mirror neurons and performance
a friend was giving me feedback on my performance the other day. he was telling me it’s not just about tripping to your music while playing - that the artist needs to engage her audience. he’s right: an artist DOES need to do that. but he fails to see the many ways by which this can be done.
enter mirror neurons.
these are certain neurons in your brain that ‘mirror’ the same response that you observe. eg - when you see someone cut himself, your mirror neurons fire the same signals it would if YOU had cut your hand. in this way you ‘feel’ his pain. mirror neurons are the reason we feel empathy - and why we love watching movies. actors are basically exploiting your mirror neuron’s ability to make you feel a certain way.* it’s much more complex and inextricably linked to our nature but we’re only concerned with their relation to performance for now.
so if we apply this principle to watching an artist trip while performing, we can be sure that we’ll feel the same way she does while she loses herself.
* that’s probably also why you want to smoke when you see someone smoke in a movie (and hence the ‘pointless’ warning against smoking at the bottom of the screen every time someone lights up).