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Biggest Frustrations #2720049
03/09/18 12:16 PM
03/09/18 12:16 PM
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r_Shift Offline OP
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More aimed at people who are pianists as a hobby, but personally what's the most frustrating thing you have to deal with?

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Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: r_Shift] #2720114
03/09/18 03:55 PM
03/09/18 03:55 PM
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There's a couple things. First and foremost.....time. I work 2 jobs, I have 2 young children, and an endless list of crap to do around the house. I make sure I play every day, but I'm often scrambling to find the time. Mostly it's early morning (5am), or after 9pm. I've found myself having to choose between music and exercise. Lately music has been winning, but my health is suffering for it.

The other thing, which is kind of 2 in 1, is financial. I'm not in a great financial place. I'm very fortunate to have what I have, but I do find myself wanting things I don't have. I really would like some basic recording equipment. I've made recordings on my phone, but it's just not good. I'd also like to purchase something portable. Family gatherings in my family are very musical events, but I can't really bring my piano with me. I have so much to share with them, but I just don't have that opportunity.

Those are my frustrations. Even with those, I am very happy to have the opportunity I have. I'm grateful for the musical ability I have been fortunate enough to develop.


Currently working on:
Asturia (Leyenda) - Isaac Albeniz
Mia and Sabastian's Theme - Kyle Landry arrangement
also working on some vocal training



Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: r_Shift] #2720120
03/09/18 04:33 PM
03/09/18 04:33 PM
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For me it's the result v.s the amount of time put into it.


Czerny's Piano School Vol. 1. Reviewing basics/ear training/analysis in interesting exercises.
Opus 599. Now at #77 and giving it a break.
Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: r_Shift] #2720206
03/10/18 04:07 AM
03/10/18 04:07 AM
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Kent, UK
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Hi

Great question.

My main frustration is that I feel I've got as good as I'm ever going to get on the Piano, and because of that I've recently taken up playing the guitar again.

Like Jaywalkingblues, for me work is a necessary evil. Its helps me to own 3 keyboards and 2 guitars, but its stops me from playing as much as I'd like to.

Cheers


Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Casio CTK-7200
Hammond XB1

Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: r_Shift] #2720499
03/11/18 10:35 AM
03/11/18 10:35 AM
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My biggest frustration is that, no matter how well I think I know a piece, or how well I think I play it, there remains a non-zero probability that I will foul up completely in a performance. It doesn't matter how "difficult" the piece is -- I could foul up Three Blind Mice if fate is against me on the day. It isn't lack of practice, either -- I can practice a piece until I never want to hear it ever again, until I can play it fifty times through without any problem, and still foul it up next time.

Neither my fingers nor my brain seem to be entirely predictable these days.

Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: r_Shift] #2720507
03/11/18 11:30 AM
03/11/18 11:30 AM
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One of my biggest frustrations - more like a disappointment, I guess - is that no one in my family or circle of friends have any interest in piano or even music in general. Because of this, I'm not asked to play - so I don't offer to either. Consequently, I think that I have to be even more self-motivated than most to practice. That results in slower progress at improvement than I'd like.


Bert
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Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: r_Shift] #2720516
03/11/18 12:25 PM
03/11/18 12:25 PM
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Same here as Kevinb. Regardless, I keep going. We all do.


Barbara
...without music, no life...
Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: r_Shift] #2720573
03/11/18 07:45 PM
03/11/18 07:45 PM
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Having occasionally seen a thread that covers this territory, it always gives me pause.

If I go into one of the local Guitar Centers on a Saturday, I often see Mexican-American and Asian families come in and shop for keyboards. These folks seem to have FUN playing music. They don't come in with piles of sheet music. Instead, they walk up to an instrument and play songs that they know. They seem to all get some real joy from doing that. You see the whole family around the instrument while one of them is playing. I don't know if this is a cultural thing, but if so, they really seem to have it right. fun with making music.

I have gone down the path of the serious "suffer for my art" with piano, and always end up walking away sooner or later. It has taken a while to determine what it is I really want to accomplish and a good way for me to do that. I have put that together and it is working for me, and my model is largely what I see in those families at Guitar Center.

There is, unfortunately, not much one can do about having to work two jobs or other heavy time commitments. I am hearing, despite all the claims about how well the economy is doing, more people having to work more than one job to make a go of it. That is really sad, especially in a country such as the US, where there should be so much opportunity. There isn't much one can do about time at the piano in those cases.

But for those of us who are retired or at least have schedules that allow us more piano time, there must be a way to enjoy the journey and have fun with our music instead of suffering over every mistake or slaving over difficult music. It all depends on our respective personalities, our musical goals, but there are choices we make and have control over.

Edit: Just to be clear, I am addressing our ATTITUDE toward our respective pursuits on the piano, rather than the STYLE. However, reading through these forums over time, it does seem to me that overall, folks involved in non-classical piano pursuits seem to generally have more FUN for some reason.

Tony


Last edited by TonyB; 03/11/18 09:28 PM.
Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: TonyB] #2720611
03/12/18 04:26 AM
03/12/18 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyB
[...] reading through these forums over time, it does seem to me that overall, folks involved in non-classical piano pursuits seem to generally have more FUN for some reason.


Amazingly (to me) the idea that there are "fun" and "serious" forms of music is even embedded in the graded exam syllabus. A stated learning outcome for the Trinity College Rock and Pop Keyboards syllabus, at entry level is:

"Perform audibly with a sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment and with some awareness of audience"

There is, so far as I can tell, no similar objective in the traditional classical syllabus, which is all about technical skills. It seems you have to enjoy playing pop and rock, and sweat over classical. The classical piano syllabus doesn't even mention audience -- it's as playing is a completely solitary, intellectual endeavour, which a select few might perhaps be privileged to hear one day.

I think that, broadly, it's hard to describe something as "fun" when a performance cannot be judged a success unless it is technically impeccable. That does seem to be the expected standard, for all instruments, even for amateurs, even for beginners. As a rank beginner in the Western classical tradition, you might not be able to produce a technically perfect performance, but it's understood that this is what you're aiming at eventually; what all your efforts should be directed to.

The mad irony is that, whilst you might have the dubious fortune to hear me playing jazz, or pop songs, or Christmas carols, in a public setting (if you live in my neighbourhood), you're never going to hear me playing Bach or Chopin, and this is where nearly all my musical effort is directed these days. I'm never going to be good enough to perform this kind of music, because I'm never going to be perfect, and only perfect is good enough.

Worse, my ability to enjoy informal music-making has diminished since I started down the classical path, because I am increasingly aware of my shortcomings.

It's odd, really, that I spend so much time on a pursuit that is of absolutely no benefit to anybody else, and only of limited benefit to me.

Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: kevinb] #2720612
03/12/18 04:56 AM
03/12/18 04:56 AM
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Iaroslav Vasiliev Online content
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Quote
"Perform audibly with a sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment and with some awareness of audience"

I love English. smile

Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2720658
03/12/18 09:36 AM
03/12/18 09:36 AM
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TonyB Offline
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Quote
"Perform audibly with a sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment and with some awareness of audience"

I love English. smile


My wife and I volunteer teach English as a second language to immigrant folks a couple of times a week. Growing up speaking English, we never gave it much thought. However, teaching it to folks who come here from other cultures, we have experienced the language from a new perspective. It is a difficult language with a lot of quirks that make no sense, which can make certain aspects of the language difficult to explain. Also, it borrows from many other languages so that whatever pronunciations folks who are learning the language have mastered, are suddenly non-applicable when encountering all those "borrowed" words.

Looking at that sentence that you quoted, I am thinking to myself "what does that really mean". Perform audibly, means simply that you make sounds. Why just "some awareness of audience"? Why not fully aware of, and engaged with, the audience? It does seem really strange to say something like that, doesn't it?

When I see those folks at Guitar Center playing various keyboards, they, and their families with them, are fully engaged in the music. Anybody in the immediate area can't help but be pulled in and enjoying it too.

How did it come about that we got so intellectual about music that we suck all the life out of it for both performer and audience? I am certainly glad that there are many people who choose NOT to go that route and are willing to have fun making music.

Tony

Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: r_Shift] #2720713
03/12/18 02:02 PM
03/12/18 02:02 PM
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Hi

The having fun thing is fascinating. Like Kevin I've spent a lot of time trying to master 'classical' works, and indeed a long time ago passed ABRSM grade 6 (the only Piano grade I've passed). But that aside I've never really achieved the standard I'd like to, and probably never will.

For me there are three key distinctions between playing serious 'classical' music and playing other so called non-serious forms.

1. Rhythm - most 'classical' Piano works don't have the rhythmic drive that say the swing of Jazz or the infectious pulse of Blues/Rock have. And for me those rhythms in particular add hugely to my enjoyment of playing.

2. I have some ability to improvise, which puts me somewhere between a blues Pianist and a proper Jazz pianist. So even if I was capable of playing 'classical' works in small ensembles, or orchestras I think I would be frustrated at having to read off the page all the time, or play exactly the same thing from memory all the time. I love having the chords in front of me (or memorised) and making up what is required for whatever I'm doing.

3. I also think that it's much easier to find other musicians to play music with, if you're playing non-serious forms of music. And for me playing with other musicians is as much fun as it gets. Of course playing the Piano on your own can be immensely satisfying, but I think a lot of people miss out on the joy of making music with other people because they stick religiously to the 'classical' repertoire.

There is no doubt that what I have done over the years (rock / blues bands and Jazz bands) is to some degree the result of my technical limitations. However its also because I have more fun playing those forms of music, as defined above!

Cheers


Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Casio CTK-7200
Hammond XB1

Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: Simon_b] #2720802
03/12/18 06:50 PM
03/12/18 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Simon_b
Hi

The having fun thing is fascinating. Like Kevin I've spent a lot of time trying to master 'classical' works, and indeed a long time ago passed ABRSM grade 6 (the only Piano grade I've passed). But that aside I've never really achieved the standard I'd like to, and probably never will.

For me there are three key distinctions between playing serious 'classical' music and playing other so called non-serious forms.

1. Rhythm - most 'classical' Piano works don't have the rhythmic drive that say the swing of Jazz or the infectious pulse of Blues/Rock have. And for me those rhythms in particular add hugely to my enjoyment of playing.

2. I have some ability to improvise, which puts me somewhere between a blues Pianist and a proper Jazz pianist. So even if I was capable of playing 'classical' works in small ensembles, or orchestras I think I would be frustrated at having to read off the page all the time, or play exactly the same thing from memory all the time. I love having the chords in front of me (or memorised) and making up what is required for whatever I'm doing.

3. I also think that it's much easier to find other musicians to play music with, if you're playing non-serious forms of music. And for me playing with other musicians is as much fun as it gets. Of course playing the Piano on your own can be immensely satisfying, but I think a lot of people miss out on the joy of making music with other people because they stick religiously to the 'classical' repertoire.

There is no doubt that what I have done over the years (rock / blues bands and Jazz bands) is to some degree the result of my technical limitations. However its also because I have more fun playing those forms of music, as defined above!

Cheers



I played a lot of Beethoven in college. Some Brahms. Over my adult life I worked on playing jazz standards. Over time I developed my "ear" - being able to hear/perceive harmonic movement. Rather than "serious" and "non-serious", I'd rather use a mathematics analogy. Beethoven and Bach (and scores of others) are analogous to a higher math. Let's say (and I have no expertise in math) they are calculous. There's plenty of Beatles stuff that I'd rate at higher algebra or maybe trigonometry - think maybe "Yesterday" - maybe "Good Morning Good Morning" (from Sgt. Pepper). The Beatles also did some blues, but what I admire so much is when they did a blues, they were inventive with it. I'd say "I'm Down", "She's A Woman" and "Come Together" are blues, but crafted so they don't sound like simply an imitation of Chicago blues. I'd say (in my opinion) the Rolling Stones would be the ones to do more of an imitation of a classic electric blues - simple math - maybe some division here and there. I might say that Keith Jarrett sometimes does improvised trig and calculus.

By the way, IMO, Louis Jordan and His Tympani Five are almost like a catalog of fundamental jazz harmony. Tons of iii vi ii V progressions. Also tons of diminished 7th passing chords. If you don't know what I'm talking about, learning what these things are and how they work will open the door to playing with the assistance of your mind's ears. You may (or may not) be relying just on your motor memory - playing till you have it by rote.

Food for thought. But my point here is there isn't a simple line in the sand making something serious and non-serious. A moving bass line played by Paul McCartney in "Dear Prudence" is just as legitimate as a step-wise descending line in a Bach piece. They're musical devices.

Also the swing rhythms and rock rhythms and funk rhythms and even a lot of blues rhythms - fall into my version of higher math.

Little Feat - Fat Man In The Bathtub
https://youtu.be/S1AWV3F8muI


Regarding forgetting where you're at in a tune. If you work on your ears, you'll be on the road developing to what I believe is too often ignored by too many musicians. Many people who can play late Beethoven cannot play "Louis Louis" I'll bet you.


Examples to try to play by ear:

Louis Louis is about as simple as it gets. 3 chords. Can you figure this out by ear on the piano. Hint- there's a minor V chord.


A little more involved, but not too hard. Sit at the piano while listening, and try plunking out some notes.




Last edited by indigo_dave; 03/12/18 06:57 PM.
Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: r_Shift] #2720805
03/12/18 07:03 PM
03/12/18 07:03 PM
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Life has many up and downs. While heading for a nervous breakdown, music was a lifesaver. Takes my mind off all the personal problems and focus away from the negative. Spending a lot of time practicing on weekends and getting results isn't much of an issue.

The biggest issue is to be told by the people closest to you there are other more important things in life to focus on including managing personal finances & career goals (moving up the corporate ladder). A lot of people feel that spending hours playing music is a fruitless waste of time that doesn't produce financial rewards unless you pursue a career in music as a performer or a teacher.

Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: kevinb] #2720809
03/12/18 07:14 PM
03/12/18 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kevinb
Originally Posted by TonyB
[...] reading through these forums over time, it does seem to me that overall, folks involved in non-classical piano pursuits seem to generally have more FUN for some reason.


Amazingly (to me) the idea that there are "fun" and "serious" forms of music is even embedded in the graded exam syllabus. A stated learning outcome for the Trinity College Rock and Pop Keyboards syllabus, at entry level is:

"Perform audibly with a sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment and with some awareness of audience"

There is, so far as I can tell, no similar objective in the traditional classical syllabus, which is all about technical skills. It seems you have to enjoy playing pop and rock, and sweat over classical. The classical piano syllabus doesn't even mention audience -- it's as playing is a completely solitary, intellectual endeavour, which a select few might perhaps be privileged to hear one day.



Pop is popular by definition, therefore you're supposed to convey the joy in performance. To be frank, I don't see the point in having exams for pop and rock music, when some of the greatest pop & rock performers in history can't even read music, but I suppose there's money to be made from them, and some people who play pop want "recognition" on a par with those classical folk......

Whereas (Western) classical has centuries of tradition and is also deep-rooted in Christianity. How can the Passions of Bach be performed with audible enjoyment when you're singing your heart out about human suffering?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDMqNUbiWyw

And even non-religious classical is just as likely to be sad as happy. Everything has to be in place too, as it's often not just a tune and straightforward accompaniment, unlike pop & rock where you can make stuff up.

Even when I was a student barely past beginner stage, I never had any problem playing purely for enjoyment. I'd bang away at any tune (often pop) without worrying about technique, or wrong notes or rhythm, just for the fun of it. After all, I had no sheet music to follow and was just playing by ear, so I could do whatever I liked.

I never thought of that as 'practising' at the piano - it was just the piano equivalent of me singing a pop song while accompanying myself on the guitar, trying out any chords that seemed to fit.....

Now of course, I play and perform purely for enjoyment, and I don't mind showing my enjoyment to my audience - when it's appropriate. Like the first of these pieces, which I threw into my recital this evening - I was gratified to see some smiles from the audience, when they thought I was deliberately playing wrong notes grin -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7Z_3EA9pyY

and also this, partly because I was raising false expectations, dashed by the damp cold weather outside cry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llnUDeRdu7o.

But when I was practising them at home, I had to work hard to get them right and performance-ready, otherwise I couldn't have conveyed what I wanted to my audience if I was struggling to play the notes......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: TonyB] #2720906
03/13/18 05:04 PM
03/13/18 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TonyB
Looking at that sentence that you quoted, I am thinking to myself "what does that really mean". Perform audibly, means simply that you make sounds. Why just "some awareness of audience"? Why not fully aware of, and engaged with, the audience? It does seem really strange to say something like that, doesn't it?


I guess it's because at the grade-1 level we can't expect kids to demonstrate complete engagement with the audience. That takes a lot more experience and a lot more confidence.

I think the Trinity folks are just expecting kids to play as if they wanted to be heard. That might just be my interpretation, though.

Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: bennevis] #2720908
03/13/18 05:16 PM
03/13/18 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
To be frank, I don't see the point in having exams for pop and rock music, when some of the greatest pop & rock performers in history can't even read music, but I suppose there's money to be made from them, and some people who play pop want "recognition" on a par with those classical folk......


I'm sure it's partly money; perhaps there's a market opening, because this is a area that the ABRSM does not really deal with.

But... I think it's an interesting idea. There is no expectation of making a note-perfect reproduction of written music, and improvisation is offered as an alternative to sight-reading for candidates who don't read well (or at all). Candidates are allowed to perform songs they've written or arranged themselves, as an alternative to the set works.

It seems entirely reasonable to me that kids who play in non-traditional genres should get some official recognition of their progress.

Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: kevinb] #2720916
03/13/18 06:23 PM
03/13/18 06:23 PM
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TonyB Offline
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Originally Posted by kevinb
Originally Posted by TonyB
Looking at that sentence that you quoted, I am thinking to myself "what does that really mean". Perform audibly, means simply that you make sounds. Why just "some awareness of audience"? Why not fully aware of, and engaged with, the audience? It does seem really strange to say something like that, doesn't it?


I guess it's because at the grade-1 level we can't expect kids to demonstrate complete engagement with the audience. That takes a lot more experience and a lot more confidence.

I think the Trinity folks are just expecting kids to play as if they wanted to be heard. That might just be my interpretation, though.


I am not at all familiar with all the formal structure imposed on music in the form of tests, contests, and the like. So I would definitely completely miss the meaning of something that requires that knowledge to interpret.

To me, music is first and foremost a HEARING art, so to me, learning to be able to hear and play (i.e. learn off of recordings, for example) is more important, and then reading. I taught myself to play guitar, and reading was a part of that for me.

I played full time professionally back in the late 70s in a trio that played supper clubs, resorts, and the typical Holiday Inn circuit. We played standards and middle of the road pop type tunes. That work required being able to hear as well as read. We worked either totally by ear or from lead sheets (fakebooks) because we were expected to know enough practical knowledge about how music works to come up with our own parts. Since then, I have played in a number of jazz groups.

I have been teaching myself to lay piano on and off for several years as time and energy permit. Reading is definitely a part of that, but it is far more important to me to be able to listen to recordings of the things I want to play, and to learn those by ear from the recordings.

Classical music is not my interest, so my way of learning and the emphasis I put on the various musical skills is probably different from those engaged in the classical discipline. Though I did make my living from playing at one time, I decided that constant touring was just not the life I wanted, so I left that and did other things. Music has always been a hobby/avocation for me, not a contest or a rigid discipline.

Tony


Last edited by TonyB; 03/13/18 06:24 PM.
Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: kevinb] #2720920
03/13/18 06:40 PM
03/13/18 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by kevinb
There is no expectation of making a note-perfect reproduction of written music, and improvisation is offered as an alternative to sight-reading for candidates who don't read well (or at all). Candidates are allowed to perform songs they've written or arranged themselves, as an alternative to the set works.

This is where the problems lie, when assessing pop & rock.

It becomes totally subjective and therefore inconsistent from one examiner to another, whereas in the classical exams (certainly in the ABRSM ones, where a senior examiner told me that examiners were regularly 'tested' to ensure consistency in marking), the examiners are looking for specific criteria and accomplishments at each grade, and mark accordingly.

How does one judge one improvisation against another, or the 'quality' of an original song? Is Stephen Hough's arrangement of Londonderry Air/Danny Boy better than Keith Jarrett's? We all know that we have different tastes in everything musical - some of my all-time favourite pop songs would never figure in many others' top 100, and I never cease to wonder why anyone would want to listen to more than a few seconds of most of the current top ten in the pop charts.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Biggest Frustrations [Re: TonyB] #2721029
03/14/18 03:20 AM
03/14/18 03:20 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 896
Moscow, Russia
I
Iaroslav Vasiliev Online content
500 Post Club Member
Iaroslav Vasiliev  Online Content
500 Post Club Member
I

Joined: May 2016
Posts: 896
Moscow, Russia
Originally Posted by TonyB
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Quote
"Perform audibly with a sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment and with some awareness of audience"

I love English. smile

Looking at that sentence that you quoted, I am thinking to myself "what does that really mean". Perform audibly, means simply that you make sounds. Why just "some awareness of audience"? Why not fully aware of, and engaged with, the audience? It does seem really strange to say something like that, doesn't it?

Tony

This phrase seems so funny to me, so full of British humor, that I can hardly take it seriously. If I wasn't aware of its source I could bet that it was taken from some comedy sketch show like the one by Fry and Laurie.

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