Charisma: The Power of the Performer

The recent regretful incident with a prominent violinist in London (“return of a legend” as the promoter described the event) made me think about the connection between the musician and the audience. What makes a musician and audience connect? Is it the only musical prowess or perfection? Is it the interpretation? What makes a musician a performer? A performer is more than a musician. A performer involves the audience.

Understandably, a musician needs to have a certain caliber to perform professionally. Education, training, experience etc. naturally count for a lot. How does a busker or a street performer get more attention i.e. money at the end of the day? For me, it all comes down to one single element that never gets discussed namely, Charisma.

Charisma is the one element that differentiates good musicians from great musicians. And how does charisma work and what does one need to be a charismatic performer?

According to Olivia Cabane Fox, author of the same named book, Charisma needs three key elements:

Presence – The foundation of charisma. True presence means to be fully present in the moment. It is the element that is most sought out by leaders. When every person you are playing to gets the sensation that you are fully focused on him or her, they are more inclined to trust you and like you.

Power – This is your perception to affect the world around you. Body language is the strongest indicator of physical power. Think of a military pose and the immediate physiological shift that takes place with it. When you assume a more confident posture your mind aligns to it.

Warmth – Learn to remove obstacles to warmth by creating stories in your mind that make you more empathetic towards the audience. Choose the version of you that puts the audience in the best possible light. I like to call it empathy. Create a spray of empathy.

Charisma can be learned and trained. Exactly in the same way as learning a symphony or an Aria. I see wonderful artists communicating with the audience not only through their instrument (which is no different to buying a CD). Creating an empathetic bond between the performer and audience is key. It is the personal human touch that makes us like and want more.

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