Challenge: complete a performance with musical instruments
Logically, I could not bring a piano into the studio. This is my favourite instrument currently and I feel most confident on it. A violin could go too wrong too easily and I have not played in front of anyone for years. Therefore, I wanted to record the piano and play guitar over the top. After the performance, I found that just bringing in a keyboard would have been easier and I would have been more confident, as I was shaking too much to play the guitar properly. I also found that I did not know the same songs on guitar as I did piano and therefore was a slight rush to learn them on guitar. I improvised very quickly as I panicked during the performance.
I had a look at what some of the easiest pop songs are to play on the piano and the violin. Having a look at these, and having a look at the time I had with the piano [at home], I felt like I did not have sufficient enough time to learn and play either single, or multiple songs. For this reason, I looked at the six songs that I am already comfortable playing on the piano, one of which I can play on violin (Scarborough Fair), and another of which I can play on guitar. I wanted to play A Thousand Years, however in order to play it like this, it would take a long time to learn and practice. I also felt more comfortable trying to learn something on the guitar within the time span than on the violin. I then mixed these together on Adobe Audition in order to gain a length of track to play along to. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to create characters out of the music, such as Silvie Fleury does, because I was only manipulation songs that I already know, rather than making my own.
These six songs included:
Für Elise (parts 1-6, ending on A)
Scarborough Fair (in full, ending on A)
Swing Low (up until the quadruple F)
Under the Sea (full, ending on an F)
English Country Garden (slow down until hitting an A)
Someone Like You (Adele, and get people to join in)
I decided on the room in the studios that reminded me most of my bedrooms, wherever I have lived (see top two photos). I felt like this would have made me feel more comfortable and confident within the performance. I was also inspired by the use of space by Matthew Barney and I wanted to use every part of the space. If I had more time, I would have completely kitted out the room to become more like my bedroom.
I made the space more like my home by having my own blankets and cushions, fairy lights and my day-to-day things all over the floor in the corner.
I decided not to have a microphone for during the performance as this wasn’t part of the ‘homely’ feel I was going for. I did, however, decide to go with a small speaker I had in order to get the volume needed for the piano piece. After the performance, it was clear that this needed to be placed behind the camera as it has not come out very loud, however this is also edited before publishing the final video.
Before the performance
I was really nervous while we were going around and watching other people doing their performances and showing their videos – I felt like mine was then too long and too different (in a bad way). These ideas that were coming into my head were not helping with confidence levels to start the performance. I honestly then felt quite sick with nervousness.
Starting the performance (How to bring the audience to the performance area)
I had thought that everyone would naturally migrate to the area that I was in, and I would start the performance from there. This was not everyone else’s plans. I ended up playing one of my favourite riffs in order to calm my nerves and get everyone in the room. They were given instructions beforehand to enter while playing that riff and to sit around the room and to make themselves comfortable. I took the inspiration of allowing people to walk in from Vanessa Beecroft.