Years ago we made a video about Extraneous Movements During a Musical Performance – discussing how some musicians make extreme movements and gyrations during performances and how it can be distracting for the audience, but not necessarily something the performer can control.
Today we are going to discuss noises that musicians make while performing music. This is a surprisingly more common problem than you may think and can actually negatively affect many aspects of live performances and even studio recordings.
What types of noises are we talking about? Sometimes it can be vocal noises. Other times I’ve seen musicians kicking their legs and stamping on the piano pedals without regard for how much extraneous noise it’s causing to their performance.
Involuntary noises are not that uncommon when musicians perform. But there are some cases when it becomes a distraction. Some great performers such as Rudolf Serkin and Glenn Gould made an incredible amount of noise during their performances; so much so that it caused issues during recording sessions.
So, how do these sounds happen in the first place, and is there any way to stop them? In some cases people just get used to “singing” along with what they are playing – although it certainly doesn’t sound like singing when they are doing it. Sometimes it can become a deeply ingrained habit that’s incredible difficult to break. Other times emotion might take control of the musician and they find themselves making exaggerated motions that cause noise. When they are on the level of someone like Glenn Gould it can be forgiven even though it’s not ideal. If you find yourself doing this during your practice you must make a concerted effort to stop or else it can become something beyond your control; it can become a permanent part of your performances.
In a large concert hall these things might not be much of an issue – it would be very difficult to hear any involuntary “singing” over the sound of the instruments and stamping of the feet or other motions that cause noise may not be noticed either. When it comes to performing in more intimate settings however, this can become a huge problem. Pay very close attention to some recordings and you might even notice a few “grunts” or other sounds coming from the artists that seep into the recording.
I remember many years ago I attended a solo piano concert with my father (for a pianist who will remain nameless) and there was so much sound from his vocalizations and foot stamping, that I remarked that the concert was more like a song and dance routine than a piano recital! As a child, it took great effort to stop myself from laughing! It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that no teacher ever stopped him as a child from developing these distracting habits.
If you find yourself doing this please make a concerted effort to reign it in and control yourself. If you have students who do this, call it to their attention whenever it happens so they stop making sounds that distract from the music. It might seem like a small problem, but it could potentially develop into something beyond your control and create a lot of distractions from the music.
I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions about this topic or any other, please email me Robert@LivingPianos.com for more information.
Years ago we made a video about Extraneous Movements During a Musical Performance – discussing how some musicians make extreme movements and gyrations during performances and how it can be distracting for the audience, but not necessarily something the performer can control. Today we are going to discuss noises that musicians make while performing music. This is a … Continue reading Performer Noise During a Musical PerformanceRead More