Sometimes I see “challenges” similar to this posted on social media sites: can you find the letter J in the image below?
Of course you can. It’s not at all difficult. (But if someone online can convince you that it is, and that you’re one of the “special” few who can do it, then maybe you will “share” or “like” or whatever.)
Human brains are highly attuned to patterns. I’m not a brain scientist, but I suspect that’s why we like nice steady tempos so much. Dance music (from the Western Classical tradition to Country and Western to EDM) tends to have rock-solid pulses that make us want to move our bodies. Unsteady or inconsistent tempos? Not so much.
Have you ever been in a room with badly-hung wallpaper? A little gap or crookedness is immediately noticeable, and annoying.
In musical performance, little inconsistencies in patterns can be similarly distracting. Whether it’s a bebop tune or a baroque sonata, a tempo that varies when it shouldn’t is bad news. So is an unsteady trill, an uneven run, or off-kilter vibrato. An imperfection in the pattern breaks the spell.
While most kinds of music do place value on organic, human, dynamic elements, those need to be balanced against consistent, steady technique. For most of us, that means some long hours with the metronome, training our bodies to move predictably and unerringly.
To help your performance feel good, and get your audience tapping their feet, make sure the wallpaper is hung with care and precision.