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Performing arts

Performing arts

Maybe it's Voice X Has Got Talent-type talent shows which have done the damage or maybe it's Tik Toxic and the like, but we seem to have reached a point where it's commonly believed you can leap directly from singing into your hair brush in front of the mirror to cavorting before multitudes in stadiums via a couple of quick open mics down at your local

Peter Edgerton / www.peteredgerton.com

Monday, 14 August 2023, 11:29

Opciones para compartir

Every Friday evening we have an open mic night down at The Shakespeare. As is only to be expected, the standard of performances can vary wildly - indeed on many occasions we tread the well-worn path from the sublime to the ridiculous. Still, on the whole, a good time is, I think, had by all.

From time to time, a young person will approach me and ask for my opinion on how they did because "one day I'd like to be a professional performer". It often goes a bit like this.

"Hi - I'd like to do this for a living. What would I need to do?"

"Well not be asking me about it right now, for a start."

"Why? Are you really that bad at it?"

"Well, now you mention it, I'm sure there are more than a few people who think so but that's not really the point - the point is you should be watching the other performers."

"But this one's not very good."

"Precisely. Take note of all the things you think he's doing wrong and do exactly the opposite next time you sing."

Maybe it's Voice X Has Got Talent-type talent shows which have done the damage or maybe it's Tik Toxic and the like, but we seem to have reached a point where it's commonly believed you can leap directly from singing into your hair brush in front of the bedroom mirror to cavorting before multitudes in stadiums via a couple of quick open mics down at your local. It really doesn't work like that. Generally speaking, you have to learn your chops in the time-honoured fashion and this, in itself, is a double-barrelled mission.

On the one hand, you have to practise and practise until, eventually, you keel over in a fit of delirium. Then, when you've eventually been released from hospital, you need to go to watch endless performances by loads of other people, taking a mental note of what you think they do well/badly and then swiftly applying your observations to your own open mic spots. This formula will, as a rule, bump you up to a fairly good standard, presuming you're working with the basic tools - a half-decent voice, a good ear and a house-trained ego. After that, it's all a bit of a lottery, frankly. Unless you're blessed with genius, of course, which hardly anybody is - that's why it's called genius.

For what it's worth, then, here are my top three dos and don'ts for a one-man musical performance.

Do: tune up immediately before stepping onto the stage, briefly and politely greet your audience and thank them for coming, begin and end the show with a simple, powerful song.

Don't: play long intros/solos, read lyrics from a music stand/tablet, keel over in a fit of delirium.

Good luck.

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