Hybrid Arts Flutist



Posted on March 11, 2012 at 3:20 PM

If you have not read my thoughts on the musician’s costume and how it pertains to performance, please read Part 1 first.

Let’s say your audience hasn’t seen you out and about in your tux or fancy black. When does the performance start, then?

For you, the performance begins the moment you step on stage after the house doors have opened. Once your audience arrives in the hall and you are also present in the space, they are now seeing you as a performer. They are here to see YOU. So yes, my friend… you are now performing. Perhaps your instrument is not to your face or on your shoulder, but you are on stage and they are watching you.

So, why does this matter?

Simply put, there are many things that we “just do” while preparing for the performance that we don’t think about. We don’t consider the fact that it might look unprofessional from the audience’s perspective.

Ok, like what?


1. Being out of “costume” – Like I said, once you are onstage, you are performing so if you’re wandering around the stage, getting your instrument out while wearing jeans and a t-shirt, it looks unprofessional. It’s easy enough to get dressed at home, in the hall’s bathroom or in the dressing room. If you have to move equipment and would rather not get your tux messed up (ex: setting up percussion), arrive prior to the hall being opened and set up then.

2. Taking care of business – I’ve seen several personnel managers (bless their hearts) passing out checks while there are people sitting in the audience. As efficient as this may be, it’s not appropriate to pass out checks in front of the audience. That’s the equivalent of showing your date the check prior to you paying for it – the audience feels guilty and awkward because they’ve just been made profoundly aware that we are doing this for money (I will address this in a future post).

3. Language and Conversations – for the love of God… don’t swear while on stage. Sometimes there are microphones hanging from the ceiling and they will pick up your language. And onstage prior to the performance is not the appropriate time to talk about how little you want to be there. As I said in Part 1, save the whining for later and not in front of the audience.

These simple rules seem obvious when spelled out, don’t they? The basic rule is: be aware of what you are doing and how you are acting while performing. Always behave as if you are in the spotlight, because most likely… there is someone watching you.

Stayed tuned for next week’s entry, TACET, where I discuss the art of not playing.

Categories: Stage Presence, Etiquette, Aware

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