What is fun about performing?
Sometimes students are scared to play in front of others. I completely understand that. Sometimes I get nervous too. When I was younger my dad always wanted me to play my flute or the piano for anyone that came through our front door, or so it seemed. Did I love that? Absolutely not! But now, years later, I’m grateful that he was so proud of me and wanted to provide opportunities for me to share my talents with others as often as I could.
I went to college and earned degrees in Flute Performance and Pedagogy. Some of the college requirement options were to either do a research paper or do a solo performance. Which one did I choose? You guessed it. Performance!! I had a lot of fun preparing and playing multiple solo recitals during my years in college and graduate school, not to mention all the large and small ensemble performances I’ve been involved in for the past 40 years.
Last week I played with the Utah Valley Symphony for our second outdoor summer concert in the park. The symphony is on the left just past the large screen and the van. It’s not the best photo, but at least it gives you an idea of the setting. Even though a lot of people filled the park to come listen to us and even though it was being filmed by the local cable company to be rebroadcast later, I wasn’t concerned about the people or the cameras.
I was just so happy to be playing again and even more grateful that the wind wasn’t blowing like our last outdoor concert. I sure missed not preforming last year, thank to COVID.
Our concert was patriotic and movie music such as Battle Hymn of the Republic, Moon River, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Over the Rainbow, Harry Potter and more. Nothing heavy and serious, just a lot of fun and beautiful music. There wasn’t anything scary about playing this summer concert.
So what’s fun about performing?
As a flutist, I enjoy being able to sit in the middle of the orchestra and experience real surround sound. That’s when performing is fun.
I love being able to play for the fun of playing and not being worried about an audition or a grade. That’s why this concert was so fun after such a long drought of large performing ensembles. The other thing I treasure is the contentment I feel when a concert finishes. It’s rewarding to know you were part of a production, no matter how big or small.
When you get to the point of knowing your scales, knowing your arpeggios, knowing rhythms, knowing intonation, knowing how to breathe and phrase effectively, when you can get yourself out of the notes and rhythms and learn to see the music and how to express it, that’s when performing is fun.
When you are creating beautiful or messy, peaceful or energetic, happy or sad, bouncy or flowy, mysterious or majestic music, and knowing that you are contributing to those moods and emotions, that’s when performing is fun.
No matter what stage you are in, learn to find satisfaction in your musical development. Notice joy in the journey and you’ll soon discover that performing is fun!