I'm going to perform music much sooner than I expected: Monday

My soprano, alto, tenor recorders

Next week on Monday, I am to join a handful of local recorder players in playing holiday-themed music at a Candlelit Evening at Phipps Conservatory!

This will be my first time in public since I was a kid in band, and also my first time performing as part of such a small ensemble. It will be quite a new experience for me.


I feel very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the performance group. I only started playing recorder nine months ago, and never had any intention to start performing before at least a year of hard work to get sufficiently decent, but they think I’ve been improving a lot and invited me to join them for some holiday music that they say is “easy”. (I have not seen the music yet and will see it for the first time tomorrow evening at rehearsal. I will try to get there early!) It does mean a lot to me that they trust I can do my share playing a part in a quintet or sextet.


I definitely feel anxiety at the thought of performing.

Some of the anxiety has to do with unknowns: I have not even seen the music and sight read it yet!

I also have anxieties about playing wrong notes, totally losing my place, etc.

But my anxiety is lessened when I think about how bad it would be if I made various errors. First of all, this is not some kind of formal concert where people are sitting silently watching your every move; we are playing incidental music while people check out the sights in Phipps Conservatory. Second, I trust those I am playing with: I have played with them (in a non-performance setting) for months, and know what kind of supportive people they are, and feel a rapport with them, such that I know they wouldn’t scream at me if I made a few mistakes here and there.

Even more performance opportunities

Pittsburgh Contras and Squares Holiday Ball

Also, I’m expecting to play in another holiday-oriented gig that Abby is playing in and wants me to join: the annual Holiday Ball of the Pittsburgh Contras and Squares. I still don’t know whether I’ll choose to play recorder or flute or whatever other instrument in this (I do have a melodica too)! The first rehearsal is next week and I plan to attend. I have been assured that this is a pretty informal affair, where musicians have fun contributing as they can and dancers appreciate the live music and get to have their fun also.

(No, I’m not going to play at the Holiday Ball the Baroque flute I just got yesterday and started to learn.)

(Update of 2011-12-16)

I reported on playing in the Holiday Ball.

Carnegie Mellon All-University Orchestra

Finally, I am considering joining, in January after winter break, the Carnegie Mellon All-University Orchestra, playing (modern) flute. This is a non-audition orchestra, so I don’t have to be super good to be a part of it. Nevertheless, I have a month or so to continue improving a lot on the flute before I can judge whether I should join it. If I do, then that will be the first time ever in an orchestra!

Being non-audition, the CMU AUO is not a very good orchestra. And I know firsthand, because I went to one of their free concerts many years ago because I knew someone who was in it. But life would be tragic if only super good musicians could play music together, just as life would be tragic if only elite individuals in society were allowed or encouraged to read or write or do arithmetic or cook or garden or run or write computer programs. (That’s my social commentary for today; I will expand on this theme in later writings.)

(Update of 2012-03-12)

I did join the CMU AUO in January, but quit in March, one of my hardest but best decisions in my life!


I am excited to start performing music in public for this holiday season. I have been quite content to just play music informally without an audience, or playing it for myself, but I have to admit that even for an introvert like me, part of the entire pleasure of playing music at all is that of connecting to the minds, hearts, bodies of people who appreciate what you communicate and express to them. Even when I play alone, I imagine connecting somehow with the universe in some strange way.

(Update of 2012-11-19)

A year later, I reported on preparing for the 2012 holiday gig at Phipps.

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