Know who has an interesting role? The “audience.” Look at the picture that goes with this post. None of these people would officially consider themselves the audience. They don’t list that as an occupation. None of them started out their day thinking, “You know, I think I’ll head down to Santa Monica Pier and see if I can find someone performing so I can stand there and take photos and cheer their antics.” But for a moment in time, they were the audience.
Those Not Performing Are the Audience
I have a thing for hip hop music and culture. Part of what I enjoy is the notion that there can be many voices in a particular song bringing their own ideas together. Jay-Z and Eminem and 50 Cent and several other performers show up on each other’s tracks. They share the spotlight with others, especially up and comers from their own label. So at any one point during these songs, even Jay-Z or Eminem or 50 Cent becomes the audience. Briefly.
But those who aren’t performing ever, those who choose not to perform, I wonder about them. It’s a new world. We all have these devices that allow us to be critics. Audiences are full of critics, who vote with their dollars, or make noise just to make noise.
And, of course, there are those who complain because they are “sometime” performers that believe they’ll draw a better audience by heckling someone else’s moment on stage.
We Are All The Audience At Some Point
I took that picture above. I was in the audience. On the day that photo was taken, I was enjoying a beautiful day with Jacqueline, and she and I watched some break dancing artists do their magic. And I cheered loudly, and gave what I could when the hat was passed, and I talked about the performance for some time afterward.
And when I am your audience, I don’t always see it the same way as you. When I am your audience, I don’t always feel that you and I would come to the same conclusion. But I appreciate you for taking the stage. If you’re doing something, and not just complaining from the comfort of the audience, then I give you credit for that.
But what about those who choose to take their moment in the audience to boo loudly? What about those who spend effort and breath to tell you that you’re not what they find appealing? What do you suppose they are thinking?
I never know. I tend to feel that they are lonely. I feel they are frustrated. I feel they worry that they’re not visible, so they speak up to show that they can still have their say. And I understand. Because most times, when I go to learn more about these voices, it’s hard to find their stage. It’s hard to understand their audience. Most times, they don’t have either. They, for all intents and purposes, are just like the people in the photo above: an audience waiting to happen.
Perform The Way You Intend
I’m very taken by Bhangra music right now. Sometimes, when others hear it, they’re not that into it. That’s fine. Some people like it, and others don’t. It’s the same with all things. I will perform on my stage the way I intend, and to the audience I believe appreciates what I’m saying. And when I learn from a creative and constructive critic, I will tip my hat in thanks. But when those who don’t like my music come to simply be a sour note in the audience, well, I’ll smile and wish you peace.
Welcome to the audience. I’m in it, and I’m clapping and waiting for the encore.