Saturday, February 27, 2010

Albany Symphony Orchestra!

Hello everyone,

Well, despite some of the worst weather we've seen so far this winter, our weekend of performances with the Albany Symphony was completely fantastic! Indeed, thank you so much to everyone who braved the elements to come hear these special concerts. It is always so inspiring to play for such an enthusiastic audience! It was also a true honor and privilege for us to work with David Alan Miller and the ASO.

This series included three concerts in three days, which is an experience very different from preparing for one concert only. Although not always the case, I am more accustomed to preparing for concerts that come and go in a single evening, but this past weekend forced me to look more closely at the idea of "pacing one's self."

How does a musician bring a set of repertoire to its highest level, and then maintain that intensity over the course of days? Many performers with major careers (such as Hilary Hahn) consider it a matter of course to take particular concertos on the road for weeks/months at a time. And there is no doubt about it; the very first performance always has that extra dose of adrenalin which is difficult to duplicate many evenings in a row. However, it is important that we learn how to prepare ourselves for each and every performance, even if it is for the 50th time.

So! Here are a couple of small things I have learned: (1) morning: "maintenance practicing;" play everything slowly to save your energy and focus on specific passages, (2) afternoon: naps are amazing, and (3) right before the concert: a PayDay is great because it gives you extra energy without making you jittery.

And there it is! For those of you who are musicians, I would love to know how you feel about this topic, and for those of you who are not - well, you now have caught a glimpse of a behind-the-scenes Musician Issue!

All for now. Perhaps the next time I write, some snow will have melted.