Since those times my working life often involved giving formal presentations to large audiences, and although I was nervous in the early days, my technique improved over time. In the end, although I would sometimes get a bit nervous before presenting, this would never get in the way of a good result. So it came as a surpirse (and a considerable disappointment) when, the first time I played my flute in front of an audience, the terror struck again. I was shaking so much that my trembling jaw made its own, completely uncontrollable vibrato, and the overall result was, of course, a disaster.
In the grand scheme of things, not being able to play for an audience is not, at least for me personally, a big thing: it's not as if I'm ever going to be a professional musician. But I find it frustrating not being able to share my love of a piece of music with a wider audience. What's more, other people play in public without being reduced to gibbering wrecks, so it's clearly a personal, internal barrier that belongs to me. So I set about trying to get rid of it.
I tried hypnotherapy, counselling, and above all, practice at getting out and playing. The music school here is especially helpful, since they hold little informal concerts at the end of every term, and one is simply expected to play. We have also hosted a couple of the flute courses run by the inspiring teacher Wissam Boustany here at Les Hallais. Wissam is a firm believer in playing from memory, or "by heart" if you like, and the wonderful concert he held at the end of his recent course inspired me to go for it.
So here, warts and all, is my first ever renditiion of flute music, in front of an audience and from memory. The rehearsal was better than the concert, and the video isn't really as good as the concert, but such is the way of things. 2 Romances, from Op94 by Schumann. With thanks to Wissam and to Sandrine, the wonderful pianist.