I was eating lunch with my wife a little while ago in a mall food-court. Now, we didn’t choose a food-court for the cuisine or atmosphere. We were both on lunch breaks from work, we needed to shop for a couple of presents, and the mall is very close. Hence, food-court lunch was served. While we were eating, there was a live musical performance going on. I don’t know the gentleman’s name; however, he was a blind pianist with a really great voice performing some covers and original material. After the first song, Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets, my wife and I applauded wholeheartedly. We were just about the only ones, although the food-court was packed with folks.
Now, just a couple of things to talk about. I know that people don’t go to food-courts to hear people performing music. I know that not everyone feels the need to clap when they hear a song finish. I know that not all artists care about the percentage of people in an area that applaud when they finish performing a song. However, I think most of you would be surprised just how far a little applause can go.
I’ve been in a few bands in my time, and I know, all too well, how it feels to finish playing a song and be rewarded with the quietest smattering of applause audible by the human ear. I also know how it feels to finish a song to an eruption of applause and shouts, although the frequency of such times were admittedly rare. It is incredibly rewarding to have your efforts and talents appreciated in such ways. If you play and get nothing but silence afterwards, it doesn’t matter how many people come up to you at the end and say, “I liked your music.” Your night, along with some dignity, is just about shot.
Now, the artists that say they don’t care about such things have made some concessions, either knowingly or unconsciously. They’ve either decided that they are playing out and paying their dues, playing for a pay check, playing to hear themselves, and/or playing to practice. There are, of course, exceptions. But I don’t think any of them would deny feeling a rush of adrenaline, pride, and accomplishment whenever a crowd boisterously acknowledges their music, or whatever else it is they are doing.
Why am I writing all this? I’m writing to audiences all over the world. Get off your hands when you go to a performance, or even if you find yourself at an impromptu performance. It’s not going to hurt you to acknowledge someone’s efforts and talents. Even if their talents are in question, give them a little applause. Again, it’s not going to hurt you, and it just may make their day. Besides, they are making an effort to do something they want to do, and they are making an effort to entertain you and provide you with something you might enjoy.
Unless, of course, they are handing out dynamite sticks with lit fuses. Don’t clap then.