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Friday 20 April 2007

Great moments in tuba performance

During the third part, a piece broke off of my tuba. I managed to reattach it before the 4th part, but when I started playing again, I was about a quarter step out of tune. During the rehearsal, the composer - not a student but a visiting artist, known and respected in California - had worked with me on the tuning, specifically because he didn't want the fourth part to be out of tune. I tried lipping it up, but my god I was flat. Maybe I was on the wrong note? Maybe I was lost? The ensemble was getting thinner and thinner as the pitch of the piece dropped until it was me, the piano and the basses. I got flustered. My heart raced. I was sitting on stage in front of all of the composers and a good portion of the sonologists. Take deep breaths. My god, I'm having a panic attack on stage and I can;t play my part. Normally, I like playing because I specifically don't get tweaky, but this is a panic attack in front of everybody while holding a tuba which is being held together by soggy gaffing tape. I stopped playing until the final section. The composer did not smile at me after the piece. I came home and drank.

I'm on a waiting list to see a shrink. Anxiety is treatable. Not with meds, but with talk therapy. Six to eight weeks and it's gone. this is considerably longer than I've been waiting. If they keep me waiting long enough, I can start all over again when I move in the fall.

I can't decide if the way to deal with tuba problems and stage fright is to take the tuba out busking this weekend or to throw the goddamned thing into a canal;


Jean Sirius said...

oh, hon. that's not anxiety. that's a real, live, fullblown nightmare. your tuba came apart in performance in front of a bunch of people whose opinions you value.

there there there there there there there there there.


Polly Springhorn said...

I would've felt the same way. And I did, when my bass flute got a key bent somewhere between the performance I gave and the masterclass I was supposed to give -- resulting in my being unable to demonstrate all the stuff I'd just done ten minutes ago. *shudder*

But therapy IS really good for anxiety.


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