How to listen to a concert?

By: Dakshayani Athalye

Giving a performance or a concert is a lot of things put together. It’s presentation, expression and skill at the same time. Yet it is spontaneous.

How does one listen to a concert is important from two perspectives. The first perspective is as audience and the other as a performer. If I listen from the perspective of the audience, my appreciation is subjective whereas if I listen from the perspective of the performer I can be objective.

Here are few subjective and objective things that I look forward to in an Indian Classical Music concert.
1. Skills: Indeed a performer’s skills are the medium through which the audience receives the nectar. The better the skills, the better is the experience of the audience.
2. The thought: Independent thinking and experimentation are the corner stones of Indian Classical Music and thus it is difficult to appreciate a stale rendition without artist’s own thought behind it.
3. Honesty: Nothing can be more subjective than this point. But honesty in a performance is intuitive. There are no rules to test this but as you grow as a listener you become better at it. A performance must be honest. Every performer must be true to his/her inner self. Artists with great skill and creativity are not necessarily honest. Thus it is quite tricky to know honesty in a performance. I feel that when an artist is content with self, content within, happy about the performance, in love with the moment without any inhibitions or drama- honesty is revealed in these tender moments.

I always look forward to this combination of skills, thought and honesty. Till now no other element has been able to define a performance for me so I hope this is a combination to look forward to.

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