Saturday, January 28, 2006

Why do people play concerts?

Last night I played my first (first ever) violin recital. I have played viola recitals, but my pianist friend and I thought it would be fun to explore the violin repertoire.

It is a lot of work to play a recital, and the benefits that come from the process of practicing, rehearsing, publicizing, and performing are completely intangible. Everything vanishes into thin air as soon as you finish playing. A recording captures only the surface of the experience, and with it most of the mistakes.

I can't speak for everyone, but most musicians worry before performing (at least before playing a solo or chamber music concert). We worry about playing the right notes at the right time. We worry about making a good sound. We worry about physical comfort on stage. We hope that we are not getting sick. We think about what we eat and when we eat it. We worry about our instruments. We all double check to make sure that we have our music. We worry about making stupid mistakes and getting lost. We practice and rehearse in order to be prepared for whatever happens.

Most musicians' main concerns are to play the music accurately, and to establish a connection with our performing partners and our audience. We try to bring out as much of the beauty in the music as possible. We know that the performance is a succesful one if we have a good time playing.

The best compliment I can get after a concert is "I liked (this or that) piece," or "I enjoyed myself." Playing music for people is all about enjoyment. It should be a time when everyone is focused on what they hear--both the performers and the audience.

Everyone who plays any concert has moments that go better than other moments. We all make mistakes. Some are blatant and some are veiled. Anybody who goes to a concert to "keep score" of the mistakes that the people playing the concert make would probably be happier at a sporting event or a game show.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the excitement and adrenalin of performing. I also love the feeling of a job well done, even if I didn't play perfectly. It's just fun.