Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Flute performance

This past Sunday I played a flute solo with the Presbyterian ensemble at the 11:00 a.m. service. I got through it with no major blunders, but half way through it I was asking myself why I thought I could do something like that. I had practiced the piece everyday for weeks, it didn't go above high B, and there were no sixteenths. But performing is different than practicing, especially as we hadn't rehearsed with the grand piano up in the church proper, so everything sounded different, which was disconcerting. 

The main thing, though, was trying to create enough sound with the flute to fill the acoustic space of the church. That took a lot more work than practicing had, so by the time the piece was over my lip was shot and just beginning that quivering that fatigue brings on when I was holding out the final tied whole notes.

The other thing was that while playing it dawned on me that my style was not what Al probably wanted. Charitably, you could say I was playing with a lot of heart and expression, whereas a bit more polish and command would probably have been more to Al's taste.

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