Klarinet Archive - Posting 000217.txt from 1996/01
From: "Gregory T. Wright" <103147.1471@-----.COM>
Subj: Pre-performance Jitters
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 21:30:54 -0500
I don't have a specific remedy for these things, but I do have an
interesting experience to share which might provide some insight.
My college Senior Recital was the most incredibly tense night of my
performing life (so far. I haven't yet done Carnegie :-). All I could think of
was, "The last six years" - (I added a composition major) - "of my life are
coming down to this *ONE NIGHT*. It didn't matter that I was the proud composer
of the sax quartet on the program. Nothing mattered. THIS IS IT.
I lived through it, and did a good job. My quartet ("Short and Suite")
went well. That was the end of my stage fright until recently...
For medical reasons, I didn't perform for about the last year and a half
Medication left me awake enough to work, but I felt too "gorked" to do my best,
sonically. Finally, this is no longer a problem, so I rejoined a local concert
band. In our first performance we played "Selections from Oliver", and I had a
solo on "As Long As He Needs Me". This is not difficult, by any means. The
high number of sustained E-concert (nasty open C# for Eb sax) pitches and the
rubato required were the most difficult things for me to adjust to, but by
performance time these were set. The performance was in a local Senior Citizen's
Center. Guests found SRO (in the small R). I was fine until (flam taps) the
solo came around. Suddenly, I was PETRIFIED. One fellow player commented on
my nice, full (sax) vibrato. Funny that I hadn't tried for a vibrato that was
worth special attention or comment...
Now that I've performed more times this season (including on euphonium
for a TubaChristmas event) I find much more ease on stage, but the most puzzling
thing for me is this: I teach music in two Flint, MI elementary schools.
Therefore, I "perform" for about 1000 students each week.. If "performing" was
such a stressful thing, why did I not feel it at work? The horn? Hmmm...
I'm just glad that the days of rampant stage fear are again behind me
(.... but for how long???). Now I can resume the _enjoyment_ of performance. I
guess the moral of my story would be, "If you don't use it, you lose it."
Perhaps if fear is problematic, the way to fight it is to get yourself on stage
more often. By the time TubaChristmas rolled around I felt fine, even on a
Gregory T. Wright