I have a friend and colleague, Emi Tanabe, who is an extraordinary musician (see her bio below). The other day, she posted a story about a recent experience, in which she had NO advance notice to prepare for a solo performance on a violin that was not even hers – from memory! I found her story to be so inspiring that I’ve asked if I could share it for you all to read here, and she said yes. Thank you, Emi!
I gave Emi an Alexander Technique lesson years ago, but she is by no means a student of mine. Yet, Emi’s ability to respond on the spot in the way that she did, with a “YES” that was open to All-Possibility, exemplifies for me the essence of so much of what I’m teaching my students through The Art of Freedom.
I hope you enjoy Emi’s story, and we’d love to hear your comments below!
“What would you do if you were to be asked to perform by yourself for 1 hour without an advance notice, your own instrument or sheet music?
I was in that situation today and I said “yes”..because I thought this was going to be a good challenge for me, and I’ll improve “something” as a performer if I overcome this.
As I first walked in the Japan Fest at Alington race track as a volunteer this morning, I was expecting my task was going to be moving around tables/chairs, handing out programs, T shirts, etc. But NO..!! My task was to be a MC for the entire music program for the day and to perfrom solo violin for 1 hour.
There were approx. 2 hours between the initial notice and the actual performance, but I was busy with the MC work, so I literally did not “prepare” anything for the performance.
I didn’t even have my violin with me. But luckly, the world-renowned violin maker, Mr. Tetsuo Matsuda had his booth next to the stage exhibiting his violins, and he lent me his beautiful violin.
When I stood in front of the people to start my performance, I still did not have a clear program in my head, didn’t know what to do..it was scary..
But I told myself that I was just going to decide what to play a piece by piece, I’ll watch people’s reactions, talk between pieces, take requests, interact with them and I just had to go with the flow..
I ended up perfoming some Japanes pop tunes, Japanese folk songs ( while I tried to make the audience sing the songs with my violin…) Kreisler, Vivaldi, Gypsy tunes, Michael Jackson, etc..Did I know all those by memory? No..So I had to fake some passages and improvised…
They were far from perfect, but I felt that I did a pretty good job overall.
I had had so many concerts/shows in the past, which I had “prepared” in advance, but they turned out to be not the way I wanted it to go.
I have been striving and struggling to find out what needs to be done to give a good concert/show. Although today’s experience was quite unique and I normally have time to “prepare” for a performance, I have to say that this challenge has given me some kind of confidence and felt like I have learned something important in performace.
Thank you for the challenge!”
I hope you enjoyed reading Emi’s story as much as I did! In response to her question, “What would you do?” I think I probably would have done much the same as Emi: I would have seen a golden opportunity handed to me on a silver platter, and said “yes” to the challenge (and I would have experienced butterflies in my stomach, too, haha!)
I surely would have learned a lot in the process, no matter what happened. This is what I’d like my students to learn: stay open, see, and explore the All-Possibility, say “yes” to new challenges, and learn from the process, no matter what. With that intention, you can’t go wrong! (Oh, and you might as well have fun while you’re at it!)
Do you have an experience or a comment you’d like to share? Use the comments box below – we enjoy your stories! Thanks!
ABOUT EMI TANABE
Born and raised in Japan, Emi moved to the U.S. at the age of twenty. Currently, she resides in Chicago and is a member of The Cover Girls Violin Show (pop) and Apollo’s Fire (the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra); plays with a blues band and flamenco guitarist; works for Bein & Fushi violin shop, and much more! Emi enjoys exploring all different possibilities in her violin playing. You can watch and listen to Emi on YouTube:
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