I was 20 and I had been in the US for just a little over three months, when my conducting teacher gave me a free ticket to the local symphony of which he was the concertmaster.
At the end of the concert he introduced me to the conductor. What went through my mind was: "I barely speak English, and anyways, who am I, this young student, to compliment him, this great performer?" So I said hi shyly, and off I went.
My teacher caught up to me and said in a stern voice: "talking to a performer after a concert, you always want to find at least one thing you liked, whether it was something throughout the concert, or one small passage, to compliment them on. Talking about something specific from the concert will always mean more to a performer than if you say "good job," or worse yet, nothing."
The other lesson comes from my dad, who taught me to never tun down a compliment, and to never change its meaning, such as changing "you look great today" into "oh, do I look like crap the rest of the time?" If you do, people will learn quickly to stop giving you compliments and you'll stop receiving them, even when you do deserve them.
As a performer, the world gets divided into two groups: the people who do what you do and to whom you want to be nice, if not for networking, at least for good human behavior; and your audience, who you better be nice to you if you want them to stick by your side.
Remember the two rules of compliments: give them, and take them.
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Posted by Geraldine at 8:25 AM