Making Your Performance Work (for Everyone) (2 hours)
Michael Smolens
Saturday, June 21, 2014, 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Lead Belly Stage - Room #333


This workshop is designed to benefit anyone on the performance spectrum - from someone who has never performed to a highly-experienced performer (and everyone in between). Solo or ensemble, original or cover, vocal or instrumental - all are welcome. Some of the topics we'll address are:

  • Clarifying your own motivation(s) for performing.
  • Designing a well-timed performance date.
  • Choosing an appropriate venue.
  • Creating an effective setlist
  • Building a comprehensive checklist for your peace of mind.
  • Sculpting your performance day to set you up for success.
  • Harnessing the power of your role models.
  • Learning how to practice for both detail and overall shape.
  • Creating performance-specific criteria to compassionately evaluate your performance.

Most of the time will be devoted to having participants perform and receiving feedback. This workshop uses a radical format. Typical performance workshops either have no feedback, or in contrast, highly opinionated comments by the leader. In this workshop, each performer will be able to choose exactly what kind of feedback they want based on the principles of "Full Circle Communication"-a method of fielding comments developed over three decades to insure clarity and safety for the performer. "FCC" will also help you to record yourself more frequently in effective preparation for any performance.

Those who have not yet begun to perform will find both portions of the workshop to be an excellent resource for preparation, and a clear alternative to the "trial-by-fire" approach so frequently experienced. Those who are more seasoned will streamline and clarify their efforts, while teachers will find the feedback management method invaluable.

Due to extensive preliminary interaction with participants at the workshop's beginning, those arriving after 4:20 may attend only as non-participating observers.

Michael Smolens is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who has been performing in a wide variety of venues since 1970. From restaurants, churches, and private homes, to wineries, outdoor ritual events, and major concert venues (six times at Yoshi's NiteSpot); and in styles ranging from jazz, classical and various world musics to folk, gospel, and pop. Michael has been featured in contexts ranging from solo to large ensembles, playing both original and non-original music, and as a bandleader and a side person. Additionally, he has accompanied vocalists, instrumentalists, spoken word artists, and a host of variety artists