Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Rasputin
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Rasputin » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:27 am

lagartija wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:09 am
For me, playing is totally different than listening to music played by others. So I agree that that is certainly sufficient reason to play and performance is not a requirement. However, you did say that you don’t understand why someone would do it if they do not find it natural and easy, and I tried to explain why I would challenge myself. The confidence to face an uncomfortable situation you understood in the example I gave of martial arts. Why would you not accept that for me, performance is a slightly different challenge, but the confidence it takes, the focus it takes, the exposure of your vulnerability it requires is the same type of test.
I do accept that, but was suggesting there was more to it. I was speaking about people generally (though in response to your post) but was psychoanalysing without a licence and apologise if I caused any offence.
Carlos Castilla wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:52 am
Rasputin wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:12 pm
Adrian Allan wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:56 am
Has anybody tried hypnotism, or does anybody think that hypnotism would work?
I can understand that they might tolerate all of that - but why anyone would want to manufacture a desire to perform, just to put themselves in that position, is beyond me.
Situations may vary. Here is my take on this.
I teach guitar and other classes at the college level here in North Carolina. I also have a private studio. From my experience, people-who don't necessarily want to pursue a career as a performer- find themselves in a performance situation pretty much by default. The system pushes music students regardless of their emphasis to perform on a semestral basis in order to get a grade. Students who don't major in music performance but music education, general studies, or even a minor in music instead, still need to have a principal instrument and perform a recital in order to graduate. For most of them it is a nerve-racking experience, but one that is important to have no matter what your emphasis is in your musical career.
I agree with this, but although there are a few college students on here I am pretty sure that the vast majority are older and are not working their way through the college system. For most people on here, the only real issue is playing in front of a teacher, which is not a full-fledged performance by any means.
Having said that, definitely classical guitar is not for everyone. I am the first one to recommend to try commercial music or songwriter guitar style to those who don't find joy in classical guitar. But soon they will find out that even when they have to play chords to the lyrics of their favorite tune, if it is in front of an audience, they still will have to deal with nerves.
I am so disappointed that having made such constructive comments you go on equate finding joy in classical guitar with enjoying public performance.
Here is an anecdote. I live in an area that has a vast military population. I have in my studio military people who have been deployed many times. I had a student once who was a Jump Master. Great guy. He used to show up for lessons late in the afternoon, and during the day he probably had jumped from am airplane 3 to 4 times training soldiers. And yet, performing Classical guitar in front of an audience was something that he found overwhelming. That shows us that is not the nature of the task itself but instead the sense of not feeling 100% in control of the task, what triggers an anxiety reaction. It is all about tricking our minds into believing that there is no uncertainty.
Not logical captain. All it shows is that a guy who can jump from an aeroplane can still be nervous performing in front of an audience. The explanation is just your hunch - it is not there in the data. It could be right, but I for one doubt that confident performers believe that there is no uncertainty, when every concert reminds them that there is. I think it's more about not minding the uncertainty.

Carlos Castilla
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Carlos Castilla » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:49 pm

Carlos Castilla wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:52 am
Rasputin wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:12 pm

I can understand that they might tolerate all of that - but why anyone would want to manufacture a desire to perform, just to put themselves in that position, is beyond me.
Situations may vary. Here is my take on this.
I teach guitar and other classes at the college level here in North Carolina. I also have a private studio. From my experience, people-who don't necessarily want to pursue a career as a performer- find themselves in a performance situation pretty much by default. The system pushes music students regardless of their emphasis to perform on a semestral basis in order to get a grade. Students who don't major in music performance but music education, general studies, or even a minor in music instead, still need to have a principal instrument and perform a recital in order to graduate. For most of them it is a nerve-racking experience, but one that is important to have no matter what your emphasis is in your musical career.
I agree with this, but although there are a few college students on here I am pretty sure that the vast majority are older and are not working their way through the college system. For most people on here, the only real issue is playing in front of a teacher, which is not a full-fledged performance by any means
.

Thanks for clarifying this. Yes, I see what you are saying. I have several older students and just playing their pieces in the lesson can be quite a challenge. However, those with more experience in the past generally tend to overcome those issues
Having said that, definitely classical guitar is not for everyone. I am the first one to recommend to try commercial music or songwriter guitar style to those who don't find joy in classical guitar. But soon they will find out that even when they have to play chords to the lyrics of their favorite tune, if it is in front of an audience, they still will have to deal with nerves.
I am so disappointed that having made such constructive comments you go on equate finding joy in classical guitar with enjoying public performance
.

I didn't say or imply that with my comment, sorry. I was just stating the obvious. Most people who seek guitar lessons don't know about classical guitar. That is a fact. I have taught many teenagers whose parents wanted them to study classical guitar because in their opinion is a more educated and formal training. Their kids would rather play rock or pop tunes if play at all. When that kind of student is confronted with the idea of playing in recital, the outcome is not very good. If I don't allow the kid to play in the recital, the parents generally don't feel to good about it.
Here is an anecdote. I live in an area that has a vast military population. I have in my studio military people who have been deployed many times. I had a student once who was a Jump Master. Great guy. He used to show up for lessons late in the afternoon, and during the day he probably had jumped from am airplane 3 to 4 times training soldiers. And yet, performing Classical guitar in front of an audience was something that he found overwhelming. That shows us that is not the nature of the task itself but instead the sense of not feeling 100% in control of the task, what triggers an anxiety reaction. It is all about tricking our minds into believing that there is no uncertainty.
Not logical captain. All it shows is that a guy who can jump from an aeroplane can still be nervous performing in front of an audience. The explanation is just your hunch - it is not there in the data. It could be right, but I for one doubt that confident performers believe that there is no uncertainty, when every concert reminds them that there is. I think it's more about not minding the uncertainty.
[/quote]
I disagree. Controlled risk is one thing, uncertainty another. A professional player can not have any uncertainty at all. That doesn't mean that some mistakes cannot happen or that some notes can sound not as clean, but in general a pro player can audiate and visualize the program from top to bottom without any surprises. In case of a memory slip, they can fix it right away jumping ahead.
As I said before and believe deeply, the higher the awareness of the music the less room for anxiety.
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Rasputin
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Rasputin » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:59 pm

Carlos Castilla wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:49 pm
I am so disappointed that having made such constructive comments you go on equate finding joy in classical guitar with enjoying public performance
.

I didn't say or imply that with my comment, sorry.
Good to know that's not your view - must have misread you.
Here is an anecdote. I live in an area that has a vast military population. I have in my studio military people who have been deployed many times. I had a student once who was a Jump Master. Great guy. He used to show up for lessons late in the afternoon, and during the day he probably had jumped from am airplane 3 to 4 times training soldiers. And yet, performing Classical guitar in front of an audience was something that he found overwhelming. That shows us that is not the nature of the task itself but instead the sense of not feeling 100% in control of the task, what triggers an anxiety reaction. It is all about tricking our minds into believing that there is no uncertainty.
Not logical captain. All it shows is that a guy who can jump from an aeroplane can still be nervous performing in front of an audience. The explanation is just your hunch - it is not there in the data. It could be right, but I for one doubt that confident performers believe that there is no uncertainty, when every concert reminds them that there is. I think it's more about not minding the uncertainty.
I disagree. Controlled risk is one thing, uncertainty another.
We'll have to agree to disagree on that one, I think.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:02 pm

nothing extroverted about brass players
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Karen
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Karen » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:36 am

Playing for an appreciative audience is always considered the pinnacle of why we play music but I think there is another side to it which is really more important. My hero has always been my husband’s uncle. He built a soundproof room for his Grand piano and, although I was told he was a concert level pianist, he refused to play for anyone. He is now in his nineties, living in assisted living, and has an electric piano in his room. The point is, he always played for himself and for years has been strong enough to not be forced into performing when he doesn’t want to. Playing music well is a very focused task and I think for some people that is enough. Sort of like yoga, a meditation-like activity that doesn’t really need an audience (does anyone watch yoga?) That’s not to say performing isn’t a wonderful option for many - but not for everyone.

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Peter Frary
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Peter Frary » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:33 am

After some decades I've grown weary of live solo performances, although I direct/conduct regularly. I still love playing—more so than when was obligated to perform—and enjoy audio and video recording of my pieces and the classics. Recording is performing albeit indirect and you get as many takes as you need!
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dory
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by dory » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:03 pm

I don't like performing and probably never will. Does it get better? Yes. I was terrified of people hearing me sing. I joined a class that gives group voice lessons. After 2 years I can get through singing for my classmates without being terroriized. However, i have sung--often-- since I was 1 or 2 years old. I get more nervous when I play the guitar. It is not as bad as it used to be. I now play at student recitals with only minor nerves, although that may change as I have one coming up,am not ready and was too sick to practice all last week. Recipe for...... Yesterday I went to a classical guitar open mic. Usually there are quite a few pretty good players, even if they may be using the event to practice for something else and not playing their best-- yet repertoire. Last night, a series of people not at their best, followed by someone who I am absolutely positive is not on the forum or I wouldn't say this, who plays well but is overconfident and plays things way too hard for him. A very very long series of Chopin for the guitar-- played pretty badly, and obviohsly arranged for a concert player. This is partly a problem for me because I adore Chopin but prefer him on the piano, but also it makes me uncomfortable when intermediates (like me) feel they have to play advanced repertoire-- badly-- rather than sounding great on a Sor study or something a bit harder. I have never before felt I have spent an evening being intolerant of other people's playing. Obviously I was caught in a bad mood. It makes me wonder though. I was about to play at the open mic. Will I be putting audience members through what I experienced? Yuck! Mostly guitar is for myself. I don't think anyone should HAVE TO perform. Why? if we don't like it.
Dory

mainterm
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by mainterm » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:33 pm

This thread is an interesting read. So much of the discussion is around being able to perform well, conform to expectations, deal with "nerves" and so on.

One may be an accomplished, polished, and relaxed performer who tours for a living and still dislike performing. Sounds miserable, but possible yes?

Let's assume for sake of argument that you - guitar player extraordinaire - can confidently stride onto the stage, sit before many, many people and perform your pieces flawlessly, confidently, artistically and so on. Do you still dislike performing? I think in this scenario it is perfectly fine to dislike performing.

I personally think there is something just odd about getting up on a stage to entertain these often random people sitting there in a darkened room. I have performed a lot in the past and even did a graduate degree in performance and the more I performed, the more odd I thought the whole thing to be. This now goes both ways for me - I don't really enjoy watching people perform either.

I like "performing" at weddings though. It doesn't feel odd at all.

In another vein: I think that performing as a pedagogical tool is very important. Having students practice performing is a powerful means to improve their playing. Even just getting them to play for a video camera...

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souldier
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by souldier » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:27 pm

I think what was important for me was understanding why I perform. Often the source of anxiety comes from seeking to exalt myself, impress others, and boost my reputation. When I changed this mindset toward seeking to bless others and being less concerned about my image, anxiety significantly decreased. I recently performed and drew a blank and ended up making a terrible mistake. It bothered me for a moment, but then I brushed it off. In the end, I realize people don't care as much as I would, so I don't let it get to me.

Does it get better over time? In my experience it does IF you allow yourself to grow with each performance. After each performance I often look back to reflect and try to better understand myself and why I might of felt anxiety. When I can process those thoughts and feelings rather than keep them buried, it helps a tonne with dealing with the anxiety of future performances. When I first started playing in public even just in front of a guitar teacher, I was terribly nervous and my hands would shake so uncontrollably that I could barely play. Now after a year or two, I still get a healthy amount of stress and anxiety, but it doesn't cripple me or get in the way of my playing.

Personally I think it is a great privilege to be able to share this gift of music with others rather than solely playing for myself. I most especially enjoy playing for my wife and close friends, but I also enjoy playing in church and recitals. Classical guitar seems to not get much attention these days as compared to other instruments so it is a joy to give people the rare treat of hearing the beauty of the Spanish guitar.
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Sanft
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Sanft » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:32 am

Julian Bream once said: "I love the physical act of performance."
So do I!
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leslietranter
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by leslietranter » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:09 am

Some of the replies remind me of the expression "failure to prepare is preparing to fail". However, I suspect most peoples performance nerves are only partly to do with lack of preparation but more to do with the fear of the unknown and the rush of adrenalin which causes us to lose control of our hands which in turn leads us to take our concentration away from the music and whatever we have memorised and transfer our attention to regaining control of the hands - in most cases an almost impossible task. My teacher says that most children are comparatively "bomb proof" when performing because they are used to the critical attention of adults but it is certainly an issue for late starters such as myself, maybe because of overly high expectations and loss of face. Perhaps the answer is repeated exposure to these difficult situations.

PeteJ
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by PeteJ » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:21 am

I'd agree with the comment about late starters. You miss the easy introduction to performing that children have.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Adrian Allan » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:36 am

What we would really benefit from is the input of a performer who started off being very nervous, and then managed to overcome the situation.
I have posted before that in an early 1970s issue of BMG, one of John Mills' recordings is described in the context of him being a very able player who is often beset by destructive nerves in a performance, and this perhaps explains his performing with a standard lamp, so that the light is on him, but he cannot see the audience. In an issue of Classical Guitar magazine from the 1990s, Manuel Barrueco states that in terms of nerves, he was "an extreme case" and that if he has managed to overcome it, anybody can.

I think that the main cure is one of repeated exposure to performance, so that it becomes no big deal. However, the chances of this happening are more limited than ever, unless you are in music college where you should be performing in front of the students on a regular basis in a class.

I have also been googling this situation from the viewpoint of other instrumental players. And shockingly, my findings do show that recreational drugs may play a part in calming nerves more than might be expected in the respectable world of classical players. I'm also wondering if the prevalence of drugs in pop music may be part of the whole ritual of performing in front of thousands of people on stage. As John Lennon once said, "whatever gets you through the night..."
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leslietranter
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by leslietranter » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:56 am

Adrian Allan wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:36 am
What we would really benefit from is the input of a performer who started off being very nervous, and then managed to overcome the situation.
I have posted before that in an early 1970s issue of BMG, one of John Mills' recordings is described in the context of him being a very able player who is often beset by destructive nerves in a performance, and this perhaps explains his performing with a standard lamp, so that the light is on him, but he cannot see the audience. In an issue of Classical Guitar magazine from the 1990s, Manuel Barrueco states that in terms of nerves, he was "an extreme case" and that if he has managed to overcome it, anybody can.

I think that the main cure is one of repeated exposure to performance, so that it becomes no big deal. However, the chances of this happening are more limited than ever, unless you are in music college where you should be performing in front of the students on a regular basis in a class.

I have also been googling this situation from the viewpoint of other instrumental players. And shockingly, my findings do show that recreational drugs may play a part in calming nerves more than might be expected in the respectable world of classical players. I'm also wondering if the prevalence of drugs in pop music may be part of the whole ritual of performing in front of thousands of people on stage. As John Lennon once said, "whatever gets you through the night..."
You have my interest now! Perhaps guitar teachers should be allowed to prescribe recreational drugs?

Smudger5150
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Smudger5150 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:41 pm

But instead of going as far as recreational drugs, do some of these milder, over-the-counter remedies help? Or herbal teas like valerian etc? I suspect many may scoff at this idea and I have no evidence to suggest they work, but there does seem to be mounting reports (or maybe just marketing) about the health properties of various foods, teas and herbs.
Just a thought...
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