Saturday, May 31, 2014


Luka and my son Liam getting ready to perform
During one of our student performances, one of our loyal community supporters leaned over and said, " You must be kvelling right now, no?" I said, " Absolutely!" She smiled, " Do you know what kvelling means?" I said, " Yes I do!" I'm not fluent in Yiddish, mind you, but I know the words that have infiltrated every day conversation (at least in New York City, bubelah). It means, " bursting with pride." When you teach students for an extended period of time, they almost become like your children; you want the best for them and you want to see them succeed. So when they do, you feel pride, and it's a joyous occasion. Hence, the kvelling( I'm a little verklempt over here....).

It's recital season at Portland State University, so we are seeing a lot of students present finished products, or close to finished products. While there is always room for improvement, it's nice to actually step back and listen to the music the students are playing and enjoy it. Sure, train wrecks happen and wrong notes occur. Guess what? It happens to professionals as well. While I want to hold students to as high a standard as possible, I don't want anyone to become so worried about performing that it sucks the enjoyment out of the experience.

 It's interesting for me to observe how students really put a lot of effort into their recitals. It's a special occasion; people dress up(for Portland, anyway), they put lights on the stage, they invite their families, they make food. I have fond memories of getting geared up for big performances when I was in high school; as a professional, even playing with greats and getting paid, a gig is a gig is a gig. I'm a bit jaded after being a professional for almost 25 years. It's great to see folks at the beginning of their careers who are full of promise and energy.

Last night, I went to a different sort of performance; my son Liam performed at his pre-school with all of the other kids. He played one of the dragons. He really enjoyed getting up and "roaring" in his costume. Most people had a good time, but one little girl who was playing one of the fairies got nervous and started crying. It made me think of how being a musicians and being an actor are similar yet different. We are both "performers," yet, musicians can hide behind their instruments. Actors tend to be people that "love the spotlight," that feel comfortable getting up and jumping around in front of everyone. Musicians spend so much time alone in the practice room and can oftentimes end up being introverts. As comfortable as I feel being on stage with an instrument, I don't know how comfortable I would be getting up to do acting. I definitely couldn't be a dragon as well as Liam!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.