I have a few live performances up on YouTube. Part of me flinches every time I put them up because they are flawed. But there are also good parts and tons of good memories about the events, and also informative because they are all live. In truth, they are also the only footage that I have… I do have some better footage but don’t own the rights so cannot share (yet). It is hard to get concert footage for classical musicians… so many rules governing hall, and even when there are no rules, the audience is never sure if they are allowed to film us. But I have come to love the idea of casual videos and am going to figure out how to edit. Anyway, on to my topic.

When I do live performances, I have learned the hard way over the years that I cannot drink coffee. I mentioned this once to a great orchestral flautist, and she said that she would never give up the enjoyable things in life for playing better… I think she is one of the lucky ones who doesn’t fall apart from being over-stimulated!

And I sooooo want to drink coffee. So sometimes I have my last cup quite close to the concert day. And it is always an error. It throws me into another time zone and I have to hang on for dear life once my particular brand of performance adrenalin kicks in. And it really is dumb, because it takes away the refinements that actually are part of my voice.

So, part of getting in shape is acknowledging that playing well is more important than dark, fragrant, exhilarating, sometimes disappointing adventures in coffee.

Yet, it is not only about the perfection of my performances (or lack of), but the energy that I send out into the world. If I am strong and healthy, that is part of the energy that goes out too…

Today, I received this note from a young professional. I actually gave her a lesson three years ago and had utterly forgotten until she gracefully reminded me. When I thanked her, she responded with this note:

You should just know–when you came to Wisconsin in February, we collectively as a school were in a winter funk, but we were all so excited for your visit. I remember my friend Heidi (oboist) saying, “It’s like Nadina is a beautiful alien from outer space who came to show us that everything is okay in the world.” And I was like, “Heidi, you are right!” Also, there was a little girl in the audience who came from Appleton to see you with her mom. They were SO excited. It reminded me of when my mom would take me to the far reaches of the tri-state area to see bassoonists. So, your visit was a very meaningful one. 

This inspires me to get back to the reed table, to get back to my scales, to keep working on memorizing all of my repertoire, to exercise with equal enthusiasm and to learn tons of new skills to play with the musicians I am meeting these days. I need companionship, encouragement and praise to do all of these things. For the exercise part, I am working with musician and trainer, Karen Moffatt. For the rest of it, I am trusting that I can pull it together by doing it.

I am to get in shape so that I can send the shape of my ideas out in the form that I intend. And then see how they will come back to me in the years to follow!