There is a recent New York Times’ article about coughers and other distractions during concerts, which I found both amusing and demoralizing. Amusing because the internationally known conductors and performers featured had actually stopped their performances to either chastise the audience, bring attention to it through humor, or actually say something like “my music is a gift to you and you need to be a better audience.”
Well, first of all, no. It wasn’t a gift, the audience had presumably paid for tickets and even though you weren’t paid enough, you were paid, and secondly, concert audiences are aging and holding in coughs is nigh impossible to do.
Having been on both sides of the stage, I think the sound of distractions and movements of late-comers it is far worse for members of the audience than the performers!
There’s no simple solution, but the reason I mentioned the article is because the musicians quoted in the Times’ article were obviously not on the path of Zen Guitar!
Sound and Silence
It doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest guitar player in the world, if you’re not enlightened, forget it. –George Harrison
“For centuries, wondering monks in Japan have played the shakuhachi, a traditional bamboo flute, for the purposes of meditation…
The measure of artistry with the flute is “ichion jobutsu”–the quality of enlightenment in one note. To the player, every note and every space between the notes has equal importance to every other. Nothing-not a single breath through the flute–can go to waste. In the moment of a shakuhachi master, each moment in this world has its distinct existence and then is gone forever; each sound and each silence is an opportunity for enlightenment.”
Perhaps this quality–to be in the moment and include every sound,, as well as silence, as part of the music you are making is something to cultivate. To train students in the quality and encourage it in ourselves seems to be the best way to open the communicate among performers, audience and environment. Then there are no mistakes and no distractions. Live music at its best, even for us classical musicians!