Archive for September, 2011

Relationship with the audience: Who am I, lover or beloved?

Being in the flow and experiencing the love of your audience is an intense and beautiful experience that allows you to be all you can be.

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It is the best experience: You can feel the tension and intensity. People are looking at you with all their attention. You can feel how they go along. They laugh and get serious just in the right moments, as if they felt what you are feeling. They seem to like you. You are sharing an intensive experience with this group, and the energy lifts you up – it’s as if they were saying “We love you, this is great what you are doing, we are so grateful, give us more!” That’s how easy it should be, that’s how you can be best you can be.
Feeling so loved and accepted when you perform on stage can be an incredibly intense experience. This experience can be so overwhelming that for many performers, it is the reason to keep going in this career despite all odds.

Feeling so loved and accepted when you perform on stage can be an incredibly intense experience. This experience can be so overwhelming that for many performers, it is the reason to keep going in this career despite all odds.

The audition situation

Have you experienced this kind of “flow” in an audition yet? Many people have not. In fact, for many performers, a situation in which they are judged or their skills are evaluated, is a completely different if not contrary experience. The jury is not looking at you, in the best case they are neutral. They make notes or critical facial expressions or seem to not pay attention. So the performer feels rejected, disrespected or not appreciated, and so there is only one thing to do: Protect yourself. Do the best you can without caring about the audience.  Stay in your own space; try to not let them affect you.

Conditions for a great effect on the audience

Today we will not talk about the perceptive filters and how we have the tendency to perceive what we expect – so when we expect rejection, we will most likely perceive that people are not interested, negative or disrespectful.
Instead, we will look at the energy aspect of the relationship, and how you can influence it through your own intention. But first let’s make one step back and look at the context of this particular aspect.
For actually moving your audience, you need to fulfill 3 conditions:
  • You have to have a high energy on stage. Practically that means that you have to connect with what you love, and enjoy it, rather than get stuck in fears or worries or feelings of impotence or not being good enough.
  • You have to concentrate on the content of what you are projecting, actually feel the emotions, connect them with yourself, and project them into the room.
  • You have to have a positive relationship to the audience and the intention to perform for them, experience with them, enjoy with them.
In a way, your relationship with the audience is like a gateway. You produce all this light, energy, and intensity on stage, and if this gate is open (=positive), you send it out and your audience can feel it.

The relationship with the audience

The relationship with the audience (or jury) actually reflects in the emotions you have towards them, consciously or subconsciously. And different emotions have different levels of energy. Shame, worthlessness and guilt are the states with less energy, followed by apathy, sadness, fear and desire, and then by anger and pride. All of these emotions reflect negative energies and have one effect: They cut down the positive effect and intensity of what you are sending out and projecting! They make people perceive you in a more negative way, and they block you from reaching them emotionally, no matter how much you love what you are doing and how deeply you feel what you sing about.
As your relationship to the audience becomes more positive, the energy gets higher: Courage, neutrality, willingness or acceptance are the next steps up the ladder, followed by a rational and reasonable attitude and – who would have thought it – topped by love and unconditional love.
So, how can you know that your relationship with the audience is positive?
  • If you feel free to look at and be in contact with the audience without negative thoughts coming up. You don’t get feelings of needing more space or distance.
  • You want them to be there, and you enjoy performing for them.
  • You don’t worry about them.
  • You don’t have negative thoughts or judgments about them.

It’ a circle: You reap what you sow.

Your relationship with the audience is a circle. Where does it start? Where does the love or acceptance come from?

Where does the love or positivity come from?

Like in any relationship, we all just want to feel loved. Both parties start the relationship expecting a lot of positive response from the other side. And it only get’s difficult, when this positivity does not come, when the other part is neutral or even critical. Because then, we start blaming each other.
Our natural response to any kind of emotion or energy is reciprocity. When someone yells at us, we yell back. When someone attacks us, we defend ourselves or attack back. When someone complements us, we return the compliment. When someone loves us, we love them back.
With the audience it’s the same. We send out a certain energy, and they receive it and send it back.  Or looked at it the other way around: When they sit there all smiling and positive, we feel great on stage and are able to give our best. When they sit there without looking at us, writing, with a critical look, or yawning, we usually take it personal and feel rejected – and that brings up all our mechanisms for protecting ourselves. And those usually lead to withdrawal from the relationship, avoiding the audience, concentrating only on us and our experience.
So it’s a circle. We return what we get, and we get what we send out. But where’s the beginning of this circle?

“I get love (and need it!)” vs. “I am loving”

The audience loves me. (Or not?!) That’s the usual way we look at this. The performer wants to feel love and acceptance.  That’s when he or she can show their best.  And if it is not “provided”, our perception quickly tells us that “we couldn’t do any better because of the outside conditions, the negative atmosphere, etc”.
But a circle is a circle. And it does not have an end or a beginning. So we could actually choose in our mind to perceive the beginning where we can control it, in ourselves. What do you think about that? Then we would have a completely different mission on stage: “I am loving, I am the one who loves”.
Of course this is not easy. How can we be positive and loving when we feel we’re rejected or not acknowledged?

A first step and the tool of intention

The first step is becoming conscious. Reflecting on your relationship with your audience. Recognizing when you avoid them or protect yourself, and how you do that. When you become conscious of these patterns, then you have a chance to work on them and search for a way change.
Many times, the relationship with the audience reflects lots of old experiences of rejection and being judged, and the way to improve it is to release these old emotions from your system. But there is something you can do alone, and right away: Use the powerful tool of intention.
When you formulate an intention about yourself and the audience, you help your subconscious to work for you in that direction.  It’s important that you formulate it positively, and that it makes you feel good even thinking it.
  • “I am enjoying this music with you”
  • “I am taking you on an emotional journey”
  • “We are connected in music”
  • “I share what I love with you”

…are some positive intentions. They create a “we”, express a purpose, and open you up to the audience. It is best to avoid any formulation that creates pressure within you or includes a hidden judgment, such as “I am giving/ showing you my best”.

So before you even connect with your role or your music, you use the time to connect with your audience. This may be as you walk onto the stage, or just before. You send them your positive intention, and you can visualize being one with them… Just try it, and observe the effects!
As you see, this has become a long blog, and there is always so much more to say! Please share some of your old or new positive intentions or your experiences with this tool below this blog, and as always, I’ll love to answer any upcoming questions.
I wish you many joyful and uplifting performances!