Real music, not re-mastered

Whether inside a packed arena with 18,000 screaming fans rocking out to The Black Keys, or lounging on a grassy lawn at the Hollywood Bowl singing along to John Mayer’s soulfully bittersweet love songs, live performances are worth the feet-stomping, grass stains and sunburns just to feel engaged with the performers baring their souls through their music.

Experiencing a live musical performance can be an amazing experience.

At times, artists hold their microphones out to an audience singing along, personalizing the experience and creating a sense of community — a community that would not be found at a dance club spinning tracks. But, whether that microphone is turned on or not makes all the difference.

Musicians, singers and entertainers should not be allowed to use lip synchronization, a technical term for matching lip movements with prerecorded vocals, because it negates a great experience.

Santa Monica College student Michelle Friedman, a music therapy major, is strongly against artists lip-syncing at live performances.

“If you’re a performer, your goal is to perform,” Friedman says.

Friedman elaborates about how it is not fair to those artists who do perform live and work hard to create a special performance.

SMC associate professor of voice Janelle DeStefano, who has been a vocal coach and professional singer for 20 years, strongly disapproves of lip-syncing.

“I think the most amazing part of a live performance is that it’s live,” DeStefano says. “You’re watching a human being do something that we perceive as almost superhuman, and they’re able to use their voice, and evoke emotion from us in such an exciting way.”

Although at times theatrically impressive, lip-synced concerts lack sincerity and are not as personal.

“You don’t get that human connection of someone giving themselves in the moment," DeStefano says. "If you listen to recordings that are just live recordings, there are always mistakes being made, and it wouldn’t be a live performance if there weren’t. Part of being a performer is learning how to deal with that."

Live music allows fans to connect with performers on a personal level, which is something special that can not be manufactured.

Artists are under so much pressure to be perfect live, which, with today's technology, seems realistic, but I do not want perfect. I would rather hear something real and imperfect, than something remastered.

"Sometimes, it’s even the imperfections that we find the most engaging,” DeStefano says.