Mindset regarding performances
I am curious as to whether you other violinists ever feel proud of how you have performed/played a piece, even if it wasn't perfectly performed/played? Or do you remain ever self-critical, always discussing with yourself how it could have been better?
Where is the balance between these two things?
Thankful for your thoughts!
I think it is possible to be proud and self critical at the same time. It helps to be realistic about our expectations of ourselves. Most of us don't have the luxury of practicing several hours a day to prepare for a performance, so it's important to not compare ourselves with the greats. Rather compare ourselves to what we did and are capable of. If you look at performances as learning opportunities and not the end goal, you will have much more joy performing and the critiques you come up with will be positive and build you up. I think of performances as small tests to find how my solutions for things and ideas pan out and find new areas and/or new ways to approach music from this information. So looking at performances as just a part of the lifelong process of learning and refining. This also helps with performance anxiety. Regarding the balance of these two, I think it's a more complex issue with additional facets all being weighed together. Nonetheless, happy playing!
I think by the time you reach the advanced standard concert-hall repertoire, you also reach the point where there's a high likelihood that you do not have perfect consistency in performance. What "consistency" means to you will also change, and similarly, what a "good performance" will change. For instance, elements like a feeling of synchrony with musical partners, the energy and mood of the performance, the reaction of the audience, etc. will all start to become part of what you feel a good performance to be.
I am much more inclined to beat myself up over not preparing well enough than a momentary mistake. There also tends to be a clear correlation between solid preparation & a performance going well.
Good discussion by all. If I may add one more element, even though it may seem a bit vague. I believe that each composer has a musical "voice," the emotional line of the music as if it is singing or speaking. In fact, we often can recognize the composer of pieces we may not know by hearing that composer's "voice."
A musician's mind has to make a complete separation between "performing" - an emotion creating, all encompassing process, and "critique" - an analytical break details into pieces and goals process. The two cannot be done - effectively - at the same time. Even if you critique later, you will come to different conclusions 3 days, 3 months, 1 year later because your maturity as a musician changes.
Performance is something that needs lots of practice too. I put (most of) my performances up on my youtube for the express reason of encouraging me to be okay with the results and to put my focus more on the process than on the finish. Every video of every one of my performances has stuff that I'm not happy with, but I try not to bog down my memory of a good performance with the reality of the video - There is a spirit or atmosphere in a live performance that a video will never capture, but the video never lies about where I need to put my focus in my practice, and it can help me with things to think about for my next performance.
I thank everyone for your well-thought-out responses! There’s a gold mine of thoughts here.
I've been proud of performances that weren't perfect. It helps if they're about at the level that I think I'm capable of doing, and if I don't make any really embarrassing gaffes.
During the performance I am wholly self critical. After, I am very proud that I did it.
My position on this:
Here's how I think: