Singing with the Audience

In his short performance, Bobby McFerrin manages to engage his audience and invite them into his piece from the get-go. While this isn’t necessarily a storytelling piece, it reflects good methods to involve the audience: merely inviting them in and letting them choose whether or not to accept the invitation. If the audience had not accepted, his piece wouldn’t have worked as well as it did, because when he breaks away from the audience and has them continue, he needs their support to make it all come together. In the end, it works out magnificently, and without words, McFerrin creates a song accompanied by a little dance that involves the entire audience.


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4 Responses to Singing with the Audience

  1. Jake says:

    I find this really powerful not only because of how much the audience was invited to participate and play a huge part in the performance but because it incorporated music. While not a story in itself, the performance seemed like it could a. produce a wonderful story to tell for all who were there and b. music as a form of bringing people together has a certain power, I believe, that binds people together through some deep and supernatural power. I really appreciate the way that communities are formed by sharing a musical experience or through different music scenes and I think that the use of music can and has been utilized for its power of drawing people together. When an entire group of people participates in a musical performance, I think it brings even greater importance to the occasion because everyone has a greater ownership of the final product and the entire experience. I think that this kind of thing can be strongly utilized in storytelling by drawing strongly on audience interaction and participation not just in telling a story but also in shaping the story. I also really like the idea of using music within a story in any form to draw on that power that it has over people and groups and create a more together audience group and build a more powerful and perhaps even more whole experience of a story.

  2. Miriam Beit-Aharon says:

    I agree with Jake that using music within a story in that kind of communal way can be very powerful. Music is very expressive even if we were to just repeat a note a bunch of times, and getting a large group to sing together means that each person is expressing themselves and contributing to the larger group’s energy. I just am wondering, and this video partly addresses the queston of how complicated musically can we go with a large group?

  3. Nate says:

    What I find fascinating about this is that even though it was an aural activity, the performer made it visual by placing himself as the notes they were to sing. By both using audio and visual performance at the same time, he maximized the connection potential between the audience and in this case the performer/teller. He held the audiences attention by playing a game with them involving his body and sound. The audience’s interest was kept by having to guess what note to go to next. I agree with Jakes comment about music in storytelling. There are several stories that i know and have seen that have utilized music as a means to get younger audiences to participate and stay engaged. It’s an awesome tool to use with storytelling audiences.

    Miriam-I know what you mean, the important thing is to find that blanace of diffculty that will appeal to audiences of all musical skill levels. I think it could be done basically etc. Songs that incorporate a catchy rhyme(I think I mispelled that lol) or tune. I’ve also seen performances done in which the audiences put in words for the lyrics, which make the whole experience extremely intergenerational.

  4. Mike Goulding says:

    This video is really cool. McFerrin uses his body as well as basic tones to pull the audience in as a part of the performance. As one watches, you notice that McFerrin and audience are creating something beyond a demonstration meant to teach, they are creating a work of art, a performance. They have created something that can be replicated and practiced as a given form. McFerrin made for a performance that was clearly both more enteraining and much more of a learned experience than that of a lecture or such (even thought that performance was part of a larger lecture). This was an interactive form of performance and clearly worked as Mcferrin read his audience well. This is something I can see myself having to work very hard at this form of performance, because of how outgoing ready the performer has to be pull the audience in.

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