How often do you perform to an audience

January 21, 2011 at 10:09 PM ·

For me its about four times a year - three of which are during a one week music camp  :(  

I desperately need an outlet ....

Replies (26)

January 21, 2011 at 11:24 PM ·

 I perform with an orchestra about 8 times a year (but that might change if I get into LACHSA!!!) and solo about two times a year.  If you really want to perform more often, yous should join more orchestras or try out for competitions!

January 22, 2011 at 12:13 AM ·

Per year,
chamber orchestra:  6 or 7
ad hoc orchestras:  3 - 5
playing for dancers (barn dances, ceili dancing):  12 - 20

and, 
English or Irish music sessions in pubs (may include at least one solo): 1 or 2 per week

 

 

 

January 22, 2011 at 12:28 AM ·

Elise, be sure to review the threads titled Venues for amateur chamber music and Can't we play something new?  Check out Michael P's input -- second of his two posts -- in the latter thread.

As I've said before, if I could give a recital a week, locally and free of charge, I'd gladly do it; but with all the other demands on my time -- and the other demands on my accompanists -- I have to settle for a great deal less than this.

I don't know if this counts, but I practice performing unaccompanied pieces in the garage during my evening sessions, having already put in the hard-core practice indoors during afternoons.  Out there, I can play from late March or early April through mid-November -- 7-8 months of the year.**  So the answer to your question is -- rough estimate -- between 180 and 255 times a year.  A bit like busking -- without getting paid.

Neighbors and passers-by consistently tell me they enjoy it; so I must be on to something.  You and your friends might want to try this at your place -- although I have no idea what your floor plan is -- or even if you have a garage.  If you do, why not give it a shot?
____________________
**I know you can't do this 7-8 months a year in Ontario without heated garages.  So I'll push one of these Gulf air masses your way -- my thanks for the Canadian air masses you up-north folks keep rolling our way.

January 22, 2011 at 05:25 AM ·

Elise, I'm worst...  I used to do 4-5 times a year (3 in students gigs) and two others in various event as my friend's wedding, school, a competition, exam etc   I did that for my first years of learning the instrument.

Unfourtunately, since college, I didn't do any because my peices are too hard for me to prepare them "clen ennough" during the school year and there are no concerts in summer.  

I miss so much to do concerts that I recently suggest and begin to do very easy duets once in a while with my teacher during lessons.  I had this idea to expand my repertoire, change my mind form my harder peices and to allow to play in concerts during school year with less stress or excessive preparation.  But my teacher will not always be available on concert days due to her busy schedule.  So now, I have to find a music partner for my projects...  Not easy when all your peers have quit music to go to university and you're in the few courageous one still playing!  

 

January 22, 2011 at 01:07 PM ·

Jim,

I do confess that in the summer I can open my second floor front window and force people to listen to me play (actaully got compliments from some neighbours once but who knows what the others thought).  Maybe I'll try that on the back deck.

But maybe not today - high of -10C... do synthetic strings freeze?

ee

January 22, 2011 at 02:45 PM ·

"... do synthetic strings freeze?"

Not sure about synthetic strings, but I know my hands would give out in those temps.  Here, it was about +20 F. / -5 C. outside at daybreak -- less cold than your expected high today but still quite bracing.   The early morning walk felt great.

BTW, you'll know you're on the right track with the neighbors and passers-by when you get comments from them like: "Oh, so that's you?  I thought it was a recording."

January 22, 2011 at 04:28 PM ·

Jim, it works the other way, too. When I was in my teens I was at home playing an LP of Janos Starker performing the Kodaly unaccompanied cello sonata (I think it was Starker's first recording of that work). I heard my mother come in from shopping, turned off the LP and went to open the door. She said "your playing's improving, Trevor, that was very nice".  Ahem!

January 22, 2011 at 04:53 PM ·

In the past four months, I have performed about nine times to a live audience. On average, I do about 2 performances a month.

January 23, 2011 at 01:01 AM ·

Trevor, your experience with the Kodaly sonata is a bit like mine with the Tchaikovsky VC in my early teens.

I'd been listening to a vintage Oistrakh recording of the work in late summer.  The piece was a big favorite of the family next door.  Mom told me that Mrs. __________, from next door, had asked her, "Does Jim play the Tchaikovsky concerto?"  Mom told her no -- it was a recording.

It would be a few years yet before I would get my hands on the sheet music.  It must have been a dead-quiet afternoon for the recorded sound to carry as far as it did, since our homes were about 100 feet apart.

January 23, 2011 at 02:07 AM ·

Well, I had the opposite experience! 

Me and my teacher were playing Bach double concerto when my mom heard us behind the door coming down to the basement where we were.

She said afterwards, "It was so nice, I though it was a recording you were listening with your teacher until I enter in the room and saw you play" 

I though it was a joke but she said she really though it wasn't us playing.  Pretty cool!  And no, I wasn't bury under my teacher's sound...  We have the same violin modal by the same maker and we are two adults.   

January 23, 2011 at 02:17 AM ·

Anne-Marie, that is cool.  As  I told Elise, when you get this kind of feedback from family and neighbors and passers-by, then you know you must be doing something right.

I've had the same response you described.  At first, some people think I'm playing the radio in the garage.  But then they catch on when they realize that they're hearing the same piece two or three times in a row -- especially when I re-tune between takes.

January 23, 2011 at 05:01 AM ·

Never.

I know, it is strange. I can start up a conversation with a complete stranger, however I am so shy and insecure about my playing I cannot play in front of an audience. I can play out in the woods, or in the country; I have played when I knew others could probably hear me, but never as an audience. I play at home for my grandson, but never to strangers.

I am not certain where this comes from, but it could be that I know I am not as good a player as I want to be, and I can clearly hear the difference. I have some real physical problems with my left hand (I have been in the trades, and it hurts when I have my hand in the correct position), but that is as much an excuse as a reason. I am just really shy about playing for others. My playing is for myself, and what it does for my soul. I guess I'm afraid that I focus on others, I will loose what I get from playing.

January 24, 2011 at 03:00 AM ·

Roland - hats off to you.  You've identified what playing means to you and you are living by that. It would be too easy to get dragged into the expectation and pressure to perform - and then to harm the pleasure and satisfaction that you get from playing the violin in your way.  Do you play to noone at all?  Maybe your cat ;)  (mine won't stay in the same room ... everyone is a critic... :-\ )

I suppose I should have put that in the opening post - the proviso that performing was actually something you want/need to do.  Its kinda odd really when you think about it.  Exactly what is it that causes so many of us to need to show off our playing?  I mean what is the strong pull for performance?  Certainly one factor is positive feedback - someone tells you you played well and it feels good.  But in a sence I think thats a bit weak... I suppose thats a different topic.... 

January 24, 2011 at 03:37 AM ·

"Exactly what is it that causes so many of us to need to show off our playing? "

Good question Elise...

I have often been told by my teachers that the purpose of doing music was to perform, to make others happy etc.  Morally, yes...

But physiologically...

It's almost sure we play for ourselves first... we all know that music is like a drug and that we, musicians are all dopamine dependant  (I read that on a scientifical article recently...)  One of the reasons humankind likes music is exactly that excitment and dopamine it produces.

Perhaps it's noble to perform to make people happy (one must not forget that many audiences are happy with Twinckle little star and don't expect perfection from students)  but if someone gets sick and truely bothered with the idea of performing, society should respect that... 

Not everyone who talks like to give a public speach, perhaps it's the same with music, no?

Just my point of vue

But maybe you can become adrenaline dependant if you perform often ; )   (I have never saw any study on that though...)

January 24, 2011 at 04:55 AM ·

 When I wanted to play more, I went around to neighborhood churches and asked if they needed/wanted a bit of variety.  Also nursing homes, though there the repertoire's different.  That's how I built my confidence in my solo playing--playing for audiences that were interested but not critical. 

I'm only in one regular ensemble, 3 concerts/ year, and I sub in two others (since I'm a full-time English prof. that's really all I have time for, with any integrity).  I love the playing, but recently, I'm falling in love with practicing again, and that's a joy.

January 24, 2011 at 04:48 PM ·

I perform ~2-3 times per year right now. I'm an adult re-beginner/student and part of an adult chamber group through my children's Suzuki program. 

For me, I see performances as a way to really polish pieces. Performances give me that extra push, and it's such an adrenaline rush! 

January 24, 2011 at 05:17 PM ·

In orchestra, perhaps 6 times?

I think I performed at least 13 times as soloist or with my piano quartet (most in duet format) during 2010. No need to say, that almost every time I perform is a psychological torment for me. I take beta blockers, but it only takes away extreme shakiness and extreme heartbeat. Nausea and dryness in the mouth it does not help against (for me, but neither makes it worse), and this got really much worse at the last solo recitals...now I fear for playing at concerts again because of the dryness and nausea.

Last time, I had to drink water in the middle of the solo piece, and afterwards I could not play violin for a couple of days: probably over pressed the violin onto the dried throat, so that I felt nausea from holding violin for some time. Worst experience so far. Gosh, I wish I could do something about my destructive nerves...

January 24, 2011 at 05:18 PM ·

In orchestra, perhaps 6 times?

I think I performed at least 13 times as soloist or with my piano quartet (most in duet format) during 2010. No need to say, that almost every time I perform is a psychological torment for me. I take beta blockers, but it only takes away extreme shakiness and extreme heartbeat. Nausea and dryness in the mouth it does not help against (for me, but neither makes it worse), and this got really much worse at the last solo recitals...now I fear for playing at concerts again because of the dryness and nausea.

Last time, I had to drink water in the middle of the solo piece, and afterwards I could not play violin for a couple of days: probably over pressed the violin onto the dried throat, so that I felt nausea from holding violin for some time. Worst experience so far. Gosh, I wish I could do something about my destructive nerves...

January 24, 2011 at 07:04 PM ·

 @Roland,

I'm much more like you, by nature.  As a kid I was painfully shy about performing.  I started playing the violin with the goal of playing for my family, and played to my dolls and stuffed animals (and at my pet cat's funeral after he was hit by a car when I was 10).  But I didn't have, or want, recitals or things like that.  I enjoyed performing in school and youth orchestra, but those were group situations. I found auditions to be a painful, traumatic experience that I described at the time, melodramatically, as "being tortured."  It's only as an adult that I've warmed up to performing solo, a little bit.  I don't think there's a universal human drive to perform.  I think it's very individual.  

Nowadays in a year I perform 5 concerts with a community orchestra, once or twice in the summer at the farmers' market either alone or with a chamber group, once at my church talent show, maybe once or twice in a church service (e.g. "Greensleeves" at Christmas), one music school recital organized by my teacher, and maybe one movement of a chamber piece at a chamber concert (e.g. Schubert Octet).  I find that to be a nice mix.  If anyone hears me practicing in my rec room in the back of the house at 11 pm, I don't want to know about it!  (I've asked the closest neighbor if it bothers her and she says she's never heard anything).

January 24, 2011 at 10:58 PM ·

Including solo, orchestra, weddings, etc., it varies from season to season, but about 30-50 times a year.

January 25, 2011 at 08:05 AM ·

I'm actually thinking of busking at our farmers market as a way to get performance experience.  I could collect for a charity at the same time - and not worry too much about perfection.  Could be fun - and I do have a spare violin to use...

 

January 25, 2011 at 09:00 AM ·

@Lena

 

"In orchestra, perhaps 6 times?

I think I performed at least 13 times as soloist or with my piano quartet (most in duet format) during 2010. No need to say, that almost every time I perform is a psychological torment for me. I take beta blockers, but it only takes away extreme shakiness and extreme heartbeat. Nausea and dryness in the mouth it does not help against (for me, but neither makes it worse), and this got really much worse at the last solo recitals...now I fear for playing at concerts again because of the dryness and nausea.

Last time, I had to drink water in the middle of the solo piece, and afterwards I could not play violin for a couple of days: probably over pressed the violin onto the dried throat, so that I felt nausea from holding violin for some time. Worst experience so far. Gosh, I wish I could do something about my destructive nerves..."

Lena

There is something seriously wrong about the way you approach performance if this happens. It could well be lack of confidence due to technical problems.

You must stay away from the beta blockers, as they will do harm and certainly won't do you any favours as they are not a cure for the symptoms you have.

With good teaching advice you can overcome these problems, maybe in weeks, maybe months, but you can be taught how to relax and feel confident, and perform to your full potential.

January 25, 2011 at 05:46 PM ·

On average I think I also perform publicly according to the criteria mentioned somewhere between 30 and 50 times a year.  It depends on the type of performance, but in general I am not very nervous for most of it anymore; in fact, at times I miss more adrenaline in some of the simpler pieces, for the extra "edge"! 

Though for performances with passages that are on the edge of my playing abilities, there's still plenty of adrenaline!  I've always been blessed with being one of those whose playing is usually better when the nerves kick in than in the calm of the practice room - not technically (it's often a little weaker - a few unexpected note mistakes), but better overall, because there is more excitement, more drive.

January 25, 2011 at 08:56 PM ·

Lynae,

An interesting perspective - and oddly enough (considering my performance anxiety) I think there is some truth in that for me too.  Some aspects do get better  - I'm more alive and react faster.  Now if I could just control it getting me flustered ....

January 25, 2011 at 09:54 PM ·

Lynae and Elise, that's true I can relate as well...

In concerts, I tend to lose a bit technique and can "buzz" or make a few scratches more but... the tone is 5 times bigger and more convincing than when I'm alone practicing.  There is definitivly something that makes you more resistent to fatigue and stronger than usual.  (not to mention the accoustics of the hall that is always better than your bedroom or basement... ; )

I think that is even true for great artists... (not just students)

It illustrates how one has to be very solid technically before going onstage.  It's the first thing we lose up there...  So in order to maintain the mistakes  "cute or acceptable" one must be very good before the concert.  If not, it will truely be a "buzz" and "scratch" party that you'll remember for a long time...

 

 

January 27, 2011 at 02:38 AM ·

OH I totally forgot about chamber!!! That makes it about 18 times, prob a lil more 

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