Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Music exams, live performance and broadcasting

Both James and Martha had Grade Five music exams yesterday, Martha's in cello, James's in double bass. I think they both did fine, though James, who has to be harangued into practising, breezed through it with serene self confidence, and Martha, who practises religiously (and not just on cello; traditional fiddle, piano and drums too)alas forgot one of her easiest scales.

Never mind, she felt happy about the rest of her performance. I'm gradually learning to cope with the stresses and strains of sending weans off to do battle with performances over which you, as a parent, can have no control. Though watching and listening to Martha in last year's Shetland traditional fiddle contest was one of the most draining experiences of my life.

Now, James and I have to prepare for our own public appearances as the Tom Morton Two, and it's sair fingers and much practising before our first gig on Sunday. I'm asking myself, why? I'm 51, and the idea of going on the road, albeit just for four days, and putting myself through the adrenalin storm of live performance again is making my heart quake and my throat constrict.

I know, being on the radio ought to be a tense affair, but after five years of this show and 20 of broadcasting generally, the nerves, though still there, are buried down deep, only emerging when things go badly wrong. It's only when you stop doing it for any length of time that you feel this weird absence, this lack. And you realise that you've become both addicted and innured (but not immune) to the bizarre business that is live broadcasting.

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