Performance is the culmination of so many aspects of musicianship, each of which will inevitably make its way back to this blog. Programming, practice, rehearsal, marketing, anxiety, physical health, stage presence, logistics... the list seems endless at times. What I wish to impress today is the undeniable need for performance.
As students, public performances are daunting. They represent evaluation, criticism, and potential for failure. Not passing a barrier jury can mean a delay (or termination) of your studies. Presenting an ill-prepared recital can mean the same, plus the added humiliation and blow to self-confidence. We are too frequently transplanted from a place of sharing human experience to one of judging technical achievement, and we are scared to perform.
Without performance, however, music is denied its intent. Delicately shaped melodies that fall not on deaf ears, but rather on none at all, have no impact. Emotion finds no person to affect. All of your work exists only for you, and the timeless suites, sonatas, and concerti die in the practice room as etudes. The tree falls in the woods, and it does not make a sound.
"Music fills the infinite between two souls."
- Rabindranath Tagore
So go find another soul and fill the infinite. You may miss a few notes, send a few errant squeaks and squawks into the world, but nothing exists in a vacuum.
Be brave and go perform.