Tuesday, February 14, 2017

taking a cue from our fearless leader

Yesterday I had an absolute disaster of a music lesson, with the teacher pulling no punches about my awful readthrough of a piece last week, then insisting I play it there in the lesson. The things he harped on - beautiful sound, excellent bow control, rich vibrato, to name a few - weren't things I'm good at. And they really weren't things I'm good at when I'm rattled and self-conscious about my playing, like when someone has just told me how bad I sound. Like yesterday. I didn't cry, but I almost did. It is a disaster when a grownup person cries (or almost does) at something as trivial as a music lesson.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

mundanities in the face of global terror.

At string orchestra rehearsal yesterday evening I was the only violist. One violist let us know beforehand she'd be absent; the others simply didn't show. We did no review, just forged ahead in some of the pieces. I had practiced. but not to the extent that I could come in and just be the entire section. 

I did not handle it well. Sandwiched in between robust healthy violin and cello sections, I couldn't find a way to play that wasn't either too-quiet or super-crunchy-loud. I started to worry that I would forget how to read, and lo and behold, I forgot how to read. I made a lot of mistakes, felt I never got the chance to fix them, got more and more tense at each mistake, bolted as soon as rehearsal was over. Basically I played as poorly as 5 years ago, was mortified at every mistake, just dug myself into a hole. I played so horribly. It felt like everyone was thinking "god, what is she doing here, she's terrible". I am so embarrassed.

Before rehearsal, the conductor (who is also a violist) and I read a duet by Michael Kimber that was based on Hindemith's Trauermusik (which I had never heard of until two days ago and which I was now very smug about having made its acquaintance). There were people milling about the rehearsal room, and I worried about playing something so weird-sounding. Someone even announced she wanted to look over my shoulder while we read; like a good sport, I said "ok, fine". I goofed it. Even though I had practiced a lot, played with a recording, even read it with a former teacher a day ago, I goofed it last night reading it with the conductor in that room full of people getting ready for rehearsal. The conductor said "are you really sure you want to use this for an audition?" I said yes, but after the rehearsal I have new and serious doubts. Who the hell do I think I am, that I can play something like that?

48 hours ago I was happy about playing for my former teacher, who said my playing on a particular piece was like night and day (from when I first started working on it). Now I am back to feeling like a hack or an impostor or a head case, or all of these. I know I will feel better soon, maybe even by tomorrow. But this is unpleasant.