HND Music Show Analysis

On Wednesday 30th December the HND Music Performance course performed a show, entitled Next Generation. What follows will be my analysis of said show.

Beginning with the different opinions, both group and individual that we spoke about after the show:

Individual opinion

I felt that the show went smoothly as a whole, I had tracks I preferred playing but there we no major mishaps in any of them. I enjoyed the improvised piece at the end, feeling that although there was a lack of communication in general on stage, during the focussed improvisation it felt as thought people communicated and followed leadership to create a cohesive sound.

The sound of the kit that was used was not good, the snare was loose and overpowered the rest of the kit as well as the other instruments. In continuation to this I will write about the sound regarding drums on a more general level. There is a large discrepancy between drum sound in front of you and out front. This depends on the size of the venue to a degree; in a large venue the drum sound from the front of house will come solely from mics and PA, whereas in a pub the sound would be mainly acoustic kit.

Group opinion

As a whole the group didn’t like the improvised part at the end of the show. But as a whole the consensus was that the show was tight and well rehearsed, with no major mistakes. This was put down to the rehearsals that were done in the run up to the show “don’t just memorise notes; memorise the feeling of playing them” – Madeline Bruser(1). Another positive was the slick change overs in between songs, people didn’t mess around and everything went smoothly when changing over musicians playing the different instruments. We even managed to change drummers mid improvised piece. The sound on stage was good, monitors were loud enough and there were no issues with hearing the tracks being played.

A flaw was the communication skills not being great. Performers interaction on stage was minimal, apart from the improvised section at the end. This is often due to a level of confidence whilst performing in front of an audience with performers tending to look down at their instruments and not interact with the others on stage. Individual instrument sound was not always great. The whole rehearsal process felt rushed in some parts. This could be misconstrued; a large number of the songs were very well rehearsed and tight but others had a lack of attention, causing some to be dropped from the show.

Lecturer opinion

Our lecturers thought that the show was of a very high standard, Steve Lawson saying that he perceived it as being “higher than the level (HND)”. They also stated that musicians had developed both their own sound in terms of their individual instrument sound and their own flair on their performance. They also said that they had all developed stylistically, both relating to technique and the style in which they played. The sound was very good, this being down to the sound guy we had in to mix and engineer the front of house sound, Olly Irwin.

Their main critique was that there was still a lack of performance. The musicianship was exceptional but it was all performed by people stood there not performing or showboating to the audience as such.

Audience opinion

The audience liked the show as a whole. The commented that certain performers stood out, partly attributing this to the number of tracks they played on. The other discussion was about the displays of virtuosity on the show, how impressive they were and that this again allowed individuals to shine.

The main critique was that they didn’t like the improvised section at the end. As a group we thought this was mainly down to the fact that they didn’t get it.

Individual sound:

  1. Individual instrument sound – Bass: just DI’. Bass amp is not great: mixture of basses (active and passive) Overall, sound on the night
  2. Groove and Feel – How relaxed were you on stage, how did that affect the groove and feel, write about gigging more – improved judgement. People will like you if you’ve got great groove and good feel (good sound – session drummer, Karl Brazil, Ash Soan) don’t believe you’re good enough, don’t think good things are going to happen to you, think they’ll only happen to other people

(strengths and weaknesses)

1 – Madeline Bruser, Bruser, Madeline., The Art of Practicing (Bell Tower, 1997), p.17

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