Mr. P.C., the musical and digital counterpart of the print world’s Dear Abby, continues to dispense wisdom on the web by way of Facebook. On occasion, we steal from him. So far, Mr. P.C.’s legal watchdogs have not taken us to court. Here is a bit of knowledge he shared today with an inquiring musician.
Dear Mr. P.C.:
When people in the audience are talking, it goes without saying that they’re not listening to the band. But for the rest of the audience, how do you know when they’re actually listening as opposed to just thinking about something else altogether? —Unheard in Utah
Any jazz musician used to scanning the audience will tell you that there’s an identifiable “active listening” posture: Eyes closed, face gently smiling, head bent down and nodding slightly, as if in agreement with the music.
The ability to listen this way grows with maturity—just look at retirement home audiences. Not only do they assume the posture throughout the concert; often they’re so deeply moved that they maintain it long after the band has headed home.
Mr. P.C. has been known to shed his counselor guise and appear in public as the Seattle pianist Bill Anschell. He did that here with Idaho saxophonist and frequent Mr. P.C. collaborator Brent Jensen.
Mr. P.C.’s digital career began with All About Jazz. To sample his recent contributions to that venerable and indispensable blog, go here.