Wednesday, 3 October 2018

The Night Shift: Nervous Notes

Martin Lawrence, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
 All performers suffer from nerves, in one way or another, and they can often be a valuable factor in performance but rarely do musicians make it explicit that they are suffering from nerves. It is de rigeur for performers to seem poised and controlled, or at least usually. For the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment's (OAE) Night Shift tomorrow, Thursday 4 October 2018, the OAE's horn player Martin Lawrence will be exploring how performance anxiety affects musicians. Not by lecturing about it, but by performing.

Lawrence and the OAE will be performing Mozart but Lawrence will be voicing his anxieties into a looping pedal during the piece, thus creating a cacophony of nervous thought, giving the audience a sense of the overwhelming nature of performance anxiety. The evening will also feature explorations of the ‘two selves’ which musicians often have on-stage, and demonstrations of how the physical symptoms of anxiety can change a performance for the better. Audience members will be encouraged to tweet their own uncomfortable responses to the event. The performance is inspired by Martin Lawrence's PhD research which reveals that the physical symptoms of performance nerves, far from being a form of self-sabotage, which must be hidden, can actually improve the performance.

The event takes place as part of Thought Fest, a festival which is being presented by Regents Place (a real-estate area just north of Euston Road) and the Knowledge Quarter, which is a partnership between 87 knowledge-based institutions. The OAE's performance takes place in a temporary structure next to the New Diorama Theatre.

Further details from the Regent's Place website (tickets are free but have to be pre-booked)

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