Thursday, 4 June 2009

still alive

Had an assignment due in today, got it in on time, but at cost of sleep and a rehearsal.

I've got exam tunnel-vision and will continue to have for a while. Please include in your prayers all those burdened by academic pressures, to borrow words from a friend who has done just that.

Yesterday in a break I was playing Brahms to an empty room, perfectly happily... not really practising as such, just playing. The conductor (also a player I respect very much but do not know well) walked in and my playing fell to pieces with self-conscious nerves. This time it was partly that it was unexpected, partly that I don't know the piece as well as I'd like. But it's something that can happen no matter how well I prepare, no matter how well I know I can play, no matter what steps I take beforehand to familiarize myself with the situation and remind myself why I am there. And that is what I fear most about these exams: trying my best and failing to connect. It's enough to make me want to slack off so at least I can blame not having worked hard enough for the sloppy performance, instead of having to face the fact that even when I do my best, my very human brain-body-spirit system is too complex to be consistent. But that same vulnerability is part of the flexibility that can make live performance something special.

No news yet on housing. Still playing stop-and-go with medical appointments but there's no cause for alarm there.

Sekr1t Pr0ject continues. I might share it with some of you when it's finished.


it's margaret said...

I can only say that when I become self-conscious at the altar, I fall apart like that.... get lost. So, I strive to remained focused on the ONE. Not anything else.... it helps. (mostly!)

Song in my Heart said...

Being self-conscious, conscious of myself, is definitely a problem as far as nerves are concerned. I do a lot to practise getting past that, to find ways to focus on what is important. Which in the case of performance, is finding out why the music is shiny, finding out what it has to say, and communicating that to the audience. To do that I have to be aware of the audience, and to be aware of the audience automatically means I'm aware--especially in an examination--that they may be judging me. As soon as that kicks in I'm lost. All the what-ifs pile in and soon I'm conflating a wrong note with being utterly unlovable, on some level, and then suddenly every note is an apology for the last, rather than an exploration of what comes next. That sounds ridiculous but that's what it boils down to.

A thing that does help me sometimes is to imagine that I am playing to someone I love and who I know will be able to overlook any technical errors and hear what I am trying to say. It doesn't always work, but it helps more reliably than any other mental technique I've found.

Maybe I should play to God more consciously.

Thank you, Margaret.