36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 107: Concert nerves


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 107 — Concert nerves
17-November-1971 (Wed.)


Saw a guitar concert in Amerika Haus. I felt sorry for the guy because everything was going wrong for him. All various noises (wind, machines), nervousness (forgetting music). Honestly, he wasn’t ready to be a concert artist. He reminded me of a student—learning. A concert artist has to know his stuff backwards. I can understand why most wait until well into their careers. Besides playing the notes, he has to make it seem easy, otherwise the audience can’t relax and enjoy the music.


A nervous concert. Today, I see a concert where the performer was very nervous to the point where he forgot some of the music he was playing. It sounds as if there were external noises affecting the concert as well. This might have been a very young “student” performer, or someone making his first concert tour. Nerves are an issue when playing. Today, I would guess that this performer eventually settled down and is doing just fine on his performances.

My nervous recital. In my graduation horn recital at Montclair State College, I remember visibly shaking a little, and making more mistakes than I did in practice because of it. It was nerve wracking. You do settle down after a while.

Pro performers. Professional concert artists were probably nervous the first time they performed in any significant venue. What does it take to be a top-tier performing artist?

• Top artists have superior technical craft of their instrument. This is the technique.
• Top artists infuse their own art and interpretation of the music they are playing. This is the art.
• Top artists generally have few issues with nerves, probably a result of true confidence in their technical craft. And much practice.

One thing is certain—it’s not easy being a top-tier performing artist. Practice helps.

Till tomorrow.


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