On playing at concerts

I am wondering what is happening to me in this last year, as I have helplessy seen myself becoming less and less involved in performing publicly with my orchestra.

I have many years experience with concerts and I lost quite early the panic right before walking on stage, and the stress on stage; until recently I enjoyed playing for the audience, let people feel the emotions of a given piece of music together with us and possibly the soul of the author.

A couple years ago something changed – something broke, I could say. I felt that my most enjoyable moments happened at the rehearsals, usually around the last one, then the concert felt like an unnecessary burden. Getting dressed, preparing everything to look good and be able to move silently on stage looked like acting, bad acting.

I talked about that with my drums teacher and he described how he feels instead. I could clearly understand how he feels the responsibility of playing well at concerts, how concerts are the necessary final step of a long preparation. But something in me is disillusioned. Even at concerts that I attend as part of the audience, the magic is gone. Still, I feel the musicians closer than before; I feel I am on stage too and we are not part of the show, because we are part of the backstage. I fell in the backstage and can’t (won’t?) get back to the limelight.

I don’t know if I will be happy to play at concerts again; I don’t really care now. What is important at the moment is that I understand what is the most important thing for me instead, get it to perfection and move on. It is maybe the attention to movement (see all posts about that!), the timeless practice of a small quirk, finding the sparkles of joy in other musicians’ concerts. For example, I totally love how relaxed and focused are the players of Combattimento Consort of Amsterdam, while playing Bach’s Christmas Oratorium:

Starting from the conductor, I see so much enthusiasm, closeness, confidence, flow, fun. There is even a moment when the conductor lets the string quartet play on their own, and simply listens to them. This is definitely how I would like to feel on stage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s