Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Had a few days off of bassooning for a work trip. As it turns out, I ended up with a bit of performance experience: I had to give a brief commendation as part of an awards ceremony. Shouldn't be a big deal, but I still feel like an imposter in my area, and the audience consisted of hundreds of the top people in my field, so even brief spots of visibility can be important. Worse, the format of the event had me standing awkwardly around on stage under the lights for a long period waiting to give my piece. And in some ways something short is more difficult than something long: if it's long, you can get used to being up there performing, but if the entire performance is thirty seconds, then your only impression you leave is your initial impression. Still, I was pretty happy with having had my musical performance experiences to draw on. I knew that what I was feeling inside is almost unconnected with the audience's experience of the event. I knew that the physiological feelings of racing heart rate etc were just that, invisible internal physiological reactions, and not harbingers of a debilitating career-destroying panic attack. I had practices to draw on: stand up straight, smile, and breathe. And I knew the importance of preparation and practice. Unfortunately I drafted my words on my iPod, which decided to get confused and unreadable when I put it on the podium under the lights. I was left with being completely ex tempore, which is to say improvising, but I got through it with only a minimum of stumbling. I felt fine afterward, happy about the performance, which is probably the most important thing, after being willing to do it in the first place.