The other night, I had my second experience with "lucid dreaming". A lucid dream is a dream where you realize you're dreaming while you're still in the dream.
I dreamed that I woke up, looked at my clock radio and it was 1 o'clock. But I could tell by the daylight streaming through my window that it was afternoon and I had overslept. I bolted upright (still dreaming) and anxiously started pacing the floor, wondering how I could have overslept, why hadn't anyone called me and how I could possibly explain myelf to my missed appointments. Then suddenly (still dreaming), I realized that this was very strange and that for me to have slept for over 15 straight hours was highly improbable. Then I thought, "his must be a dream" at which point, I began to wake up. A few seconds later (mostly awake), I looked at the clock and it was 5:30 AM - time to get up and get ready to head for the gym. I was so happy!
However, this is supposedly only the first step in lucid dreaming - realizing in the dream, that you're dreaming. After that, you're supposed to be able to take control of the dream. For instance, I could have had Justin Timberlake knocking on my front door with a fresh pizza, or something. Or like in my recurring nightmare, where I'm on stage to perform a recital for which I hadn't practiced, I could take control, perform it brilliantly and receive a standing ovation!
That's one of the reasons I'm so intrigued by the lucid dream phenomenon. I think it could be used to reduce performance anxiety and build confidence, not just in music, but also in several other areas of life as well. However, some experts don't believe lucid dreams are even possible. They think people who claim to have them are simply misremembering their dream experience after waking. They claim that dreaming requires control by the subconscious and that consciousness would disrupt the dream (which would explain why I woke up). Currently, there is no technology that can prove that someone is having a lucid dream while they're having it. So, we can only take people's word for it or not.
Still, I'm hopeful and can hardly wait until my next experience where I'll try to stay asleep and take control. Then maybe I could have Emmanuel Pahud come over and play flute duets (and he'd bring a pizza, of course).
I recently had the disappointing misfortune of having to bow out of a performance due to illness. It was a unique opportunity to perform five solos at three church services on a single Sunday. And I was very excited about it, especially on my newly repaired flute. But with a fever of 102 and a sore throat, I just didn't feel up to the task.
But in hindsight, I regret the decision not to play. It's not like I haven't performed sick before. I had pretty much the same symptoms two years ago when I performed at my father's funeral. I had no intention of not performing for my dad, but just in case, my mom made it clear when she picked me up at the airport, that my illness "wasn't going to get me out of it". I only had to play one short piece at the funeral, as opposed to practically all day long like with this last gig. But the performance for my dad went quite well considering.
I cancelled my latest performance a day before the event giving the pianist enough advanced notice to put something together on her own. She said it went very well. But I can't help wondering if it would have been more professional of me to have made a greater effort to be there. How sick is too sick to perform?
I really don't know, but I guess it depends on several factors and it's different for everyone. I would have pretty much had to be dead myself to miss playing at my dad's funeral. And even then I still would have felt guilty. LOL.
Also, it seems that professionals would have more of an obligation than someone who was performing for free. And I suppose if the venue had no alternatives, you would have more of an obligation.
Another factor would be the instrument. A pianist or string player might be able to perform with the flu better than a singer or wind player. And a singer could probably perform better than a drummer with a broken arm, for example.
My sister used to get "sick" every Saturday night before she had to sing a solo in church when we were growing up. But she always sang anyway and sounded great. I was sick before my last recital as a college music professor because my cubital tunnel syndrome (which hadn't been diagnosed at the time) was particularly "active" that day causing enough performance anxiety to make me physically ill. I eventually muddled through, though.
So, I guess I really don't know. How do people decide when they're too sick to perform? If I have students who say they're too sick to play on the annual studio recital, do I just say "okay" or should I probe to make sure it's not just a common case of stage fright?
I really don't know. I'm asking?
This blog is about music, health, challenges, determination and personal and professional growth. I hope it is useful.
Copyright 2017 Michael Davis. All rights reserved.