Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Lighting It Up
What distinguishes an audition winner from the other competitors? What impresses? What is memorable? Our goal is certainly not that dreaded response, "Yawn . . . thank you".
Each excerpt needs to be lit up. That could mean a little more volume, a little more effort to play softly, a little more attention to intonation, a little smoother, a little crisper, a little more energy, and a lot more attention to rhythm. Giving only 80% on any of these ingredients will make the cake taste bland. And no one will be asking for seconds.
Whatever message is demanded by the composer must be obvious to the listeners. Playing it safe at the audition might work if no one else does any differently. Attention-grabbing happens when one takes a chance and goes for everything on the printed page and then some.
Caution: Lightning bolts can be dangerous. Out-of-control exuberance will draw the same annoyed response, "thank you, next". First, we want all notes to be secure with a good sound. Then the fun begins. Exaggeration is needed for an outstanding performance. Do all your grunt work, but don't forget to light it up!