Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why am I Nervous?

It’s finally the week of my Moveable Feast performances!  I’ve been working for months to prepare this version of this show, and am excited about finally bringing it to fruition.  I perform a lot, and I do recitals with some regularity, but this spring performance every year is the one that makes me the most anxious.   

This is the set that I self-produce.  It’s not part of some other series, it’s not a South Bend Symphony event, it’s just me.  

I am highly trained as an oboist, but I have no real idea how to produce or promote a concert.  I am making this up as I go along.  Every year I magically find just enough audience members to make it a performance (and usually a few more than the year before), but every year I am terrified that I won’t.  That the combination of Facebook posting and poster hanging and email blitzing and event calendar filling out that I labor over  in the month leading to my event will fail me. 

I’m really not nervous about playing the music.  I know my material, and I love it, and I am a  performer. 

The logistics don’t scare me, though my to-do list is still pretty long - print programs, create  signage, get change for my drawer, buy ingredients for the cookies, bake the cookies, find serving plates for the cookies, make a reed, go over my script…

I’m not worried about my collaborators, who are outstanding musicians and reliable human beings and will help me to create an enjoyable evening for the audience.

But I’m always nervous about the audience.  That they won’t come.

It’s difficult to be a musician in 2012.  I really have to be entrepreneurial with my career - speaking to everyone I know about what I do and staying visible (neither of which comes naturally to this introvert) and thinking always about the bigger picture, when my actual schooling has all been in the tiny details. The note endings, the accents, the purity of the interval.   This spring recital, which I put on by myself, for MY friends, colleagues, and neighbors in my home town(s) is a different experience altogether from practicing in my room, and certainly from performing in orchestras which have  subscribers and official marketing materials and staff whose job it is to get people to come.  Even the orchestras have trouble filling their seats - why should I have any success at all?

And yet I keep at it. Maybe this is the year that I slink home in shame after performing for three audience members, two of whom are related to me.   Maybe this is the year that I go platinum.   I can’t wait to find out.

Thursday, March 22, 7:30pm
LakeView Lutheran Church
835 W. Addison, Chicago

Saturday, March 24, 3 pm EDT
South Bend Christian Reformed Church
1855 N.Hickory, South Bend

Tickets and further information HERE.


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