Performing is Fun

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.

Utah Valley Symphony Sunday in the Park

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?

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Constructive Criticism

How well do you accept constructive criticism? If your goal in life is to improve in whatever way that is, or whatever field that is, you must be willing to accept constructive criticism.

If something is “constructive”, it is productive, beneficial, or useful. Even the word “construct” implies building or creating. The word “criticism” itself is sometimes thought of with a negative connotation. But, if you replace the word criticism with evaluation or analysis, or even opinion, it takes on a whole new meaning. Thus, instead of constructive criticism, consider thinking of it as a helpful building process.

When someone is offering constructive criticism, what are they really saying? You are horrible and worthless? Of course not! They offer advice because they care for you and they sincerely want you to improve. As a musician, taking lessons puts you in a vulnerable position. As a teacher, I strive to help my students feel comfortable by creating a positive, friendly atmosphere. I strive to point out what they are doing well then offer suggestions of what to improve.

When someone offers their opinion, whether that’s as a flutist or a coworker or a family member or friend, strive to take their input and recommendations and remember that the only reason they are sharing those ideas with you is because they want to help you develop and progress.

So, don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t beat yourself up. No one is attacking you. Don’t throw in the towel and give up. Accept their advice. Try to implement it. Take counsel and allow yourself to benefit from it and discover how you can blossom and grow.