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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformancePerformance(Moderator: BGuttman) Ever have a complete meltdown in a performance?
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EricVanCott
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« on: May 31, 2006, 07:29PM »

I have, but only once.  I was playing the Cherry transcription of the Bach Double Violin Concerto with a friend of mine, and we had worked it out nicely in practice and rehearsal.  When the performance came, we were on a different stage that wasn't really conducive to listening to each other, and we were faced towards the audience, not towards each other.  I got off the beat pretty quickly, and just stopped playing for about 30 seconds.  After that, I waved him off, told the crowd we were very sorry, but we were gonna give it one more shot.  We got through it the second time, but not nearly as well as we could have.  This happened a while ago, but things like this seem to stay with you for a while.  Has something like this ever happened to someone here?
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boneyard

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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2006, 08:13PM »

Yes, a simular thing happened to me my sophmore year.  It was during one of those Wednesday afternoon recitals.  We were playing a trombone/tuba duet; can't even remember what it was.  We experienced some sort of phase shift early on and started to come apart and had to do a "do over."  I hadn't really ever thought about it until seeing your post and that happened...a long time ago.
 
 I know that it was scarey and somewhat embarrassing and that you probably regret not doing the piece the justice but stuff like that is going to happen.  It was a learning expereince.  Learning how to recover from a mishap like that is just as important any other aspect of performance.  It is part of the process.

Please do not beat yourself up over what happened.  Put yourself in the audience or a moment and imagine how you would feel if you were watching a performance that did not go the way it should...I would guess that you would feel very sympathetic because you want the performers to do well and you pull for themto be successful.  Believe me, everyone in the audience felt bad for you and wanted you to do well.  No one took pleasure in what happened.

Work up a new piece with your partner and get yourself back on the program.  Best wishes. Good!
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hccobb

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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2006, 08:15PM »

I think this happens to us all more often than we would like to admit. I've been in groups where this has happened a couple times, but it wasn't my fault at the restart. In one recital I remember getting off from the accompaniment for several measures and had to recover.

It's just a danger of the game. Do you think skateboarders get awesome by never breaking a bone? Some do, but those guys are boring to watch.
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Clay Cobb
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Dudewheresmytrombone
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2006, 09:03PM »

It didn't happen to me, but...

Our band played Carmina Burana for the fall concert.  On the 5th movement (I think that's the right one), there's this accompanied euphonium solo with a constantly changing time signature, plenty of caesurae (or is it caesuras?), and  being basically a pain to count.  Everything's going along pretty well until we reach the cadenza portion of the movement.  Our euphoniumist misses the cue  for her cadenza to start.  Our director signals again, and she misses it too.  He signals again, which the trumpets take to be a cue for their entrance which is about 3 measures after the cadenza.  To make things worse, the rest of the band comes in a few counts after the trumpets.  We end up with a confused euphoniumist, and with the trumpets and the rest of the band on different counts.  Our director cut us off, apologized to the audience, and started the movement over.  The rest of the concert went pretty well, but I was still thinking about that mishap.

Now that I think about it, I don't remember the euphoniumist ever coming in after all the cues...
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EricVanCott
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2006, 09:53PM »

I'm glad it happened, since nothing like that has ever happened before.  Luckily, the other player was very cool about it and didn't give me any grief.  We'll be playing that, mainly to get another crack at it for posterity's sake,  along with some other pieces in a recital this coming fall.  We just don't know what those pieces are yet.
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Derek Ream
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2006, 10:53PM »

One time when I played Dvorak New World Symphony, we played it on our pops concert outside.  I couldnt hear anything infront of me basically, I got lost in the last movement on accident, and, I came in loudly 2 bars before the actual entrance.  That was 4 years ago, and, I really dont know how I lost count, when I just got finished playing it for the 5th time after we came back from Europe with that piece and more.

Oh....in Prauge, I fell asleep due to jet-lag in our performance of the Moldaue by Smetena for our 5th concert in Europe.  I didnt get any sleep at all on that tour.  The tubist ended up kicking me in my leg to wake me up before I had an entrance.
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« Reply #6 on: Jun 01, 2006, 06:55AM »

Hmmm.  This sort of happened to me once in college.  I was playing the first movement of the Grondahl with orchestra.  I had the shakes so bad that I could barely get the opening phrase to speak.  From that point on, I was just praying for the piece to end.  I wanted to throw the horn off the stage and leave, that's how bad I felt.  A solid week of drinking will do that to a person.  During the rests I put my free hand in my pocket so that people wouldn't see how bad it was shaking.  Yikes!

Friends and family who were in attendance had little idea, though-- they thought it went OK.  So I guess most of it was mental (isn't it always?)Several months later I finally listened to the recording and it was not nearly as bad as I had thought, after the opening phrase; in fact it was pretty respectable.  But it was definitely not my finest moment.
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Chris Cline
« Reply #7 on: Jun 01, 2006, 09:03AM »

Solo performance in high school, a hundred years ago.  Me and an excerpt from one of the Bach Cello Suites (can't even remember which suite or movment now).  Just me and three judges in the room.  Half way through, my brain caved in.  Just stopped.  Quit playing, apologized to the judges, slunk out of the room.  Best thing that ever happened to me, because I knew what bottoming out felt like after that.
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brucejackson
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 01, 2006, 09:37AM »

My worst meltdowns were in jury exams.  I think of it as a rite of passage.  My freshman year I folded on both of my juries; one thing went wrong and this  snowballed into more and more mistakes ruining my performance.

My sophmore year I improved greatly and choose pieces that weren't very challenging to me and nailed them

The 2nd semester of my Junior year I was playing a tough 20th century piece with a lot of time changes that was hard to memorize.  I really thought I had it down (played dozens of times from memory in my practice room without any problems).  In my jury I got lost.  I knew my accompanist was top notch so when it sounded right I just came in with one of my entrances and she found me immediately on piano and covered my slip flawlessly.  I was the first trombone there to play this solo so I don't think they even knew I got lost; none of my jury sheets mentioned it.  I must admit that when I walked out of the jury I was shaking but what came out of my horn was confident and solid.

The difference is when I was a freshman in college I let one mistake ruin my whole performance but as a Junior I had the confidence and experience to continue without further mishaps.
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hccobb

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« Reply #9 on: Jun 01, 2006, 09:52AM »

<3 juries!
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Clay Cobb
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« Reply #10 on: Jun 26, 2006, 12:17AM »

I was stuffed up and couldn't hear properly before my Master's recital two years ago, so I took an expectorant. Dried out my mouth like a raisin. The second piece on the programme had about 9 quarter rests in it over 4 minutes - barely enough to breathe, let alone take a drink!, and at one point I just couldn't produce a sound anymore. Had to stop and take a drink while the organist held a very long chord. Very traumatic!!!

Catherine
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Paul Martin
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« Reply #11 on: Jun 26, 2006, 02:21PM »

I played in a dance band that played Dorsey's "Song of India" with every performance, and I played the solo part without incident (even well, if I don't mind saying so) probably 50 times straight, then cacked once in the beginning and ending solo during a recorded performance in front of a large audience.

God, I play so much better when I don't give a ****!
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BGuttman
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 26, 2006, 02:30PM »

It was an orchestra concert, with a fine soloist playing piano.  I think it was the Prokofiev.  Somewhere in the middle of a long solo section the pianist started playing a different piece!  The conductor (who was auditioning for Music Director) turned a funny color, but he tried to keep a beat going.  

The pianist realized her problem, noodled around a little bit, and got back with the piece.  Slowly the orchestra realized where she was, and within about 20 bars or so everybody found "the place".  We finished the piece with a flourish (and never stopped)!

I felt sorry for the conductor.  He was a great guy even if he wasn't the right person for that job.

As for me, I have had a few occasions where I completely went blank about the section of a solo I was trying to play.  Good thing I keep the music in front of me!

Meltdowns?  Stuff happens.  Deal with it.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #13 on: Jul 25, 2006, 06:33AM »

Well I haven't had that "serious" meltdowns while playing the trombone, since I've only been playing it for a year.. except for the time during my ABRSM grade 5 exam where I split the first note of "Lo, see the conquering hero", which was both funny and embarrasing.

On the other hand, for piano trio (Piano's my 1st instrument), we were playing Ravel's piano trio and everything just happened to go out of sync, cello went out a bar and so on.. kept like that for about 7 bars before we managed to get back together... We managed to keep straight faces, but I'm sure some noticed.

And another time I was playing Chopin's Scherzo No.2 and my hands just went totally to the wrong place, I grimaced and ended up skipping a whole 6 bars...

No serious bone trouble yet though, hopefully it stays that way.
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« Reply #14 on: Jul 25, 2006, 09:11AM »

Just this past year at State Solo and Ensemble, our trombone quartet just fell apart during the 2nd movement of 3 Madrigals for 4 Trombones. All 4 of us were tired from not getting any sleep on the bus, and the guy playing 2nd and I were both feeling a bit queasy, and somehow we wound up playing 4 different tempos. We eventually did get back together at the end.  :)
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Jeff Smith
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« Reply #15 on: Jul 25, 2006, 11:58AM »

I forgot to drink water before a solo performance of Morceau Symphonique, and by the ending movement, my tongue was so dry I couldn't tongue the 16th note run from     b up to   b 8va.

Then I drank a whole bottle of water after the performance.
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davetrombizzle

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« Reply #16 on: Jul 31, 2006, 06:48PM »

Try, try again.  At least in this game you're not going to get physically hurt.  Just think if this were boxing...
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gsmonks
« Reply #17 on: Aug 20, 2006, 11:43PM »

I couldn't play for several years because of a strange social phobia.

I paid a good many psychiatrists big bucks for fixing me- to no avail.

I guess I can console myself that I put their kids through college.

Defeated, humiliated and frustrated, I told my GP about it when going for a physical.

He harumphed, put me on a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and something else to counteract the horrific side-effects as my body got used to them for the first month . . .

And then, a host of problems I'd had since childhood, that were getting progressively worse as I aged, went away as though by magic. No more horrible situations on stage, no more phobia (imagine stage-fright; now imagine it amplified by 100 times), no more insomnia, no panic-attacks, no stage-fright, no more lots of other unpleasant things.

When I was better (meaning I was ill since childhood), I asked my doctor what these miraculous pills were doing to fix me.

My doctor's answer?

"You're extremely bi-polar, what we used to call "manic-depressive", and you have extreme social anxiety disorder, OCD, generalised anxiety, a panic disorder . . . so I prescribed a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Your serotonin was low, which was why you were having all those problems."

I was gobsmacked. All that money paid out to psychiatrists, over a very long period of time, and it's my GP who figures out and fixes the problem, and does it like a car mechanic who wipes the grease off his hands as he tells you that the problem was your fuel-pump.

The point being that bad neurochemicals and genetics probably have a lot to do with handling life on the stage.

The experience, by the way, has changed my view of confidence. In some cases, not having it is a question of having a broken brain, and until it's fixed there are instances where people (myself, for example) simply don't have it and therefore can't develop it. You can't develop what isn't there.
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2olbones
« Reply #18 on: Aug 24, 2006, 06:06AM »

Quote from: "gsmonks"

g to fix me.

The experience, by the way, has changed my view of confidence. In some cases, not having it is a question of having a broken brain, and until it's fixed there are instances where people (myself, for example) simply don't have it and therefore can't develop it. You can't develop what isn't there.


That's extremely interesting, and may well work out to be more helpful than you could ever have imagined.  Sometimes I feel like my brain just shuts down when I look at a piece of music.  I can't remember the number of times I felt like I should just get up and walk away from the gig. More info on the 'side effects' please!!
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greg waits
« Reply #19 on: Aug 24, 2006, 07:19AM »

Quote from: "Paul Martin"
...God, I play so much better when I don't give a ****!


There is some profound truth to this attitude. I know it holds true for me!
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