A few days ago, I had the opportunity to sit on the other side of the judges' table for an evening of concerto competition auditions. Besides being impressed by the overall level of talent, I was struck by the change in body language from each performer from they entered to after they finished their performance. What was obviously missing at the end (the audience response) had a clearly detrimental effect on the way each student perceived their playing.
Whether I am sitting behind a table with a score sheet, in a practice room with a student, or in the audience at a club, I am not looking to heard a terrible performance. Youtube has enough musical schaudenfraude to keep facebook populated for at least another decade, so where did this idea originate? Cutting contests aside, how can we communicate in our teaching and adjudicating that we are looking to hear greatness, and work with the rest?