I have a performance coming up on April 27, and as my piano accompaniest had to cancel, I was on the hunt for a replacement. I spoke with one individual who is very proficient at playing piano and asked if she would be able to assist me. She explained that because of nerves, she wouldn't be able to play in that type of situation. Fortunately, since that time, I have been able to find another accompaniest, but the experience caused be to reflect on nervousness in regards to my own performance history. In terms of whatever physiological mechanisms come into play when one experiences nervousness before a performance, I have almost always found that it is actually a good thing. My concentration level is greater, and I also seem to have more energy in my playing which I am able to channel into the dynamics of the piece I am playing and the manner in which I am playing it. I wonder if my feelings in this regard are a common feeling among violinists.
In one of my previous entries, I mentioned an experience I had in a music store on one occassion in playing a viola. Actually, I have had more than one of those types of experiences. Along with being a violinist, I also play piano as well. In passing music stores selling pianos, I sometimes will stop in and just sit down to play the various pianos to listen to their different voices. Many a store has had the likes of Fur Elise, or pieces from Bach or Handel or other such selections eminating from their confines. As I think of these scenarios, I guess they are kind of my own little contribution to the world belonging to street musicians and those types of individuals. I actually have a great admiration for street musicians. For whatever their lot in life is, they always seem relatively happy with playing for others in the manner they do, and so share that gift of happiness through music with others who happen to be passing by. Maybe that's what the world really needs, less war, less politics, less violence, and more street musicians.
A Humorous Experience
I don't often have the opportunity to play the viola, but every once in awhile the opportunity will present itself. I can remember the first time I ever picked up a viola to try was in a music store a number of years ago. At that point, I had already been playing the violin for several years, and so in picking up the viola, I just made a few ajustments in my fingering and I was off and running.
As I was playing, a small crowd began to gather to listen to me and after I had finished the short piece that I was playing, they commented that I must have played for a very long time. Of course I couldn't resist telling them that that was the first time I had ever picked up the instrument in my life. Of course their jaws dropped in hearing this, and I got a chuckle out of it. Afterward I explained that I was a violinist and that the viola was very similar to the violin in many ways and that was why I was able to play it. It was quite a funny experience.
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