I hate public speaking.
This is nothing new to anyone who has known me for more than three minutes, and I’ve certainly gotten better at it since I’ve been in Oklahoma, but I still avoid it every chance I get. I’m usually fairly quiet when I’m around new people, and I don’t usually say much in class (I maintain that I got through my thesis defense because the committee was surprised that I actually spoke).
But one of the things that composers have to do is talk. Especially about their music. Especially to other people. Not that we’re good at it. But it still falls into the category of things we have to do.
And so, with 2012 being a year where I’m focusing on personal growth, I decided to take an open slot at this month’s Oklahoma Composer’s Association Norman Salon concert (OCANS?). The OCA salon concerts are a casual performance and Q&A session with the composer, and a good time is usually had by all. So I took Creatures from the Black Bassoon and played it for a group of composers and musicians and music lovers, fielded questions and comments about the piece, and then went out for milkshakes.
And it was awesome.
It’s interesting how an audience can pick out things that you haven’t noticed, or hadn’t intended. Of course, I’m new to all manner of electronic music, so hearing the audience reaction (and mine) was enlightening. It was fun. I want to do it again.
There’s something empowering about talking about one’s own music. Like, I can’t be contradicted. No one can tell me “You weren’t thinking about the complex relation between polyharmonic tetrachords, you were thinking about Batman.” I ran into the same thing when I conducted Peter and the Wolf at Drury. “I have an orchestra. AND I’M UNSTOPPABLE.”
So yeah. I’d like to do it again.
And besides, I could really go for another milkshake.