The Language of Rock
Date: Sunday, February 15, 2009 @ 18:54:03 CST
Topic: Reference


How well do you know your favorite rock star? Translating the unsung vernacular of the stage

How well do you know your favorite rock star? Even from the cheap seats, concert-goers take in a steady stream of information about the personality and attitudes of performers on stage.

Palm Reading

Reaching out to the crowd signifies friendliness or just the opposite. Rap artists tend to beat the air with a downward facing palm, a message that's aggressive, says David Givens, director of the Center for Nonverbal Studies in Spokane, Washington.


Pop God in the Making

How does a performer become an icon? People who strip down their image—think Madonna's sexuality and Prince's mysteriousness—have the best shot at becoming a legend.


Wallflower Connection

Although introverts may not light up the stage, they often make the best performers. Shy musicians pick up on the crowd's energy, which creates a closer, more authentic connection.


Follow the Toes

Turned-in toes exude submissiveness, which appeals to an audience. "The classic case is Elvis Presley," says Givens. "The pigeon-toed stance drew the crowd closer to him."


Hair Band

Women love an unmanaged mane. "Even 60-year-old guys like the Rolling Stones still have this unkempt appearance that makes women want to nurture them," says Givens.


The Eyes Have It

Though singing with closed eyes may feel natural for performers, vocal coach Lis Lewis tells clients, including Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani, that open eyes create an audience connection. Concert-goers understand that closed lids signify reflection, but the audience won't be as emotionally involved with the show, she says.


The Essence of Presence

They say an extrovert fills a room and the same is true of a stage. "Mick Jagger uses every inch of the stage," says Givens.


Lean on Me

Musicians who nod or make frequent eye contact with band mates may betray an introverted personality.


Be Organic

When it comes to rock music, only amateur performers accompany their music with literal, preplanned gestures. "Movements have to come from a very intuitive place," Lewis says. "Rock is more raw than pop; it's a cathartic event."


excerpt from Psychology Today by Katie Gilbert





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