Authentic Performance

This week ABC Classic FM is running through The Classic 100 ten years on. As well as playing music there are some great discussions around each piece chosen. On Tuesday Christopher Lawrence and Emma Ayres discussed the merits of live recordings compared to studio recordings. They discussed the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Mahler’s Symphony No 1 in D. Vladimir Ashkenazy conducted this performance.
Christopher and Emma’s discussion prompted me to think about parallels with training and competition in sport. What constitutes authentic performance in sport? Like music, the live dynamics of sport deliver particular configurations of activity, technical virtuosity and tactical efficiency. There is pace, rhythm and tempo … but no going back.

Sri Lanka’s victory in the first one day cricket international against Australia at the MCG is a great case in point. Notwithstanding all the training and practice that occurs, counter-intuitive outcomes are always possible. Whichever way you see it Sri Lanka snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and in the wonderful binary world of win-lose Australia snathched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Do we look to captains and conductors for performance or do we need a much wider sense of teams and orchestras? What are the conditions that render the fidelity of transfer from practice to live performance? Where does mental rehearsal fit in?
Some references:
Alexandra G. Sotiropoulou and David B. Fleming (1983) Comparison of acoustic experience of studio recordings and live concerts.

J M Beaubien and  D P Baker (2004) The use of simulation for training teamwork skills in health care: how low can you go?

Neil Charness and Michael Tuffiash (2008) The Role of Expertise Research and Human Factors in Capturing, Explaining, and Producing Superior Performance

Marko Rodriguez et al (2009) A Grateful Dead Analysis
Photo Credits
Listening to Street Musicians
Cricket at the MCG



  1. The organisational culture of the Raiders “team” must be a concern if it was ‘mates’ who take/send/witness such a photo. The ethos in excellent teams of “let’s look after one another” seems to be missing. If was present in any strong sense of integrity and care the hideous incident would not have been publicised and could have been addressed personally.
    Re the piece about the time of change in rugby I recall being asked by a top New Zealand coach adviser what changes would occur with the onset of professional rugby and what the next step of coach initiatives might be and the reply is still relevant: “What does this sport mean to you?”
    One of the stimulating links with creativity and ‘coaching’ is Penelope Hanstein’s “Art Making and the Art of Leadership: An Aesthetics of Action For Change”, the area of her doctoral study. It resonates with the ethos of your Blog.

    • Robin, what excellent points. Thank you. I will follow up on the reference you mention. Thanks for visiting the blog. Best wishes, Keith


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