My passion is to help others in the community, young, old, and everyone in between, find relevance and joy in learning, performing or listening to classical music.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Not leaving page-turns up to chance

Seems like a silly topic, perhaps, but I have seen so many good auditions and performances interrupted by musicians having page-turn mishaps.  I'm sure you've all had one at some point: you think you have enough time but you don't at this one crucial performance and you find yourself late for the next entrance, you turn one too many pages and you're suddenly in the wrong movement, you turn a little too vigorously because you don't have very much time so your music falls off the music stand, and so on.  What is sad about these incidents is that they are usually preventable with a bit of foresight and perhaps, gasp, some spare change.  Why do so many musicians, many of them students, resist copying pages to reduce page-turning mishaps?  Is it an image issue?  Does it make one look like less of a musician with photocopies displayed on the music stand, as if anybody in the audience even cares?  I find myself chuckling somewhat sardonically at performers who are living on the edge, having perfected the art of turning their pages while continuing to play their instrument at the same time.  It can be quite a marvel to witness such acrobatics but mostly I find it unsettling and a bit distracting.  I imagine that most of the time, when performers don't come with prepared page-turns, it's simply because they didn't take the time to get it done.  As a busy person myself, I can sort of understand that.  But at the same time, why not take the extra few minutes, the extra quarter it may take, to make your performance a little less risky.  It may even make your performance a little less angst-filled.  You'd be surprised how much time you spend thinking about those difficult page turns while you really should be thinking about the music you're playing. 

There are some more varations I could write on this theme, but I think I'll save them for another day.  Stay tuned...if you dare, that is.

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