Saturday, November 17, 2012

Performing vs Recording

When I started singing my strongest motivation was the chance to perform. Being in front of an audience and meeting them through music has always been a profound experience for me. I want to thank my music teacher Ingeborg Axner FranzĂ©n who has a deep and profound philosophy in her teaching.

I learned that a performance is always a meeting between the audience and the performers. Ingeborg helped me understand that the audience is part of the performance and actively create the music together with me. My song is something I wish to express to them, a gift of myself that I can share, but their attention is an equal gift in return because they create the space that I fill with music. Ingeborg and I would take different angles on every song in preparation of a performance and figure out what the essential message and feeling in the song I wanted to give the audience. This way, I've always been very conscious about the deeper layers of music.

In this video I'm performing two original songs:
On my own (starts at 1:50)
Unspoken Dialogue (starts at 5:10)

I started taking vocal lessons at the age of 13, just as my voice started to deepen. Now that I'm almost 26, it means half of my life I've been singing as a hobby, so it has become an intimate part of who I am. I've known Ingeborg, my music teacher, since I was 6 years old and started taking piano lessons from her. I still meet with Ingeborg whenever I go home to Sweden and continue to have coaching sessions, and we stay in touch through emails as well.

Ingeborg taught me different song styles, such as classical singing or being more raw and expressive, but always reminded me to go back and sing as Patrik would have done it. This way I could develop a versatile voice while still retaining a strong identity and unique style of singing. She noticed that I put particular attention on the lyrics when I was singing and so she helped me develop my lyrical singing, along with an appreciation for the melody. I am grateful to have a music teacher who never criticized me in a negative way, and instead pointed out something good before making a caring suggestion for improvement.

Now I have started to get into a whole different field, which is recording. Compared to a caring music teacher, the microphone can seem cold and critical sometimes, as it picks up any slight mistake I might make and mechanically repeats it to me when I listen to the recording. I've learned to be less self-critical through listening to my own recordings and realized that there is a great advantage to this medium: I can now enjoy my own music and have a self-referral feedback loop.

This is great for songwriting, as I can sit and fiddle with different chords, song structures and instrumental parts and then listen to the wholeness. Transitions, how different parts fit together and the overall theme of the song becomes clear in a way that isn't possible otherwise when I listen to my recorded self. I can make changes to intonation, smoother transitions between verse and chorus or simply just enjoy the sound of my own music.