I am pretty relaxed person. When I am going into a performance I don’t get extremely nervous. I get all the usually symptoms such as sweaty hands that seem stiff and my inner voice is talking away at me but how does being calm on the outside effect how people interpret the piece you are playing? Let me know what you think.
When I watch someone perform calmly, I can focus on what is coming from the instrument. The music washes over me, and my focus is on what I am hearing. There is nothing else to focus on or look at. And I love that! I have watched many great performers who are “physically enthusiastic,” meaning they take visible/audible breaths, are dramatic in their gestures, move the harp back and forth a lot, etc. And their music is lovely and expressive! I can see that their actions help them! But I notice that I spend a lot of time watching and being mesmerized by them, and a little less on the music.
Then there are people who are visibly nervous when they perform… I just feel bad to see their shaky hands and eyes jumping all over the harp… I want to sit next to them and whisper “It’s ok, you’ve got this. Take deep breaths….” So I am not able to pay attention to the beauty of the music because I am internally rooting for them with my inner voice, and I can’t relax because they can’t relax!
So, calm performers are great! I bet people love to watch and listen to you play!
Calmness is a luxury and happens if you don’t need to worry too much, then you become the player instead of an actor – so I guess that if you are prepared and enjoying the occasion, calmness with alertness and focus bring it all together. The pain of the harp is that the logistics of just getting there in one piece, parking and getting inside and then hanging around a lot often distracts us from the normal daily routine so I try to allow myself plenty of time to get there early and plan the rest of the day to my convenience.
“logistics of just getting there in one piece, parking and getting inside”
Alison- I was laughing out loud when I read that….so true. I often feel that the playing is the easy part of doing the job. I rest on the bench and think…thank God…now I can just sit and play! …until it’s over and I have to get all my gear back out and loaded again.
I remember someone on the old piano forum I used to participate in remarking that when his band played a wedding, he always told the bride and/or planner that they were being paid to haul their stuff back and forth to the event, and that while there, they played for free. Otherwise, he said they used to get dinged by people saying, “We paid you to play for TWO HOURS, and you only played for 104 minutes,” and stuff like that. o_O Telling the bride that they were on the clock from the second they started loading the car and right up until they unloaded their gear at home forestalled that sort of nonsense.
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