Sunday, April 15, 2012

State of Mind

Tonight the Genuine Brass Quintet (with Dave, Megan, Aaron, Caitlin and myself) played for Dave's master's degree recital. We performed Ewald's Quintet No.2, and we played it very well.

The reason I mention this, is because we had performed the exact same piece in its entirety on Friday for some high school students, and I think the quintet would agree when I say that it did not go well at all. From faulty music stands to individual mistakes (I personally had many) and an overall lack of group focus.

With no rehearsal since that very average performance, we came out this evening and played Ewald 2 with vigor, musicality and polish.

I've racking my brain to figure out how there can be such a huge difference in a group over such a short period of time.

Of course there are personal stressors, such as school or personal issues, that can contribute to a less than stellar performance. What are some other reasons that you can think of?


  1. I know that at least for me, I was thrown off by our sound in the room. It sounded quiet so I didn't play out like I should. Also, I was so thrown by my stand flipping and my music going to the floor while I was playing. Those were the main things that threw me off.

    If I had to guess what else could be an issue....the audience was like 5 inches from my bell so that maybe made me a little more self-conscious than usual.

    In general, I've noticed with my own practice/performance that morning is not my ideal time. I need to work on being able to play just as well even if my brain is not totally awake.

  2. Just some an idea from my undergrad teacher: when something like bad music stands, or the distraction of audience members being really close happens, he encouraged us to think like this. In his spare time, he actually really enjoyed flying and was a recreational pilot. He told us always to think of what a pilot has to do in a crisis situation, like when the plane has stalled, or you're low on fuel, and you have dozens of people staring at you hoping you're going to bring the plan to a smooth landing. He said the pilot has two options: 1) remain calm, and concentrate on safely landing the plan despite the problems and stress, or 2) panic, get nervous, and crash. I just think that when something goes wrong, or the performance situation isn't ideal, we have to not even think about it, and continue to make music, and not worry about the audience making negative judgments.

    Just some thoughts!