I love it when members of the audience approach me after concerts. (I mean, who hates compliments?) But I’m sometimes surprised and puzzled at the things they say. The most common one I get is some variation on “You look like you’re having fun!”
I guess I was really hoping that they’d say they’d liked the music, or my interpretation of it. Maybe they did, but lacked the technical vocabulary to say so?
Then again, when I’m teaching students who seem to lack energy, I often admonish them “Come on, look lively! You look like you’re attending a funeral! Would it kill you to make me think that you like music, or that music is fun?”
Perhaps it’s the same thing—the idea that we want a performer to look as if she’s enjoying making music so that we may be drawn into that enjoyment.
Then again, these days the main comment I get is “You have a black cello! What’s it made of?” (I sure do. Carbon fiber!)