Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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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 1:50 pm

Not sure about the legal stuff. There are some pills you can buy in the UK called "Kalms", but having tried them, they seem fairly ineffectual. The British violin player Nigel Kennedy freely admits to smoking cannabis, because he claims it is a stressful job, which it obviously is.

I can't advocate taking illegal drugs on a public forum, but if there is something to take the edge of what is essentially an unnatural and stressful situation, then I can see why people do it, but there are the inherent risks that come with it.
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Rasputin
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Rasputin » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:33 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:36 am
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.
It's very hard to get paid experience of performing, that's true - but there is nothing stopping you going busking or just sitting in a park where others can hear you and playing away. Then there are open mic nights. I don't know if improv or am dram classes would help - maybe it's too different or maybe stage fright is stage fright. Couldn't hurt though. If you really put your mind to it I think you could easily put yourself in a performance situation say 3 times a week for 6 months.
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..."
The trouble is that anything that is potent enough to overcome a serious case of nerves is also going to interfere with your ability to play and/or perception of the music. Kalms has been mentioned but if that fixes it, it wasn't much of a problem in the first place. If you need to get stoned, I think that's going to show in your performance... There are benzos I suppose but that is a slippery slope.

I don't think drugs are the answer. I do think the problem is fixable - the question is whether it is worth going to all that trouble.

CJguitar
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by CJguitar » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:10 am

Karen wrote:
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.
I can sympathize with this. Every time I want to play or practice, I close the door to my room. I used to practice or fiddle with the family piano in our living room quite often, but I can't do it anymore; I just don't want anyone to hear me.

I had a situation at UNCSA where I was sight reading in my dorm room. I heard banging from the neighbor above and didn't know what it mean't. Next thing I knew, I heard a knock on my door and it was the resident upstairs. She said she could hear me and asked me to stop because she was trying to sleep. I knew I was in the wrong in that situation but I took it very personally.

I've recently bought an Aria Sinfonia silent classical guitar just to prevent that situation from ever happening again.

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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Carlos Castilla » Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:29 pm

Beta blockers work well for preventing shaky hands or any other symptoms coming from an adrenaline spike. This is a drug meant for people who have a heart condition and want to prevent a heart attack. These patients normally take high doses of beta blockers a day. A musician or any other performer just needs about 10mgs 1 hour before the gig to prevent any adrenaline symptoms.
Here in the US, beta blockers need a prescription and some doctors would agree to give you one if you explain the situation. In other countries it is an over the counter drug just like Tylenol.
Beta blockers won't make you feel calm though. If you are nervous and insecure about the gig you will remain the same, but your body will work as if you weren't. Your hands are going to react and respond as if you were at home. This is a good thing because the fact that you are still nervous means that your mind could reap the benefits of adrenaline which makes you more attentive and sharper while at the same time retaining control of your hands.
Having said that, I also believe it is a good thing that beta blockers need a prescription here in the US. Nobody should take them without consulting a physician first.
Beta blockers paired with breathing exercises and meditation are a great formula for people who suffer from stage fright and anxiety. Any anxiolytic on the other hand can mess with your memory and alertness and should be avoided if at all possible.
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Rome714 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:28 pm

Add me to the list of people not liking to perform for others. I like to perform for myself, if they are around to listen when I'm practicing that's about as much of a performance that they are going to get. Most of the time people I feel don't really care about the instrument anyways or lose interest really quickly.
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Jon Griffiths
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Jon Griffiths » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:56 pm

I’ve played in bands over the years and loved it but there something about being there on your own that just sets them nerves off.

mainterm
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by mainterm » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:56 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.
<snip>
I fit this bill - I wouldn't say I was extremely nervous, but I certainly suffered from so-called "nerves" early on and in vary degrees over many years of public performance. I would also say that I've "overcome the situation".
Adrian Allan wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:36 am
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.
In my experience this is true, but only to the extent that if you practice something with clear intent to improve it, you tend to get better at it over time. If you practice performing, you get better at it. I certainly experienced this effect. In my view the "nerves" don't really go away, you just learn to channel them in ways that doesn't disturb the performance.

After I stopped performing regularly and in public - 7 years ago now, I've performed twice: once two years ago and again last Friday. Both performances were of my best ever, if not the two best ever. I experienced no "nerves", "butterflies" or other "excitements". I didn't use any drugs either 8)

I can't give a scientific or evidence based reason for this, however I will say that in both cases my care for artistically bringing forth the music eclipsed everything else. EVERYTHING. In both cases, my performance was asked for under special circumstances - not some kind of career effort on my part. In fact no part of these performances had anything to do with me hoping to form this or that impression on anyone - anyone at all, including me.

So complete service to the art/music appears to be the cure in my case. Perhaps this will help others sort out how to "get up there" and play.

Per my earlier post in this thread - I still think that public performance is weird. However I should now further clarify this: public SOLO performance is weird. Ensemble playing, even in a duo, is super fun, regardless of whether there is an audience.

JeffR709
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by JeffR709 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:08 am

I have played a few times in front of others when playing in a band. I played electric guitar doing the blues or rock. But I really didn't enjoy it that much but we were just an average band so others probably weren't expecting much. I would like to play in front of a very small crowd one day with classical just to say I did it. They have a classical community that encourages people like me to get out and play in front of them at their monthly 'get together'. That is the thing that I would do since they encourage people like me to play classical.

Claughton
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by Claughton » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:48 pm

I am a useless performer. Even playing for my teacher gives me the shakes. I think there are various forces in play. For one I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist by nature so knowing it will be far from perfect sets me up for failure anyway and this seems to feed on itself getting progressively worse as the piece progresses. For another I do not actually have any talent !
C'est la vie . I play for my own satisfaction...I just love the classical guitar and my daughter seems to like listening to me play. Thank God for daughters .
I marvel at those who can perform. I really don't know how they can do it. My teacher is a concert performer at the highest level and she seems to revel in delivering a performance. Thank goodness such people exist so we can enjoy their talent and musicality.

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ameriken
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by ameriken » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:35 pm

Claughton wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:48 pm
I am a useless performer. Even playing for my teacher gives me the shakes. I think there are various forces in play. For one I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist by nature so knowing it will be far from perfect sets me up for failure anyway and this seems to feed on itself getting progressively worse as the piece progresses. For another I do not actually have any talent !
C'est la vie . I play for my own satisfaction...I just love the classical guitar and my daughter seems to like listening to me play. Thank God for daughters .
I marvel at those who can perform. I really don't know how they can do it. My teacher is a concert performer at the highest level and she seems to revel in delivering a performance. Thank goodness such people exist so we can enjoy their talent and musicality.
Thumbs up, I concur, I could have written that myself!
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chrisW3
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by chrisW3 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:02 pm

This is an interesting thread, as I've been asked to play for people again recently (after many years of not). I've been thinking about why it such a difficult task. My thoughts are:

As others have said, solo performing is by far the most exposed form of performance. Also, I'd say the classical guitar is one of the (if not the) most exposed instrument, in the sense that if you miss or fluff a note the bottom seems to completely fall out of the piece you're playing and all mood and momentum disappear. It's immediately obvious to everyone that you've made a mistake (or seems it). CG performance requires rock solid technique and precise control, both things that disappear at the first hint of nerves!

That said, for those who want to perform, I think it's a case of mental technique, working out a routine of thoughts before starting each piece, thinking through the first few bars before playing them. There's lots of common sense strategies and it's worth finding a good teacher/mentor who can work with you on what works.

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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:03 pm

CJguitar wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:10 am
Karen wrote:
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.
I can sympathize with this. Every time I want to play or practice, I close the door to my room. I used to practice or fiddle with the family piano in our living room quite often, but I can't do it anymore; I just don't want anyone to hear me.

I had a situation at UNCSA where I was sight reading in my dorm room. I heard banging from the neighbor above and didn't know what it mean't. Next thing I knew, I heard a knock on my door and it was the resident upstairs. She said she could hear me and asked me to stop because she was trying to sleep. I knew I was in the wrong in that situation but I took it very personally.

I've recently bought an Aria Sinfonia silent classical guitar just to prevent that situation from ever happening again.
From wikipedia about Glenn Gould (regarding performing)
_________________________________________________
On April 10, 1964, Gould gave his last public performance, playing in Los Angeles, at the Wilshire Ebell Theater.[39] Among the pieces he performed that night were Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 30, selections from Bach's The Art of Fugue, and Paul Hindemith's Piano Sonata No. 3.[fn 11] Gould performed fewer than 200 concerts over the course of his career, of which fewer than 40 were overseas. For pianists such as Van Cliburn, 200 concerts would have amounted to about two years' touring.[40]

One of Gould's reasons for abandoning live performance was his aesthetic preference for the recording studio, where, in his words, he developed a "love affair with the microphone".[fn 12] There, he could control every aspect of the final musical "product" by selecting parts of various takes. He felt that he could realize a musical score more fully this way. Thus, the act of musical composition, to Gould, did not entirely end with the original score. The performer had to make creative choices. Gould felt strongly that there was little point in re-recording centuries-old pieces if the performer had no new perspective to bring to the work. For the rest of his life, Gould eschewed live performance, focusing instead on recording, writing, and broadcasting.
---------------------------------------
So is performing really a "pinnacle"?
Just a moment for a very limited audience...when sound could be not perfect, audience will cough, maybe talk on phone, make noises etc....
Why is it pinnacle - recording will live by itself, people will come again and again to it, they will hear new things when they will listen it another time... audio could be available at home, in quiet night, or in train, car, work, mountains anywhere...!
One could listen it alone, completely cutting himself from nonsense of concert halls, noises coughing, strange looks etc. etc. - musician do not need to worry that hall is cold! fingers freezing... or ... heat and humidity in other places, there instrument want to get out of tune, your fingers stick to fretboard...etc etc.
Why performance for public is pinnacle? What to do to the artist who are sick for time of performance? It is hard for him to play - yet.. do audience care about it? if he has a trauma? cut finger etc. - anybody cares? - NO NO NO !!! Audience just expect him to be perfect ... to present effortless and smooth and brilliant technique!
regardless his sickness, condition, trauma, emotional state at the moment, age, etc. etc.
NO! pinnacle, the best, what we could do - is probably to do recording! (exactly as Glenn Gould stated) and to do it not just at certain time when we could be sick etc. (as we have too if we have rigid concert schedule),
not to do it (program) as planned for years before performance etc etc.
But to remain free! Record whatever you feel at the moment, your own, or by other composer! Record ONLY at the MOMENT OF INSPIRATION ! not when you have to because it is a concert or you paid for studio...
But just when you feel that YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY BY MUSIC!
Sometimes miraculously all these things come together and performer play concert inspired by music and audience reflect inspiration back...
But often... performance could be just another ritual....
Ritual which looks nice, but ... just meaningless and boring show of emptiness...

P.S. I performed all my life. I like it. I am having fun doing it!
But pinnacle? No... the best I did is what I did alone...recording...
But performing? - it is just fun as long as I do what I want and play what I want, at the moment. :)

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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by lagartija » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:03 pm

You have convinced me, Andrei, that for self expression purposes, recording perhaps gives the best results for the reasons you have stated. :-)

As for live performance, perhaps there are different reasons why people perform and that determines whether or not they consider it the “pinnacle”. Maybe there are people who want to play *for* someone...in order to offer them solace for pain, lift their spirits if they (the listeners) are depressed, give them peace...all through the magic that is music and its effect on human beings ( and some non humans as well). In this case, the performer is not expressing their own inner condition, but attempting to change the condition of the listener. Therefore, the pinnacle for them would be the performance and the effect it had on the listeners, which they could experience immediately by the response of the listener.
Then, as you suggested, there are performances where the intent is to communicate something about the human condition and/or the performer’s interior state. One does not need to be in a live performance situation to do this, and perhaps a recording best captures the specific intent of the creator.

With that said, I will admit that I am rarely moved by listening to recordings. I am often extremely moved by listening to live performance. I am still trying to understand why that is true. I think it may have something to do with the sound of a musical instrument in the room of the performance. There is something about the tonal quality and the effect given by the performance space, that is different than when listening to a recording. I also notice that for me, an instrument played through a sound system is just like a recording. It is missing something essential for me to feel the full impact of the music emotionally . I have no idea why this is the case...I don’t have any conscious bias against recordings or sound systems...I just observe this idiosyncratic response.
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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:37 pm

lagartija wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:03 pm
You have convinced me, Andrei, that for self expression purposes, recording perhaps gives the best results for the reasons you have stated. :-)

As for live performance, perhaps there are different reasons why people perform and that determines whether or not they consider it the “pinnacle”. Maybe there are people who want to play *for* someone...in order to offer them solace for pain, lift their spirits if they (the listeners) are depressed, give them peace...all through the magic that is music and its effect on human beings ( and some non humans as well). In this case, the performer is not expressing their own inner condition, but attempting to change the condition of the listener. Therefore, the pinnacle for them would be the performance and the effect it had on the listeners, which they could experience immediately by the response of the listener.
Then, as you suggested, there are performances where the intent is to communicate something about the human condition and/or the performer’s interior state. One does not need to be in a live performance situation to do this, and perhaps a recording best captures the specific intent of the creator.

With that said, I will admit that I am rarely moved by listening to recordings. I am often extremely moved by listening to live performance. I am still trying to understand why that is true. I think it may have something to do with the sound of a musical instrument in the room of the performance. There is something about the tonal quality and the effect given by the performance space, that is different than when listening to a recording. I also notice that for me, an instrument played through a sound system is just like a recording. It is missing something essential for me to feel the full impact of the music emotionally . I have no idea why this is the case...I don’t have any conscious bias against recordings or sound systems...I just observe this idiosyncratic response.
Certainly all these things are personal experiences and attitudes , and it could be different for different people.
And yes acoustic instruments sounds wonderful when they been played!
But...
do we really always have perfect acoustics in room?
perfect silence with no distraction in audience?
perfect physical and emotional state of performer?
perfect humidity temperature etc. in hall?
yes it is great to see playing live musician which performance you already love!
But could be this musician always in perfect physical and emotional state ? invincible, never sick, never having any troubles, traumas and always perfect in what he does?
I remember Richter told that he has to played important concert in Vienna (when he was in his best performing form) and day before the concert person very close to him died, and he was really sad because of that and could hardly concentrate on his performance .. and then what? most of newspapers wrote that Richter is simply a "bad pianist", that he just do not have a good technique etc.
did he really had bad technique? yet.. yes he could not provide that "pinnacle" for audience...and some were really disappointed...
as far as electronics and acoustic systems?
well. some of them are better and some worse... it is simply a technical/financial matter...
yet because of it we could hear the best of Gould and many many others!
And honestly I prefer to listen Gould and Richter in my headphones or or speakers, alone in a place with zero distraction and in a moment when I feel I want it! and same with my own playing and performance...
I found that.. unfortunately .. I am not a machine.. I could not produce and even receive the same amount of Music power any time...and changes of age and health does not help in this...

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Re: Does anyone else NOT like performing?

Post by gitgeezer » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:42 pm

I gave a few public performances when I was in college. I found that I definitely did NOT like performing, and I haven't performed since.

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