Performing introvert

A news article about circus performers triggered some thoughts about performing musicians, especially performing songwriters, especially introverted performing singer/songwriters. Extroverts can skip this post.

It’s not usual for an extrovert to be a performer. Extroverts get energy from the applause of the crowd. Introverts who perform are a whole ‘nother story.

Introverts (and I speak from experience here) do not get their energy from the applause and attentions of others. We introverts refuel in solitude. Being the introverted on-stage performer takes a toll on us, quite the reverse from the affect it has on real extroverts.

The article talked about a pair of performers in a cirus that does two shows a day. So the couple does their routine twice daily, but here’s the kicker – their part of the show takes only six minutes. They are required to be onstage and emotionally ‘on’ for only twelve minutes a day. I figure even an introvert can handle this.

To extrapolate that to a traveling singer/songwriter situation, the on-stage time might be sixty, ninety minutes per performance, but it’s still a limited amount of time. From an introvert’s perspective, it would be an intense period of forced extroversion after which we are physically exhausted and emotionally spent.

The good news is, the performance is finite. Even introverts can gear ourselves up to put out the energy it takes to be onstage, schmoozing the audience, delivering the songs and patter with gusto and essentially becoming an extrovert, as long as we know it’s only going to be an hour and then we can retreat, maybe not into complete solitude, but at least to a smaller group to interact with. The personality assessment folks call us ‘professional extroverts’ (introverts who can act like extroverts when needed for our careers).

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One Response to “Performing introvert”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    As a singer and bandleader I totally relate to this. Nice article. Thanks!

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