Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How You Know If Your Performance Works

                               Fred Knoblock performing at JAM Pro Round, pic by Thom King

There's lots of us critics critiquing artists' performances these days. From American Idol and other talent show judges and audiences, choir directors, school teachers, industry insiders, family and friends, TV talking heads, radio DJ's, bloggers, mag news reporters and other media mavens as well as the random man/woman-on-the-street, there is no lack of opinion out there. So many opinions... sometimes diametrically opposed! Just think of the love/hate differences of opinion on a performing artist like Taylor Swift for goodness sake!

So how do you know if your performance works?

The answer is: If it gets you a favorable response from YOUR audience. Period.

Whether it's a recorded vocal or live performance, the best goal you can reach for is to do it in such a way as to reach the heart of your specific audience. You have to define that audience in order to achieve this. It could be...
  • The live audience observing your onstage performance
  • The internet audience by whom you're seeking to be found
  • The booking agent in the audience who YOU want to book you for his/her venue because you feel their venues' audience would be into who you are as an artist
  • The label rep in the audience who YOU want to sign you because they market to the audience who would be into who you are as an artist
  • The listeners to the specific type of radio show on which YOU want to be played because they reach the audience who would be into who you are as an artist.
It is totally counterproductive to try and get a favorable response from those who are NOT into who you are as an artist. Don't try to please...
  • the crowd that is not into who you are as an artist. (What does Taylor Swift care that diva lovers don't have a favorable response to her performances? What does Andrea Bocelli care that classical critics think he isn't legit enough? What does Bob Dylan care that... well, you get the picture:)
  • industry insiders who want to change the essence of your artistry. That doesn't mean you can't work towards a more commercial application of your work, but if your insides churn and wave the red flag, disregard their 'wisdom' and commit to your own calling.
  • a drunk audience or frantically worked up crowd. They might love or hate anything... but they won't remember you in the morning!
  • talent show judges. Make them feel something just as if they were your ideal audience... but don't try to please them because they are looking for magic that people-pleasing won't bring... or they have already chosen the winner anyway!
  • your producer, engineer or anyone in the recording control room to whom your lyric is not directed.
Your thoughts on the matter? Please hit the comment link...

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  • At September 15, 2011 at 4:07 PM , Anonymous Gideon Grove said...

    I think first and foremost, the singer has to feel the songs. Second, the songs have to be felt by the audience. I believe if the first is true, the second definitely is felt. Good melody, lyrics and performance all tie into grabbing somebody's attention and keeping them a fan. Gideon Grove

  • At September 16, 2011 at 4:27 PM , Blogger kylebrooksmusic said...

    You Rock, Judy!
    This is a great article. I posted it on my Facebook page and gave you big kudos.
    Sometimes I go out and hear what's going on with other artists/writers and think I'm behind and had better got going. I'm sure that's a natural response. I also realize there is noone on this planet that can write my songs and sing them like I can! We all need to write and sing (if you're a singer) our songs, do the footwork.
    I got some really great advise from someone before I moved here:
    GO WHERE YOU'RE WANTED! Make it your mission to identify your niche and that audience. They are looking for you!!!
    Consider yourself hugged, Judy!
    Kyle Samuel Brooks

  • At September 16, 2011 at 10:50 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Gideon... thank you so much for your comment. I bet you are a great performer yourself.

    Kyle... thank you for the recommend! I do feel hugged:) And I love that thought 'Go where you're wanted'... Amen!!

  • At September 16, 2011 at 10:54 PM , Anonymous Lyndel Lucas said...

    if half of the people who listen to your set like it man that's a lot of people ,, you can please some of the people some of the time but you will never please everyone ..

  • At October 24, 2011 at 7:59 PM , Blogger Bradley Olson said...

    Also, here's a quote that everyone should remember. You can't please everyone so you got to please yourself as Rick Nelson sang in Garden Party. This is true in all aspects of life as well, not just in performance.

  • At October 26, 2011 at 1:15 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Bradley.. succinctly put and an absolute word to the wise. Pleasing everyone makes you an artistic vanilla wafer... something 'nice', but not an emotionally compelling art piece to be purchased or long remembered by those who love your work.


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