I’ve given myself one year to master the violin.

As an adult beginner, I should be playing Twinkle Twinkle; instead, I'm playing Paganini's 24th caprice.

Studio Class Performance #1

Residential Life puts on a talent show every spring here at the Colburn School.  Students can perform anything except their primary instrument.  We the RA staff of course have to put on one or several skits.  Danielle this morning gets the brilliant idea that I should perform part of the Paganini in the talent show.  The only problem?  It’s this Sunday.

She insists that I a) have to perform in the talent show and b) it can’t be my first performance in front of a large number of people.  The only chance I would get to have a somewhat public performance would be in Danielle’s studio class, which is–wait for it–tonight.

The idea of playing in Danielle’s studio class is a nightmare.  Not only are all the students in this class less than half my age, but they’re all about 10 times better at the violin than I will be at anything in my life.  This is a serious crowd; they might not look like much, but this is a ridiculous assembly of talent:

Danielle breaks the bad news to me in the morning – her class is at 5:30PM.  So I do what any red-blooded American would do in this situation–I throw a hissy fit.  It was actually pretty ugly.  I yelled at her for trying to embarrass me in front of everyone and throwing me under a bus when I wasn’t ready.  I even made my first quitting threat.  It was bad.

She backed off but resorted to laying on the guilt.  Long story short I played.  I really can’t describe how nervous I was, but it was a lot.  My hands were physically shaking during the performance.  Of course it wasn’t very long, just the roughly 30 seconds of the theme, but still nerve racking.  I played it once, and it was OK, so Danielle asked me to play it again.  I didn’t think I did much better, but I didn’t have a major memory slip during either one.  Then, I was about to leave the stage when I realized we didn’t film it.  Danielle took my phone and filmed my third performance:

She told them to go crazy with the cheering.  You didn’t think my playing caused that, did you?

What’s weird about a performance is that you get what you get.  When I tape things I can do them over and use the best one, but with a performance, it’s one and only, unless the piece is only 30 seconds and then you can apparently do it three times.

Oh, and tonight at our res life staff meeting I found out that the talent show was postponed a couple of weeks.  Phew.

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5 Comments on “Studio Class Performance #1”

  1. Lauren says:

    Dude! That sounded great!!! Your practice is really showing 🙂

  2. Tracey says:

    Ryan–You sounded way better in this video than you did, just a few days ago, when I filmed you at your house…your speed has picked up and you’re less choppy! I’m proud of you! 🙂

  3. Tracey says:

    And…you DO have a little crazy in you! You must be where I get my moodiness and ravings from…


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