In the interview with Petar Jankovich, he said, “don’t go on stage displaying your abilities… it’s not about showing off.” Petar went on to say that if you do that, you’re doomed to a, “non-expressive, flat — maybe virtuosic — but pretty flat and boring performance.”
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I think we do this almost automatically: we want to display how good we are. We want others to be impressed. This is especially true if the performance is for peers or other guitarists.
Lately I’ve been playing some very simple pieces by Fernando Sor. I love these pieces. They’re fun to play, and easy to do well on.
But playing simple music is different. When there’s no virtuosic passages, there’s no place built into the piece to show off. There’s only musical issues to sort out — there’s only musicality to save these simple pieces from being boring.
The lack of virtuosity in these pieces changes the mindset to performing them. They just become fun. It’s not about, “look how good I am,” it’s about, “I love these simple pieces, and I want to share them with you.” That’s a totally new world!
There’s a lot of reasons for performing simple music: gives you something to start with and warm up on or they give you extra time for not much effort.
Maybe playing simple music can help improve performance by helping adjust the psychological aspects of performance.