A Connection Like a Full Moon

Is increased audience participation the great musical trend of our time?

In Backnang, southern Germany, a concert reaches for the finish line. We settle on a simple, short hornpipe as an encore, something unrehearsed. The audience perceives a shift. Convention slips away. They feel for the pulse in the piece and start to clap along, their stamping travels under us. It feels like a release. The room is one, a connection like a full moon. They shift from being spectator to creator, the music carrying the expression of over one hundred rather than two. ‘They’ve been waiting to do that all night,’ another musician says afterwards.

Three months on, it is a memorable moment – audience participation doesn’t always work, but when music manages to balance itself on a wave of communal energy, it is a powerful thing.

For much of human history, we were all participators in music. With no recordings or easy access to professional performances, music was more Continue reading