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Those Performance Eyes
Playing the Fiddle
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Ripton
Vermont, Massachusetts or somewhere in between
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February 12, 2015 - 8:31 pm
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OK, So I went and did it, signed up on StreetJelly for the Fiddlerman Jamboree. I was practicing my set in front of  monitor and realized my eyes tend to wander around. At times it seems that I'm about to have a seizure or lose myself in outer space. 

 

Any suggestions on what I should do or not do to have a more natural stage presence? 

 

I do plan a sound check rehearsal on Monday morning with Bill. 

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augustoad
Ponta Grossa, Paraná - Brazil
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February 12, 2015 - 8:53 pm
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Hey, what I recommend is to try to find something to fix your eyes on, or closing them (if possible) to focus better on the sound you're making.

Try looking at your fingers, or at a sheet music, for instance. It helps a lot - I have the same problem. :)

Skype: augustoad Email: augustoaguieiras@hotmail.com Phone number/whatsapp: +55 42 9861-4084. I'd be happy to talk anything fiddle-related to anyone! :)

 

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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February 13, 2015 - 3:31 am
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LOL - I'm all over the place with that as well - because my eyesight isn't great, when I'm on SJ I run the laptop HDMI output to my wide-screen TV so I can easily see the text any of the audience happen to type.   But, just because of the "way the room is" I end up with the camera being at 90 degrees to the screen.  If I look into/towards the camera, I cant see the text - if I look at the TV screen the audience sees me side-on - and I can't easily relocate the camera to above the big screen!  While I'm actually playing though, I center my attention on the music and will generally be turned towards, but not actually looking AT the camera (heck I still have to keep an eye on that wandering bow...)    And THEN some of my facial expressions can be (as once described by someone else) "priceless" roflroflroflrofl

Anyway - I found this - it might be a worthwhile read - 

http://stebian.com/2011/07/how.....on-skills/

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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BaldBeardedViolinist
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February 13, 2015 - 2:02 pm
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For what it's worth, I like seeing someone's eyes wander, and seeing their various facial expressions while they play. It helps to get into the mind of the player, and seeing them really feel the music makes the experience better, IMHO.

"The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be."

~Marcel Pagnol

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Schaick
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February 14, 2015 - 8:20 am
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Oh My Goodness!  What a great thread, not even about taping but playing in front of people in general.  I have wondered what I look like at Jam.  I know I cringe when I squeak or make a mistake.   I try to close my eyes on occasion.  Now that I am learning to pass the song around I do have to look around to see who wants it next.

We have a man at Jam that if I am not careful I would STARE at him because of his facial expressions as he plays.  He feels every note with his face.

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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DanielB
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February 14, 2015 - 10:03 am
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A rule of thumb I was told years ago was to look at the audience if you are talking or singing.  When you are playing, look where you want the audience to look, since they will tend to follow that cue.

So if you're doing something tricky that you worked on and want them to notice, yes, look at your hands.  If you don't, they may not notice it as much or may think it wasn't something all that impressive anyway.

If someone else is doing a solo or vocals, don't stare at them, but keep glancing, like you are paying close attention.  Act like you are enjoying it as much as any audience member, and you've just got a much better spot to watch from.  It gives a better impression of you as well, like someone in a conversation who knows how to be a good listener instead of just someone waiting for their turn to say something.

If something goes wrong for another player, don't stare and look puzzled.  Say the drummer is having an issue with their hardware or a bass or guitar player's amp is doing something unexpected or maybe somebody broke a string?  Get your eyes on some part of the performance that is going right, instead.  That can help smooth things over instead of calling attention to the problem.

Cameras, I don't know so much about.  But as someone who watches videos, I can say I think it can be anything from a bit "wooden" to kinda eery if a player is staring into the camera steadily while playing. 

Facial expression I don't think I've ever been good at.  I tend to be kind of "dead-pan" when playing.  But a thing I have seen that can quickly detract from a performance is if a person is using facial expressions that just don't fit the music.  You see it sometimes with singer, especially the ones that got told at some point that they'll "project" better if they smile.  So they're singing about people dying and losing lovers and terrible tragedies with a silly smile pasted on their face.  That always seems like either a very odd mixed message or downright creepy.  At the very least, you know they aren't paying attention or being at all moved by the story they're singing or that maybe they just don't care.  Not the best message to the audience.

If it is an audience that can applaud or react in any way and they react when you come to the end of a song, at least look up and nod a small bow.  Performance is a communication.  You play and that's one part.. They applaud or compliment and that's another.  If you just do nothing, they may feel like it was either a deliberate snub or that you don't like applause or compliments.  That's a quick way to get less audience reaction, even if they really do like your playing.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
February 17, 2015 - 10:54 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Wandering eyes are one of the things that recording yourself can be good for. At least you caught it. I don't mind seeing wandering eyes. :)
For me, it's worse with grimaces.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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coolpinkone
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February 17, 2015 - 1:42 pm
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Good Topic.. if I get into the music overly.. I tend to roll eyes.... or I have some forehead thing that happens... or an over body swag... OH.. yes.. when I record I see a bunch of stuff that chills me to the bone.

I was asked to play for a visitor at the house the other day... I didn't think much of it... I was in bed and in jammies... so I said.. Okay, not now but later... so later came and the visitor came back and ....

I walked to the middle of the room to play.  I said, "Do you want Bluegrass, Irish, Classical?"  Yes.. I really said that... I was feeling it... so the request was for Godfather... 

So I started to play.. and BLANK... BLANK.. BLANK... and finally I got it going.. it was very bad... and I was standing really still.  I realized I was not afraid to play in front of a stranger, but I was afraid to "be me and move"... it was a bust.  

Anyway.. it was a good experience nonetheless.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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February 17, 2015 - 2:42 pm
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Ahhhh - I'm a "grimacer" ( is there such a word ? ) LOL

I suffer from the "I can play guitar with my eyes closed" (and often do) syndrome....

I guess it's a "psych" thing - I "feel I am relaxed" in front of the cam or audience - but probably TOO relaxed - like I'm playing to an audience of friends and family ( even if it is a wider audience - that's how I see it )

**BUT**  ---- NOOOO - I do not, and cannot, yet play fiddle with the same ease and aplomb as I do on guitar - but my mind says I can ( for some unknown reason )....  but - man - can I play it in my dreams... LOL

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Ripton
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February 21, 2015 - 11:15 pm
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OK, for those on StreetJelly and saw me perform. How did my gaze appear to you? Thanks. (I'm sure I'll get plenty of helpful critique from my instructor. I saw her name pop up in the comments section. ) And yes, it was fun and I can't wait till next time... 

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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February 22, 2015 - 8:05 am
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Seemed fine to me - BUT - my bandwidth is so poor that incoming video "skips forward" to keep in time with the audio (which doesn't break up) so I tend to get a "slo-mo" or freeze-frame effect - but given that limitation I have here - as I say - it seemed fine to me Ripton.

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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coolpinkone
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February 22, 2015 - 12:34 pm
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You seemed fine to me Ripton!   Good job!!!! 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
February 23, 2015 - 9:33 am
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You looked fantastic and confident.
The only remark that I have is that you appeared to be in a hurry to get to the next tune. I know all about that and it's typical of a new performer. You don't want to bore people by having a bunch of dead time and you probably find it hard to be the only one talking. It didn't bother me a bit but I think it would be easier for you to take a bit more time between pieces. Breathe and feel the next piece before actually starting. Take time to enjoy what you are doing. ;)
Truthfully though, I was seriously impressed. You have made fantastic strides.
You should be super proud. Keep up the great work!!! I really enjoyed it.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Ripton
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February 23, 2015 - 10:26 pm
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Thanks!!

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