Gibbs Reflective Cycle: Dynamics - Coggle Diagram
Gibbs Reflective Cycle: Dynamics
To improve dynamic range within the song and be able to dynamically build a song over the course of the performance, applying the artist's dynamic emphasis as they did during live performances.
Prior to the experience I felt that my ability to sense and understand where the dynamics where in a song was quite sufficient, as I had always applied this concept in my own practice, writing and experience in attending jam nights.
During pre-production lessons, I also remained confident in my abilities to copy the dynamics from live performances of the song and to naturally interpret where in the song they may likely come in. However, during live performance lessons, I was caught unawares by the effect that a lack of structural knowledge would have on the focus on dynamics. Due to sometimes feeling unconfident in my knowledge of the song either structurally or in terms of chords, my focus on dynamics was greatly undermined to the point where lecturer feedback told us that the song was dynamically completely flat.
After the experience I realised that the use of dynamics during live performances take more pre-production than I had previously thought, as I often left the dynamics until the day of the performance. I also felt that I had a less sufficient dynamic ability than I had previously thought and therefore needed more practice and to pay more attention to live performances by the artist themselves.
What went well during the experience was the gradual improvement of my understanding of where dynamics arose and fell during the song and how to dynamically build a song from start to finish. Things like consciously playing louder in the chorus and quieter in the verse (as opposed to getting carried away and slowly playing louder and faster over the course of the entire song regardless of the section) I learned from lecturer feedback. This informed me on how I was utilising and interpreting dynamics and drew my focus to developing it.
What went badly during the experience was my unconscious neglect of dynamics because of my lack of structural focus in some songs. Being unconfident on physically playing the song left no room for dynamic focus. Furthermore, leaving dynamics until the day of the performance also prevented this.
However, the overall experience was positive as I improved my use of dynamics in the songs, taking on lecturer feedback of where to play louder, harder or quieter, softer and by the end was able to dynamically build a song from start to finish.
What caused a lack of live dynamics was possibly that it was difficult to articulate dynamics in pre-production lessons as they were not practical like the live performance lessons. This meant that oftentimes dynamics were left until the day of either full band rehearsal or performance to be focused on.
What went well was the fact that I achieved my initial aim of improving my utilisation and understanding of dynamics within songs. This was due to both lecturer feedback on where to play louder or quieter and watching live performances from the artist themselves and learning where the dynamic hits were in the song. This led to a far more accurate and well rounded understanding of where to include dynamics over the course of the song.
This could have been avoided by ensuring that structure is fully understood to enable a focus on dynamics and also that dynamics are worked on with a full band in rehearsals prior to the performance day.
Conclusively, what I could have done differently was to ensure that not only was I always completely confident on structure prior to performance lessons but also that I had focused on dynamics too. I could have done this by listening to both the live and studio versions of the song to determine where the dynamic pathways were.
What stopped me from effectively inputting dynamics was most often the fact that I was not confident enough on structure and therefore lost the ability to focus so much on dynamics.
During the experience I learned not only that my dynamic ability was perhaps more easily undermined by nerves than I had previously thought but also that simply because a song is slower and quieter does not necessarily indicate a lack of dynamics or allow for less dynamics preparation.
Overall, however, I achieved the learning goals that I had set out for myself and was able to effectively use dynamics within a song to build and shape it.
In order to be better prepared for this experience in the future, I will take specific steps to focus on the following two priority areas; initially, I need to ensure that structural and melodic foundations are solid before focusing on dynamics. In addition, I also should pay attention to where the artist implements dynamics throughout the song in live performances, comparing this to studio recordings too.