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Royce Faina

Performance Mistakes, Just Barking Dogs.

May 21, 2012 at 3:18 PM

From the day of my first recital when I was five years old to today I still get very, very nervous. Having a nervous/anxiety disorder 'does' compound things but with playing an instrument (this includes singing... the voice is an instrument too :oD) as a love & passion I have acquired many tools of life to keep a conflagration from 'consuming' me to the point of leaving me as a heap of ash to a fire that refines and that depends on the materials I have built with. Paper or wood? Or Gold and silver?
So... I have given my teacher my undivided attention, I practiced (scales, ettudes, music) dress rehersal; both home & stage. Visualization technique(s) to prepare & focus both mind and soul, be teachable which means accept constructive counsel & critique and apply it, etc. I have built this days performance with the best materials I could use.... but what about making a mistake? What "IF" I do that tricky part and I mess it up?..... "IF".
Part of the mental preperation I mentioned earlier reminds me that "IF" will always be with me, as a matter of fact it is in the center of life (there it is! L,"IF",E) "IF" is a thought... not a fact! In a recent blog Laurie guided a student's thoughts having her focuss on success over failure. Just as we can set ourselves up for what we call a "Self Fulfilling Prophesy" by allowing negative thinking sabatage us we can over come much by the reminding and focussing our thoughts that we actualy do things good and succeed! So what about making mistakes durring a performance? Never give away your mistakes. When & "IF" you make one do what you can to not even flinch, most audiences will not catch it.
Being imperfect we will make mistakes on stage and LIFE is a stage we perform on every day. We strive for perfection yet we'll settle with excellence. The thing is... overly concerned about 'every' mistake that 'could' happen can be like trying to kick every barking dog we encounter on our walk on life's road. If we try to do that we wont go very far. That saying is true whether it be a mistake or a critic. Just keep on walking, smell the roses and enjoy life! Here I am audience, and life is good!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on May 21, 2012 at 8:15 PM
Very good post! I agree with everything you said!

When I was a beginner, I would not always hear the pro's mistakes but now, I know that they do make some. Although they certainly don't give them away and are very clever to continue as if nothing happened!

I always say that if even them do some, it's just a normal part of violin playing!

You have a nice mistake philisophy : )

From Royce Faina
Posted on May 21, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Thank you Anne-Marie! Always nice to read your posts. :)
From elise stanley
Posted on May 22, 2012 at 1:30 AM
Hi Royce - I too know PA too well. I also started a topic on 'the performance paradox' the management of which you illustrate so well - the drive to perform and yet the fear of the act of performing. We had some good posts on there but I still don't understand it.

I find nothing works better than an audience thats enjoying your playing. If they enjoy it I loose my fear of error pretty quickly. Of course thats another puzzle since how are you to know they are enjoying it until you play?

I developed a trick for that in dancing (which I've done more performing in). Before competing I would walk round the floor and look at the audience (its pretty casual before the heats). Everytime I saw a friendly face - a smile from a stranger or a wave from someone I knew - I would make a mental note of where they were. Then when I danced I would do so to them.

Perhaps the same thing might work for playing? Instead of going onto the stage/podium trying to ignore the audience look straight at them and find your friends - there are probably a lot more than you think - and then when you play think of them only.

I think I'm going to give it a shot myself...

From Royce Faina
Posted on May 22, 2012 at 9:14 PM
Elise- You have some good points and I noticed after reading your post that I do the same thing as you! One of my favorite musicians whom when he makes a mistake, and it's obvious to the audience, he smiles, bumps the palm of his right hand on his head, rolls his eyes up with theis, "Whoops" like smile and goes back to playing! I began doing that when I am at a rest in the peice, the audience laughs along with me, I'm smilling and I just pick up when it's time to start playing again. They love it! They're entertained. I don't over do it and most of the time I don't flinch, just keep playing. However when I do the "Whoops" from time to time it seems more often when they see me they shake my hand and tell me how much they enjoyed it and look forward to the next time! Playing an audience is just as much as an art, I feel, as performing! I think I can see a little more now the line that seperates a performaer from an entertainer? But that is another subject for another time. :)

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