so, how do you FEEL on stage?:)

December 1, 2006 at 05:52 AM · if you are more of an extrovert and know your stuff, i can imagine you long to showcase to the world with abandon. be grandiose, let it flow. must be a darn sexy feeling:)

now, what if you are born shy and does not particularly like a crowd sitting in the dark with beady eyes all on you? how do you manage to overcome the psychological/physical/emotional/whatever barriers? do you just block out everything and do your own thingy? do you try to engage the whole house? how do you manage to enjoy the misery???

here is a curve ball at ya: imagine you are doing a solo, supposely for 1 hour. after 30 mins, it is decided that you must stop playing and TALK for the rest of the hour. can you manage that and what are you going to say?:)

Replies (31)

December 1, 2006 at 05:58 AM · Man, I love the stage, just short of talents for it. :-)

Al, you don't want me to start this; I can talk anyone's ears off. Give me a call, and you'll soon find out AL about it. :-)

December 1, 2006 at 04:29 PM · If I know my stuff, I'm a ham--otherwise, not.

December 1, 2006 at 04:43 PM · Your suggestion of having to give a speech after playing made me think about this Little Violinist Powerhouse. Just 11 years old and holding an audience. She had to play and talk play and talk...... I remember Charlottle Church having that same ability well beyond her years in a concert, she would just casually talk and engage the audience.

December 1, 2006 at 09:02 PM · terri, to borrow a line from gennady: thanks a million for that link.

to play like that at 11 is already sickening :)but to talk in front of a crowd with that drama and animation makes it more impressive.

December 1, 2006 at 09:40 PM · I feel anxious.

December 1, 2006 at 09:41 PM · Greetings,

I don"t have to overcome my normal shyness and introversion. I am basically two people. A some what socilly inept, very hesistant person in normal life and -absoltely happy- when I am on stage.(assuming I have done eough practice...)



December 2, 2006 at 12:24 AM · Hey Al,

That was my line; give it back to me. :-)

December 2, 2006 at 01:07 AM · vivian, my bad, just wired another mil to you, that swiss acct.

buri, you are a character. i can read your posts like a fingerprint by now...adore teh wya yuo tpye.

December 2, 2006 at 05:04 AM · How do I feel onstage? I'm not uncomfortable (generally) and am in a completely different world. I love it and I can't get enough of it.

As for talking for half an hour after playing for half an hour. Perhaps I could talk about how instulted I was that they made me stop playing? I could find lots to talk about though, but who's to say there'd still be people by time my half hour was up? :)

December 2, 2006 at 05:58 AM · When in an orchestra I am completely calm except sometimes when I have to sit in the first or second stand and haven't been able to practice enough. The conductor's glare burns hotter from that close. I might get a little nervous if there is a lot of sight reading too.

For solo stuff it depends on my audience. If it is an audience of people who just come to enjoy then I am fine. If it is an audience I know are going to be judging me (violinists, musicians, professors etc.) then I might be a little nervous.

What is particularly annoying is when you get that guy in the first row who refuses to smile and glares at everyone, especially you, with a piercing stare that doesn't let up for a second. I hate that guy and want to throw my music stand at him (can't throw my violin). If anything, though, he makes me play better out of spite.

December 4, 2006 at 01:51 AM · I thought I would love being on stage--I am a teacher of high school and middle school students--and I always said that to be a teacher you must love to entertain. What profession lets you have an audience eight hours a day and a chance to captivate them or excite them with knowledge 180 days out of a year X 8hours a day? BUT when I got on stage to play for the first time, a piece that I could have played in my sleep, oh the shakes began and I haven't conquered them yet. I believe if I could talk to the audience first it might not be that bad but I get up there, the shaky hands begin and all goes black...I get through the music somehow but I believe the talking would be more entertaining!

December 4, 2006 at 01:59 AM · When I walk on to the stage I say to myself: "Look at all these nice people who came to the party to celebrate that I've finished my practicing for this concert!"

December 4, 2006 at 02:04 AM · IF I ever get on stage I'm pretty sure my reaction will be, "Holy carp! That definitely wasn't the door to the men's room!"


December 4, 2006 at 05:05 AM · Neil Cameron wrote: "Holy Carp...."

Does that have anything to do with Scales?...E string Tunas?...Notes below C level?............or do you say that only when you play the Trout Quintet?

December 4, 2006 at 10:55 PM · Greetings,

Oliver, no need to be Koi!



December 5, 2006 at 01:40 AM · I was just thinking about the bass.


December 5, 2006 at 12:52 PM · Are you slamming bottom feeders?!

December 5, 2006 at 01:20 PM · fishing with funny lines on a whale of a topic that often makes minnows out of violinists? shamu you!:)

December 5, 2006 at 01:41 PM · Like a million dolllllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrsssssssssssss!!!!

December 5, 2006 at 02:05 PM · peter, some may feel like fish out of water:), but with playing like that on your website, you can bank on that line:)

December 5, 2006 at 05:07 PM · Well, I played solo on the Carnegie stage years ago with no sweat. Not a sliver of nervousness. Maybe the fact that I was almost totally alone in the whole place had something to do with that and helped just a bit.

Another violinist friend and I, with our fiddles, ducked into the Carnegie stage entrance one time when a deluge of mega rain suddenly and violently let loose. When we got inside to wait out the rain, guess what? The place was empty. We looked at each other, snickered and said, "why not." We opened the cases, took out the violins and played the Bach Double and took turns playing solo. No applause, of course, but no boos either.

December 5, 2006 at 05:10 PM · ah, delightful:) bet everything seems dry after that...

at what age was that debut?

December 5, 2006 at 05:15 PM · During High School. My friend just retired as a Professor of Music at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.

December 5, 2006 at 05:39 PM · he probably penned that into his resume in his struggles in the academia:)

December 6, 2006 at 04:01 PM · ""peter, some may feel like fish out of water:), but with playing like that on your website, you can bank on that line:) ""

I DO $$$$$

C. Hall is great I used to have private violin lessons there sometimes. On stage! I got spoiled...


December 6, 2006 at 06:08 PM · If you're prepared for a concert, no matter how you feel, it'll go well. Basically, after you've learned the technical elements of the music, good practicing simulates the concert hall. I see it this way - if you can make your body be on autopilot, and play beautifully, no matter what you feel, or what distracts you, you'll be successful on stage.

I, personally, feel nervous when something distracts me. It usually manifests itself in a faster heart rate, and sometimes, a shaky right leg! Nonetheless, if I learn my music well, it doesn't affect my playing. If something isn't learned well, I usually have a "memory slip", which is really a slip in knowing what my muscles are supposed to do in the most efficient way possible.

To answer your question about public speaking, I'd be able to do it if I prepared the speech! Otherwise, I'd be improvising without any idea of what to say! I'm sure my mind would go blank.


December 6, 2006 at 07:21 PM · Dan you make an interesting point about being able to perform on autopilot. I come back to fiddle from the world of opera and autopilot on the operatic stage translates into boring. I always found that when I was not truly present in the performance process then my musicmaking sounded canned and that's the very thing so many of us old f**ts complain about with the younger generation of fiddlers who perform more like musical jocks than thinking musicians.

December 6, 2006 at 08:33 PM · I'm strictly an amateur violinist, but I'm a pretty experienced public speaker. I've gotten a lot of public speaking help and coaching and classes and assistance and practice over the years, so I am no longer nervous at all as a public speaker, and can think on my feet pretty well. In fact, I have absolutely no trouble speaking in front of any group, and that includes talking off-the-cuff.

The few times I play the violin, however.....

I still get nervous. The public speaking experience has helped, but when I've got a violin in my hands and it's a solo performance, I know that I'm not the professional who should be up there playing.

So, to calm the old nerves, I find myself telling myself that I have a mission. I tell myself that no matter who I am, no matter how well or poorly I play, no matter what the occasion is, and no matter who is out there listening, I am basically in the same position that Heifetz, Perlman, Midori, and all the rest of them are - On this particular occasion, right now, I'm it! I'm all that stands between the audience and the composer. I have that same responsibility as any of you - to do my best to bring that music to the audience and to make it as good as I can. Somehow, that helps me to concentrate better on what I'm doing and not to be so worried about the (in my case) inevitable mistakes, but to really try to make good music.

I know that all sounds kind of corny, but it really does help me to focus on the music rather than on the jitters.

Cordially, Sandy

December 6, 2006 at 09:51 PM · I love performing.

I used to get very nervous before playing but not as much now. I find instead that the nervousness just turns into a rush which helps me play better.

As for public speaking then i would have to say i am not the best speaker ever. Perhaps it would be interesting to see what would happen if this was asked of someone?

Good idea i think. Perhaps it should be tried out!

December 6, 2006 at 10:23 PM · good responses people! :)

on stage fright, may be just reading about it instead of pushing it off to that little dark corner will bring insight for some people that they can apply to their circumstances for the better.

on speaking on stage, just want to make sure you violinists do not let your violin speak for you so much that you lose your own voice:)

December 7, 2006 at 02:38 PM · Hi Jay,

Of course it's important to be involved in the music. I took that for granted in my last post. What I meant is that if something goes wrong and your mind wanders or someone in the audience with a large hat stands up and distracts you, your muscles are doing exactly what they are supposed to do so your mind can catch up again!



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