Posted by Janet on May 26, 1999 at 07:43:38:
In Reply to: Anyone remember their first performing experience? posted by dgee on May 24, 1999 at 13:04:21:
I was about 10 when I gave my first musical performance at a talent show hosted by the local town's girls group. I sand "The Battle of New Orleans" - a lovely ditty. When my turn came, I marched out on stage, looked at the pianist to let her know I was ready, and we began. It was going fine, but I didn't want to look out at all those partental faces in the audience, so I just looked at the microphone. I guess it was in the second verse when I begam amazed by the texture of the microphone itself - all those little nubby things sticking out all over it. I lost my concentration, and all the words of the song left my brain. I recall looking up at the sea of faces and the feeling of terror that swept over me at that moment. I ran crying from the stage and out of the hall, which was filled with the laughter of the audience. I felt incredible shame.
My instrumental debut was just as spectacular. I'd been playing viola for just 3 months, when I decided to play in the talent show portion of the annual meeting for the choral society with which I sing. My teacher did not prepare me for performance anxiety, and I guess I'd put from my mind my vocal catastrophe from 25 years before. I got up to play some piece by Lehar - Merry Widow? - and the minute I put the bow on the string my bow arm began to shake uncontrollably. I stopped and started again. Same thing happened - was this some sort of instant vibrato? It didn't sound like my teacher's vibrato, though. I stopped and started a third time, prefacing it with the comment "I'm sorry - but I'm REALLY nervous!" The fourth time I managed to stumble through the piece, and received rousing applause. Afterward everyone approached me with comments like: "That was so courageous!" "Inspiring" "You're so brave!" "Amazing!" "I can't believe you did that after just 3 months study!" Obviously, no one praised the music itself - but they did praise the spirit of the performance/performer. I've since learned that my performance that night, despite how it sounded, actually did inspire a couple of people to begin instrumental study as an adult. Of that I am quite proud.
Now I relish the chance to perform - provided I'm prepared!
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