Friday, 2 August 2019

Share your encore

After performing a concerto at a concert, and taking several bows in recognition of the audience's applause and acclaim, a soloist will often play an encore.

This is a short piece played in recognition of the audience's appreciation. It will in some way contrast with or complement the concerto previously performed and also provide an additional opportunity for the soloist to show off his or her musical skills, be this fast-fingered passage work or the ability to express the beauty of a simple melody.

Traditionally, the encore has kept the spotlight on the soloist. Recently, however, soloists have begun to share the spotlight with others. This happened during a 2019 Promenade Concert. Joshua Bell had performed the Dvorak Violin Concerto. As an encore, he joined two players from the orchestra to perform another piece by Dvorak: a movement from the Cavatina for Two Violins and Viola.

Apart from providing novelty, which the audience enjoyed, this encore achieved three other things:

  1. It demonstrated Joshua Bell's willingness to share the spotlight with others.
  2. It publicly acknowledged the skills of the orchestra and their contribution to the successful performance of the Dvorak Concerto. (The second violin player was the leader of the orchestra; this symbolism would have been appreciated by audience and orchestra alike.)
  3. It shone a spotlight on a section of the orchestra that almost always plays a supporting part: the violas.                  
We can all benefit from adopting and adapting Joshua Bell's encore approach. Make sure those who support your achievements are able to share the spotlight of your recognition. Focus especially upon those who usually play supportive parts in the background. Offer your supporters meaningful roles in follow-up and "spin-off" projects and events. When you are invited to make presentations about your achievements, ensure your supporters are given the opportunity to speak about how they helped you. When you are asked to write about your achievements, do not only acknowledge the help you received but also include descriptions of how the skills and expertise of your supporters were essential to success. When awards are given to you, find ways to ensure your helpers and supporters receive their share of the acclaim.                   

By doing the above, you will demonstrate your generosity and willingness to acknowledge the expertise and contributions of others.

People will remember how you shared your encore; they will remember your generosity and willingness to share the spotlight. 

And the next time you need help, it will be willingly given.

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