I’m frustrated with the classical-music profession and the fact that stage fright is still a touchy subject, despite the huge pressures on musicians. My story is not unique. Many classical musicians struggle alone, masking their nerves with beta blockers and alcohol, ashamed, as I was. For some reason, it is more acceptable to admit frailty in the world of rock and pop.
If this magic stillness at the end makes you feel like not clapping, then just don’t. I’ll understand.
I actually have had this experience. Our new voice teacher at my college gave a recital, and he ended his first set with “Bright is the Ring of Words” by Vaughn Williams. His performance was so vibrant and joyful that I didn’t want to clap. I just wanted to smile and laugh, and I guess the rest of the audience felt that way, too. There was an uncomfortable silence while we all scrambled for our programs to see if that was the end of the set. He asked me later, “Were the programs unclear?” and I just replied, “No. We just enjoyed it that much and we wanted you to go on.”
Well… you can’t win them all, I guess.
To say I crashed and burned today would be a massive understatement. Not entirely sure what went wrong… It was sort of a bad morning to begin with. And I really hate having lessons on Sundays right after church. I get so little time to prepare and get my brain in order. I mean… that’s no excuse for playing poorly, I guess, but it’s still frustrating. I hope we can change that soon. Things still haven’t settled down for either of us schedule-wise.
I did show some progress, especially on the “Arabesque,” but for all my work on “Tendre Fleur” I just completely folded on it. Not sure why or what went wrong, but it’s water under the bridge now I guess.
Last week, a few days after my lesson, my teacher informed me that he thought I was ready for “big girl music,” and assigned me prelude #6 “Footprints in the Snow” by Debussy. It’s somewhat daunting… even though it’s slow (quarter = 44) it’s dense. I’m going to learn a lot from it, especially regarding pedaling technique, which I’m admittedly weak on.
Oh well… so much for that lesson. Onward and overward…
In letters to two of his friends in summer 1916, Ravel, on army service as a truck driver, wryly notes his unsuitability for a military career, having spent spare moments notating bird calls.
—Roy Howat, “The Art of French Piano Music” (via rachellebutler)