#19 Stage Fright

After many years of performing, I still can’t get over the nerves. I don’t feel as nervous in a band setting. But it still gets me when I perform solo on classical guitar. In a way, I like it. It gives me a hyper sense of focus. It’s just that my hands shake a bit and my fingers don’t move as swiftly as I was practicing. The lucky part is that I don’t usually show much facial expression, and my friends always told me after my performances that I didn’t look nervous at all.

I miss going to studio class, to play for others and to hear others play, to see how everyone is progressing and building their repertoire. Playing in studio was always the worst though. I got very pressured because I wouldn’t want to suck in front of my fellow guitarists. These days, I am grateful for a few friends who would take their time to listen to my run-throughs for any upcoming performances. A guitarist friend suggested me to do a few push ups before I play a piece, to simulate the kind of adrenaline rush I would get from a performance. It sort of works, but I would get tired too quickly before I can practice more…

At Eastman, guitarists tend to play their degree recitals in Hatch Hall. Hatch is indeed perfect for guitar. I have done that for my masters recital, but I have done all my DMA recitals in Kilbourn. I get distracted so easily, and I felt like I could hear every little sound the audience would make. As a bigger hall, audience in Kilbourn tend to be farther away from the stage, which made me feel more secure. But I hate to admit that I enjoy the separation of performer and audience, as I always liked that the classical guitar is the most intimate of all instrument.

I always dream of playing in a setting just like Tarrega did in the above picture. Everyone up close, paying attention, listening to the nuances. I don’t have to worry about producing volume for a big hall. But I also can’t imagine the pressure with people watching/listening over my shoulders!

(Btw, I don’t play with a foot stool, but I want Tarrega’s foot stool!)

In a similar picture, Llobet was playing (also with an awesome footstool). And Segovia was watching him up close. I wonder if Llobet’s got nervous?

Someday I will fulfill this dream – get a couple friends, all dressed up, and sneak into the 19th century-looking Ranlet Lounge, to recreate the “Tarrega picture” above. I would need get a good looking beard or mustache first though.

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