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I've only been playing for one year and have never performed for anyone other than family and friends.

About 6 or 8 months ago, I was asked by a friend if I would be ready to play for about 15 minutes, at her sisters wedding.

I said, why sure I will, of course!

The wedding is coming up in 2 months and I can't back out now. I am being fitted for a tux soon and I'm a nervous wreck.

I play sooo bad!

I'm sure that when the hellish 15 minutes are up, I will have no recollection of what I just sounded like.

Not to mention how inappropriate twinkle, twinkle little star, played 30 times over will be :-)

Quickly panicking,


[This message has been edited by Pete (edited 05-10-2000).]

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Let me just say that when I play before an audience that I experience the ultimate "high". The stage is dimly lit, multi colored lights shine on our bodies, wisps of smoke filter through the air. Suddenly the drums thunder in and my fiddle screams out in ecstacy. The song has begun....the people have started dancing...the adrenalin is flowing. Who or what am I playing for? That question I cannot answer, pure energy drives me at that moment. The only thing I can closely relate it to is "ki". It flows, and when it does you will know it.....

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For weddings the best things to play are in wedding albums. Find one. They are very easy to find and the music within is easy to play. Don't be nervous. Just practice a lot. A wedding is very important. Come up with something appropriate for the ceremony. PS- tux is spelled tux (short for tuxedo)

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As Chris Reuning and Margaret Pardee so eloquently said, a better name for me is "Ham Kai Vun".

I try to get a rise out of my audience, to let them feel what I'm feeling.

If I'm not getting any rise out of them, I'll keep trying or eventually give up.

Hence I watch my audience intensely and change what I do to alter their behavior.

The most difficult audiences to play for are people to whom violin playing is like a circus act - they might as well be asking "Can you walk on a tightrope?"

Also difficult to play for are folks who look down on the violin (e.g. Taiwanese medical personnel).

In the concert hall situation, people come for thrills and so getting rises out of them is easy.

Kids rule.

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I find that how I play/who I play for definitely depends on the audience reaction. Other members of my band feel the same way. Audiences we've had seem to fall into three broad categories. The worst are the audiences who aren't even paying attention to the fact that you're playing. They talk while you're playing and they only clap (if they clap at all) because they realize that there are other people clapping. It is so draining playing for that sort of crowd. mad.gif

Only marginally better are the ultra-polite crowd who sit quietly and clap politely at the end. They don't move with the music, they don't laugh at a humorous bit in the lyrics -- you feel like you'd get exactly the same reaction if you were reading poetry or peeling an orange on stage -- the audience is clapping because that's what audiences do, not necessarily because they got into the music. It's really weird.

By far the best type of audience is the fired-up, ready to be entertained kind that pays attention and responds appropriately. If you play something really energetic, they dance or hop around or holler. If you play something sweet and quiet, they shut up to listen. Playing for an audience like that, there's so much energy feedback that we'll play for three hours and not really notice it. With that kind of audience, the music really comes alive, and your playing for the audience and for the sake of the music at the same time. Very hard to do with the other types of crowds.

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First off, no matter how many times I have done it, I always get the butterflies. When up there under the lights, I try to just think about what I am playing and concentrate on how beutiful it is. I try to foget that there are all those people out there. If you concentrate on not screwing up, you surely will. As hard as it is, just try to enjoy what your playing.


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I guess that its different for everyone. I do my best playing when I am not aware of the audience. When I was younger and doing local competitions, I would screw up trying to show the audience that I knew how to play the piece well. When I got to college and started doing recitals, things changed. I stopped thinking about playing everything techinically well and started concentrating an presenting a piece. When I am so engrossed in making music, I become totally unaware of the audience. My fondest memory is my senior recital in college. I had placed myself too deep in the crook of the piano, and being a cellist, I was seated. The lid was on the short stick, and it blocked my view of my pianist. We were moving our heads above and below the lid in order to make eye contact and it turned into a merry game of "peek a boo" on stage. It just struck me as hysterically funny. At that point, I became totally relaxed. Since then, when I am onstage, whether it be orchestra or solo (and solo recitals dont happen very often anymore), I try to duplicate that feeling. So I guess the audience is a welcome eavesdropper for me.

Thats what works for me. Like I said, its different for everyone.

[This message has been edited by Earle29 (edited 05-12-2000).]

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