Two days ago I returned from a performance bootcamp in Nashville, run by Tom Jackson. Over the last 20 years he has coached tens of thousands of performers, from indie startups to top commercial artists like Taylor Swift.
I have been following Tom for a while now, and I thought I understood what he meant by a “moment.” You know, an emotional moment, where the audience connects with the performer. A poignant moment, an exciting moment, whatever.
I was wrong. I didn’t have any idea of the enormous power of a real “moment.” Now I do.
Time after time, I saw Tom turn good performances into great ones. And what makes a performance great? It’s that moment where the audience becomes engaged on an emotional level. Where the entire audience swoons at the same time, and you could hear a pin drop. Or where there’s no choice but to erupt into wild applause.
The biggest thing that amazed me was the infallibility of the methods. As an audience member, even though I could see the mechanics of the transformation taking place, I still felt no emotional choice but to be totally drawn in. It was the emotional analogue of a fast camera zoom. There’s suddenly no distance between you and the performer. Their personality suddenly emerges, crystal clear, and you love them. It’s not even a choice.
Every performer was already good. But Tom took every performer to great by finding the moment inside the song. And just about every song has one or more of these moments waiting to get out. The question is how to find it.
It has to be seen to be believed.
So, the answer to the question “How to Make Your Audience Fall In Love with You” is to…
1) Understand what a “moment” is, and then
2) Find and develop them.
I can’t emphasize how important this is. When you find and develop a moment, a song goes from good to irresistible. A band goes from respectable to loved. I fell in love with several bands and performers this weekend just on the basis of a single “moment” Tom developed with them.
How to find and develop your moments?
Well, there are techniques… such as creating space in the song, dropping out instruments, emphasizing sounds using visuals, creating interpersonal relationships on stage, hanging on the first chord of the progression, singing the bridge as the intro, doubling or quadrupling the best part of the song, breaking up the song into parts, playing ribato, inserting hits or breaks breaks, and on and on.
But there isn’t a formula. This isn’t a science, it’s an art. And as Tom would say, it’s a “process.” You need to learn how to do it.
Colorado singers and performers: I’ll soon be an affiliated coach teaching Tom Jackson’s Live Music Method. If you or your band are interested in learning these concepts, making your show look ten times as professional and engaging, and taking your fans to a whole new level of dedication, contact me.
(c) 2010 Adrienne Osborn