Monday, January 11, 2016

These people won't listen to me......

I hear all the time, musicians upset because the audience is not listening to them.

Now, I like to be heard as much as the next person..... but I also think that this is a two way street.

If I am playing a house concert, or a hall, and people have paid to come in and LISTEN, that is what I expect. I expect them to sit and be quiet and listen. In that situation, it is rude to your fellow audience members as well as to the artist to have your phone go off, to talk to your neighbor, to act in a manner that means people will be looking and thinking about YOU instead of the artist. VERY rude.

But musicians have to consider the room. If I am playing in a bar or at a party or at the farmers market, MY JOB is to be the background noise that sets the mood, keeps people having a good time and if I turn out to be an act that draws folks attention, FANTASTIC for me.

However, in that situation, it CLEARLY rests on me to draw the listeners to me. Getting upset, throwing a tantrum because 'They are not listening to me', or letting it bring you down is not helpful. The audience is in the space to socialize or shop, and I am in ADDITION to that. Not the highlight, and I have to adjust to that. *I* have to be that much more entertaining to get people to listen, if that is what I want..... but if no one does, I have to UNDERSTAND, listening is NOT what the CUSTOMERS are here to do.

In other words, the audience is not obligated to pay attention to me. In that situation, it is my job to be so good that some will pay attention, usually for a short time, until they return to what they DID come for..... Socialization, Shopping, Learning, etc....

So, if you find yourself angry at your audience, look first to yourself. Are you compelling enough to draw attention? Is this a situation where you *should* expect that people quietly attend to you? As an artist, I like to think first that I am gifting the audience with my MUSIC, and, since it is a gift, the recipient can do with it what they choose..... as the environment dictates.

So calm down. Do your best. Leave you anger for the house concert or hall or other listening room. Don't think you are going to get a loud bar to listen (but if you do, GREAT!!! you must be very compelling....) Relax....