Performance Anxiety: Learning from Theater Improv's 'Freedom to Fail' border=0 align=

Performance Anxiety: Learning from Theater Improv's 'Freedom to Fail'

September 30, 2023, 10:34 PM · An interesting article is circulating from BBC Music Magazine examining stage fright or performance anxiety. The article touches on several musicians’ antidotes, philosophies, and analysis.

One point the article doesn't really lean into is something I've learned from taking improv classes: the use of failure. Musicians are so tightly wound and so focused on perfection that we forget that we're human. Improv class (theatrical improv, not musical improv) allows you to embrace a failure, lean into it, learn from it, and use it without shame. It's a hard concept to understand, but once you do it's like a freedom of sorts. When you grant permission to make a mistake, it actually can free your mind for a better overall performance.

The first time I learned of permission to fail was in an improv class. The class was in a giant circle, and we were playing one of the many improv games designed to help free minds and cultivate creativity. Someone in the class messed up, and then yelled: "I failed!" to which the entire class celebrated along with the person by cheering and clapping in support. I was utterly confused! Why would anyone celebrate a failure? Keep reading...

Comments (2) weekend vote: What (software) do you use for music notation?

September 30, 2023, 3:54 PM · What software do you use for music notation? When asked this question, I had to answer - umm, pencil and paper?

Yes, somehow I've worked around the need for notation software for a long time. I'm not a composer - I certainly write more words than I do music notes! But now and then I need to write out an exercise for a student, or I want to write out something in my head. So I'm finally seeing the advantages of being able to write into a tidy template, so that it can be legible, savable and easily shareable.

So this leads me to the question: which kind of software works best for music notation, particularly for a violinist and teacher? I'm curious about what kinds of software everyone else is using. Also, are there others, like me, who have been on the sidelines for a while, when it comes to music notation software? Others who still use a pencil and manuscript paper? (I know at least one professional composer who composers at least the first draft this way!) Please participate in the vote, and then share your experience, when it comes to notating music.

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For the Record, Op. 255: Renaud Capuçon; Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective; Tosca Opdam

September 29, 2023, 5:39 PM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Mozart: The Violin Concertos
Renaud Capuçon, violin
Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Capuçon conducting

Assuming the dual role of soloist and director, Capuçon turned to the subtle musical complexities of the Mozart violin concertos armed with a feeling for their spontaneity and a determination to bring them to life in the moment. Recorded last September at Lausanne’s Théâtre de Beaulieu, the 2-CD album also includes the Rondo in C major K 373 and Adagio in E major K 261. BELOW: Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219: I. Allegro aperto

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Violinists Invited to Apply for Rachel Podger Online Masterclass

September 29, 2023, 4:26 PM · The Benedetti Foundation - Nicola Benedetti's educational foundation - is offering the chance for violinists to apply to play in an online masterclass, to be given by Rachel Podger as part of its Baroque Virtual Sessions, Oct. 2-16. Podger will give two master classes, both on Oct. 16.

The opportunity is open to school age string players, student, recent graduates and adult non-professional players. Violinists can apply by completing the online application form (click here) and submitting a video of themselves playing.

The deadline for applying is 5 p.m. GMT, Tuesday, October 3.

As part of the Baroque Virtual Sessions, Nicola Benedetti, The Benedetti Foundation and global music agency Askonas Holt are also offering the opportunity for an early-career baroque violinist to win a place with the Benedetti Baroque Orchestra as a member of the orchestra on its inaugural tour of Asia in 2024. Click here for more information about that.

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