Stage Performance by Livingstone Taylor

Livingstone Taylor is the less-famous but very musical younger brother of James Taylor, and a wonderful performer.

Stage Performance by Livingstone Taylor

In this book his basic premise is that a performance is a conversation between the performer and audience, and that seeing, listening to, responding to, and caring for the audience is your job (they are your employer).

Other tips include:

  • Being relaxed
  • Keeping the rhythm steady
  • Your body and other language cues the audience on how to behave and respond
  • A steady beat is your hypnotic control, lose it and you may lose your audience.
  • Reduce the complexity of what you play (if necessary to keep the rhythm and the relaxation there)
  • Know the material cold -- this frees up brain bandwidth to allow you to receive from and respond to the audience -- you are playing for them, not for yourself.
  • Every audience and hence every performance is unique

He has a lot of practical tips too, on everything from lighting to travel to hecklers to drugs.

I like Liv a lot, and I can relate to him because he is still a real performer (not a superstar) who puts all the channels together to make a living -- he still plays small clubs and even the occasional Chinese restaurant, and has been known to clean windows and bathrooms when he checks on the place hours before his performance (not for the club owners, for his audience)

. Peter Inglis thanks Bruce Irving for this review.