in concentration, some come up to you afterwards and congratulate you, some will email you the next day, some will clap loudly, but only at the very end of the concert
    • the most important thing is to have faith in your preparation and enjoy the singing – that joy and confidence will carry across to your audience

    Chris Rowbury, chris@chrisrowbury.com