Don’t Tell Me You’re Not Doing This for an Audience

"Happy Fan," © 2008 Regina Folk Festival, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

“Happy Fan,” © 2008 Regina Folk Festival, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

Because if that were true, you’d do it at home or in a closed studio.

Dan Visconti, whom I’ve never met, has written a piece that, if I were an expert in classical music, I might have written. It’s called “The Audience Is the Most Important Instrument,” and you should read the whole thing.

I don’t even want to add much to it, except to say that there’s a term I use that matches the sentiment Dan expresses: audience-oriented. Everyone in the business of live entertainment and arts should be audience-oriented. I hate the word “pandering” because it implies that the person who refuses to “pander” could, if he or she just chose to, churn out some crap that everybody loved.

This is called contempt for your audience, and here’s a news flash, they sense that contempt. It doesn’t make them want to listen to you, support you or have a scintilla of interest in you.

It’s also not true. Just try it sometime. Pander away, and see what happens. My prediction: crickets.

If you don’t care about the audience, don’t foist your performances or your compositions on people, and don’t have the gall to charge money for them.

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