I can't say enough about how much I LOVE this video.
Opera singer (international superstar!) Joyce DiDonato hosts a Q&A session after giving a masterclass at Juilliard for young singers aspiring to have performance careers. The entire video is full of exceptional insight, but my favorite is her description of the critical inner voice (our internal monologue that constantly speaks even when we're performing). Not only does she explain it, but she talks about how to fight it.
I am still writing blog posts on a monthly basis, but they have moved. As part of my position with D'Addario Woodwinds, I write posts about education, pedagogy, repertoire, and general topics relating to music for both students and educators alike. Check out part 1 from my newest series on Performance Anxiety here, and peruse the great information from my colleagues at D'Addario on thewoodwindmethod.com
My high school students have spent the past several months mastering three etudes in preparation for TMEA All-State auditions. Despite the talent and level of dedication, the repertoire is challenging for the vast majority of students.
After spending months mastering and honing every note, rhythm, and articulation with relentless detail, there is the small matter of then performing in front of the foreboding curtain which separates the student from the panel of judges. Surrounded in a room of their peers, students must execute every detail of the music with utter perfection. The performance is then scrutinized by a panel of highly-trained experts, who then choose the best students (a very small handful) to advance. The process continues with higher stakes at each round, until four saxophonists are chosen to make the Texas All-State Band.
In case you didn’t catch that last part: FOUR saxophonists make All-State. Four. Out of several hundred if not thousands.
Although it wasn't intentional, I found myself defending my performance when I first started writing this blog post. I could write about each little thing that didn't go perfectly in the live performance (which is now on YouTube). I could write about how hot the stage was, and how it affected my pitch, and how my horn is a mess despite four unsuccessful attempts to fix it, and how the stormy weather affects reeds; but the bottom line is that would be a waste of time and an even larger run-on sentence.
A week ago I had the privilege of playing a concerto with the Austin Symphonic Band. I was excited for several reasons, the most obvious being the opportunity to be a featured soloist. It also gave me the chance to get a great recording of my playing that I could post on the internet and be proud of. To date, this has never happened. I'm certainly not ashamed of my performances, but, having done so little studio recording, I have yet to play an entire piece live entirely in-tune and...