Performance vs Precision

Mr Seah circa 2008

Mr Seah circa 2008

One of my old band members once said of me: “The reason I like Kevin’s playing is not that he’s technical. He’s not. He’s not the fastest player I’ve ever seen, I think (our old bassist) was faster. But while (our old bassist) was faster, Kevin’s playing is just more entertaining. With (our old bassist), it felt like I had to hit every note precisely, but with Kevin I feel like I can rock out.”

I think that’s the task for every kind of performer. If you’re a teacher, it doesn’t matter that you speak with imprecise grammar, as long as your pass your passion for your subject on — even if you’re an English teacher (but only to the extent that your speech can still be labeled as “international” English and not Singlish, la).

So many singer-songwriters I see these days are just concerned with hitting the notes. Come on. Musicians are not just called on to be precise machines, we are called on to entertain, to shock, to amuse, even to enlighten. If listeners really wanted precision and nothing else, midi-controlled music would be dominating our airwaves. But we still have armies of singers and bands performing live, making the mistakes and ‘mistakes’ that identify us as living, breathing, feeling human beings.

If you’re a performer, go out there and perform. That’s your calling.