Flute/Groups vs solo

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Question
I've only just realized this but I am able to perform 'solos' in orchestral/band pieces perfectly without getting nervous but if I'm performing by myself, or with piano accompaniment, I always get really nervous. Is this normal? and how should I work on getting used to performing actual solos. I don't think it's a matter o preparation as I normally can play from memory the pieces.

Answer
Hi, Jasmine!
Feel a bit comforted.  We all share this problem.  The best way to overcome some of the nervousness over playing in public, is to do it every chance you get!  When you do well, your audience will help you along.  Even if you don't have your best performance every time, the experience will build your confidence.

A little bit of nervousness before a performance is a good thing.  You can use a small amount of "adrenaline" power to give your perfomance a little extra push.  But too much nervousness, well, is too much.  Your audience will feel it.  If you prepare well, you have nothing to fear, really.  Think about that.  Take a deep breath.  Then go out, and play straight from your heart!  Get into the music, so much that you almost forget that people are out there enjoying your performance, too!  Then after you get over the nervousness, you can work on playing to the audience a little more.

Bottom line is this.  Just do it.  Every chance you get!

I wish you great music, wonderful interpretation, and passion.  Go get 'em!  

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Denise J. Sipe

Expertise

These are the topics I CAN answer... How to play, from beginner to professional. Tips and tricks, breathing, auxilliary fingering techniques Tone Quality Listening--Developing your ears Technique --Bringing the notes up and off of the page, and making them "your own music". Playing solo, small groups, bands, orchestras Digitally reproduced, vs live accompaniment Accompanying vocalists, dancers, other instrumentals.

Experience

Soloist, small groups, large marching bands, symphony orchestras, stage bands and orchestras, theater, church music, jazz, classical, folk music

Organizations
I'm independent. But professionals have often hired me to play in their groups. Giving back to the community where I played in the High School Band, I am a former member of Williamsport, MD Community Band, a current member of New Horizons Band in Hagerstown, MD, and Bass Flute Player for the TOOT UNCOMMON FLUTES flute choir of Williamsport, MD. I often perform solo as "Toot Uncommon" and had a web-based business where I sold flutes of all sizes, shapes, and colors. The show is uncommon. The locations are often uncommon. And the variety of musical instruments is definitely uncommon! I am a member of NFA, the National Flute Association.

Publications
I didn't write for any publications. I leave that up to the more elite musicians.

Education/Credentials
This should have been my career. I am an engineer,and a trained professional clown. But my music is my passion. Flute is my favorite, though I also play many woodwinds and some brass. I am currently playing percussion in a volunteer concert band, and have drum corps experience, where I often played marching bass drum. I am totally self-taught. But I have often played in groups made up mostly of professionals. All in all I am still the area's best-kept secret.

Awards and Honors
Biggest honor of my career was playing an emotional piece, and looking out over the audience. Two big, tough construction workers had tears rolling down their cheeks.

Past/Present Clients
I've been teaching beginning and intermediate flute/piccolo students of all ages in MD and PA since the early 1970s.

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