My graduate recital was a smashing success. I get pretty nervous to play for people. I never play as well in public as I do in a practice session. A few weeks before my recital I had a pretty negative performing experience which prompted me to go get a prescription from a doctor for a beta-blocker, which blocks your fight-or-flight physical response. I got a prescription for propanellol in 10mg pills and tried them in a few different doses in various settings and decided on 30mg, spread over a couple of hours. The day before the recital my friend Kim was flying in, and my daughter came down with vomiting and a terrible fever. So I decided to get out of dodge and go get a hotel room downtown so I wouldn't get sick and miss my culminating recital. Kim and I had a grand old time. We went out to dinner at my favorite downtown sushi place, Yoi Tomo's. We picked up a birthday cake from Cafe de Paris and ate it in our hotel room (Happy Birthday, Kim!). We met with the sound guy at school and laid some footage for some recordings for my "solo album" that I hope to finish next year. Kim and I always pack a ton of stuff in a day.
The next day we went for a pedicure together. I went and visited my alternative doctor who does a kind of physio/psycho-therapy with me. He gave me something to spray under my tongue that was supposed to "balance my yin." Whatever. I just know I felt better afterwards. I took my ipod and my yoga mat to school and warmed up really slowly for about 30 minutes at a time: play for 30 minutes, rest for 30, play for 30, rest for 30, play for 30. I felt nice and warm but not worn out. I think it was a good strategy.
By the time I went on stage, I was still apprehensive because I wanted it to go well, but I had no physical symptoms: no cold hands, no tremors, no racing heartbeat, no short shallow breathing. I had somewhere between 125-150 people in my audience. When I walked out onstage, I looked out at all those people clapping for me and couldn't see anyone but my best friend Kim and my husband Scott. It's kind of weird to look out and see so many people and yet not be able to SEE them. As the night went along, I could recognize more of them as I looked out into the audience.
I seem to remember stopping 3 or 4 times, and that I didn't always play the form of the pieces exactly like I had learned (circling around a few times or skipping some things) but I don't remember WHERE the problems were, and I was able to just move along and not dwell on the mistakes when they happened. It was a more enjoyable experience than I've ever had in a public performance. Usually I feel like I just committed a crime against humanity during and after a recital. This time, it was much better. I don't think beta-blockers will help EVERYONE, but they helped me. I don't think it will help if you have self-destructive thought patterns, or if you don't practice adequately. But it helped me a lot.
I played the Chopin 4th Ballade as well as I ever have, with no issues. I was really proud of it, it being the longest and most "advanced" of the pieces on my program.
I had a beautiful reception afterwards, arranged by my friends Monica and Ruth. The food was delicious and visually stunning. I was totally wiped out, but it was fun to visit with everyone. I felt so much support from my students, from my music teacher friends, from my professors, from church friends, and my family. My parents, Mikelle, and Kevin drove up from Utah to see me! And, my dad's cousin Woody and his wife Susan came! What an honor it was to have so many friends there.
I can't wait to be done studying for finals so I can learn some more music. I ordered the Mompou Chopin Variations and they are at Dunkley's waiting for me to pick them up, along with the Chopin Barcarolle. That would be a nice CD, the Chopin Ballade, Barcarolle, and the Mompou variations. I'm off to a good start.