What makes a performance sound professional? Does this impression of professionalism change when it's a violinist (or other musician) listening, versus joe average non-musician in the audience?
I've been led to ponder this question because, as part of my performance preparation, I've been listening to not just commercial recordings of what I'm working on, but also watching a lot of YouTube videos of the piece being played by students -- pre-conservatory kids, undergrad and grad-level performance recitals, and no-name pros (some of whom are performers -- mostly orchestra musicians -- but some who are mostly educators and such).
These performances exist within a broad band of technical and musical accomplishment. None of them are immaculate and compelling in the way that we're accustomed to hearing on recording, or even live from top-tier soloists, though. It's hard to decide what constitutes a professional performance -- especially when the pros in question aren't even playing with the same level of technical accomplishment as more gifted pre-conservatory students. Yet by dint of the fact that they are pros, what they are doing is presumably by definition professional performance.
I know that I currently sound like an amateur, for instance, but I'm hard-pressed to say exactly what causes that. Too many unpolished edges and unpredictability under performance conditions, perhaps.
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