Performance anxiety and other musings / by Simmon Li

This topic came up over the long weekend. And it's kind of funny because it's not really something a lot of people talk about (in the jazz program anyway). I think it's such an important part of the whole ensemble, that it's a bit of a shame for it not to be talked about. I've always wondered, how do people perform so well? I always feel like I'm terrible at it. As a singer, I have to MC stuff too, and it gets REALLY REALLY dry. Like extremely dry, and I just seem like an ass, or some sort of side man that sings when I'm told to. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy making music as a group, but I really can't get into that "it's all about me" mentality. I just find it kind of nuts to think like that, you know? But I guess on a certain level, if I'm singing something, I have to have that personality. Like, when I'm singing, I am being featured. Tonight's show didn't go too badly. I didn't flub up lyrics, which is what I tend to do, but I did mess up a lot of form/road map issues, and I think that's an extension of my lyric thing. I just need to get my performance technique together. I know people were saying that they have worked that panic point to be after the show, behind the curtain. I'm sort of working it back there, but I don't know exactly what to do, other than to perform. Well, this issue kind of blossoms into the reason why I am kind of afraid of my recital. I know that I should prepare for it more. 12 tunes, 2 sets. Depending on what I do, I might throw up 15 tunes. My basic plan, I think, is to have like a quartet format for the first set. Then, for the second set, want to start off with maybe sextet, or a septet (trumpet, bone, tenor, voice, pn, bs, dr). Anyway, I really really want to do a few choral pieces in the second set, maybe to end the recital. I dunno, I should really talk with mah teach. Anyway, I know preparing for my recital will help take care of some of the performance anxiety. Being prepared to the max means that I am confident in my material, so I can focus on other things, like blend, sound, music, as opposed to "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit" in my head. Aside from being prepared, I think I have other issues to address though. I have this sort of inferiority thing going on. I mean, I like input from people, but when I ask people to play on my recital, I always feel like I'm asking them a huge favor. The worst part is, I never really end up acknowledging people until waaay after the fact, because I just get so caught up in the "Thank god, it's done." I've been thinking about this kind of stuff a lot, especially now considering the fact that my recital is now set. My recital is all about me, but at the same time, I would not be comfortable making it all about me. I'm a collaborator. I don't really know where to begin so I can make things better for myself, as I'm too negative to get actual gigs. I just feel like we need more performance opportunities within the faculty so that we can be performing like shit in a safe environment where there isn't as huge a burden to "not suck". You know?