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Ryan Vaughn

Studio Class Performance #1

March 22, 2011 at 6:46 AM

Residential Life puts on a talent show every spring here at the Colburn School.  Students can perform anything except their primary instrument.  We the RA staff of course have to put on one or several skits.  Danielle this morning gets the brilliant idea that I should perform part of the Paganini in the talent show.  The only problem?  It's this Sunday.

She insists that I a) have to perform in the talent show and b) it can't be my first performance in front of a large number of people.  The only chance I would get to have a somewhat public performance would be in Danielle's studio class, which is--wait for it--tonight.

The idea of playing in Danielle's studio class is a nightmare.  Not only are all the students in this class less than half my age, but they're all about 10 times better at the violin than I will be at anything in my life. 

Danielle breaks the bad news to me in the morning - her class is at 5:30PM.  So I do what any red-blooded American would do in this situation--I throw a hissy fit.  It was actually pretty ugly.  I yelled at her for trying to embarrass me in front of everyone and throwing me under a bus when I wasn't ready.  I even made my first quitting threat.  It was bad.

She backed off but resorted to laying on the guilt.  Long story short I played.  I really can't describe how nervous I was, but it was a lot.  My hands were physically shaking during the performance.  Of course it wasn't very long, just the roughly 30 seconds of the theme, but still nerve racking.  I played it once, and it was OK, so Danielle asked me to play it again.  I didn't think I did much better, but I didn't have a major memory slip during either one.  Then, I was about to leave the stage when I realized we didn't film it.  Danielle took my phone and filmed my third performance:

She told them to go crazy with the cheering.  You didn't think my playing caused that, did you?

What's weird about a performance is that you get what you get.  When I tape things I can do them over and use the best one, but with a performance, it's one and only, unless the piece is only 30 seconds and then you can apparently do it three times.

Oh, and tonight at our res life staff meeting I found out that the talent show was postponed a couple of weeks.  Phew.

**Read the entire blog at**

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on March 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Oh, that was sooo mean of your teacher...

A teacher that forces a student to do something too hard for them in 1 or 2 days and perform it is "fit the word that you want"

One must not laugh with student anxiety.  Even if it's just 30 sec. 

What I find sad is that if a teacher does this too often, the student will have a background of very stressful situations and will refer to what he/she knows about performing even in a well prepared performance.  It's a hard circle to break.  A teacher should do crazy plans to provide very positive rock solid prepared performance opportunitiees to a student so that he/she builds a fun background of performing situations and rely on this in the next performances.

However, bravo for that courage!  And yes, do fits again if she have other such ideas : )       

From Margaret Lee
Posted on March 23, 2011 at 4:11 AM

Very mean of teacher, especially if I read correctly-  the teacher is one's spouse. :)

Seriously, I laud your diligence and persistence to take up the violin in the company of those who are already so adept at it.

From Ryan Vaughn
Posted on March 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM

In defense of my lovely (and very talented in playing and teaching) wife, she believed in me that I was ready even if I did not believe it myself.  She really didn't force me to play, but got me to believe that I should play.  Once I got it in my mind that I need to start getting performance experience (especially if I'm going to perform the whole caprice 24 in a year!) part of me did want to play - I just had to get past the part that was terrified.  In the end, I'm very glad I played (since I also got a pretty good blog post out of it too :).

The moral of the story here is that my wife knows me, and it probably goes student to student.  There are some students of my wife's that she would never "force" to play, but others she might turn on the pressure a bit more.  It just depends, but knowing her students is one of the things that makes her a great teacher.

I thank you both for being on my side though!  It's good to know that in this little endeavor of mine, there are people who have my back ;)

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on March 23, 2011 at 11:57 PM

oooouuuuuppppppsssss...  I though she was just your teacher!

But even wives can be mean sometimes no? : )

Perhaps you'll have a good excuse for letting her do the dishes the next time she'll ask you!  (just a gentle way to give it back...)   


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