June 25, 2014


Some people love to perform.  The thrill of being on stage, the excitement of sharing with others, the anxiety of it not going well,the possibility that it will be brilliant, the comfort of a well-known program.  Other people, not so much. 

Culturally, we revere performance and performers.  And as musicians we hold those that get on stage on occasion or all the time in high regard…precisely because we know what they are going through. And often we’re glad it’s not us!

But if you look at the etymology of the word “Perform” it is enlightening.  It comes to us through Middle English from the Old French Parfournir to see something through to completion, to accomplish something. 

Well, that’s not so bad….or terrifying, is it?  To see something completed is a goal for many people.  And to perform on a stage for a collection of interested listeners (see – doesn’t that sound less horrible than “audience”?) is certainly one fitting end to the hours of practice that you have put in to each piece you have painstakingly learned, refined, and polished.

You are leaning away, thinking that I am only talking about other people.  That you’re not interested in performing on a stage, that someone else will do such a better job of it.  And that is fine…if you mean it.  But if you mean it, why do you envy those that do it? Are you afraid that you’re not good enough?  Or that you’re not prepared enough?  The first is doubt driven, second is correctable if you do want to be on stage.

So, be certain to define your parfournir for yourself – define what seeing your practice to completion means…and then work your way there.  Performing can be done at many levels – just don’t stop at a level that is comfortable but doesn’t fit your definition of complete.

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